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Overnight guests in New York apartments: What you should know

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2023 | Landlord/Tenant Matters |

There’s a common misconception – particularly among those who live outside New York City – that tenants cannot rent their apartments on Airbnb, VRBO or other vacation rental platforms. That’s not the case. 

However, there are restrictions that tenants in NYC need to be aware of – even if you have no intention of offering your rented apartment (or house) to guests. It’s also crucial, of course, to carefully read the language in your rental or lease agreement to determine what your landlord does – and doesn’t – allow.

What if you want to list your home on a vacation rental site?

Assuming that there’s nothing in your rental agreement that stops you, you need to apply for a short-term rental registration with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE). This is the only way these vacation rental platforms will allow you to be a host. 

Not being registered could put you and the platform in legal jeopardy. The city also has specific rules that are intended to limit how many different guests a host can allow to stay in their apartment at any given time. 

What about allowing guests to stay in your apartment?

If you have an apartment in a convenient or otherwise coveted part of the city, you may think nothing of letting a family member or friend stay there if you’re going to be out of town for a while on business or vacation. Your landlord, however, may have an issue with it. 

Again, you want to closely review your rental agreement before you hand over the keys to anyone. Many agreements prohibit tenants from allowing a guest to stay overnight if at least one of the people on the lease isn’t present. That doesn’t mean you can’t give a key to a housekeeper or dog walker to go in and out while you’re at work or otherwise away. They just can’t spend the night.

It’s easy to assume that no one will notice and take a chance on letting someone you trust spend a night or two there while you’re away. However, it’s not worth the risk you’re taking of violating your agreement and even potentially being subject to eviction.

If you have questions about a rental or lease agreement you need to sign, you need help deciphering the language in an agreement you’ve already signed or your landlord has accused you of violating your agreement, it’s a good idea to seek legal guidance. This can save you money and headaches.