Agreeing to Rent Temporarily and Forgo Renewal Lease
Q There is a vacant rent-stabilized apartment in my building. I am considering renting it to a friend. The friend has agreed to give up the apartment when I want it back and is willing to sign a lease that says that the tenant agrees not to be entitled to renewal leases. Will this arrangement hold up in court if, for whatever reason, our relationship sours and I want him out?
A No. These types of agreements are not enforceable, says attorney Martin Heistein of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman LLP. According to Heistein, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) does not care if an owner was only trying to help out a friend or relative. He has seen some very disappointed owners who have made similar deals, mistakenly thinking they could get their apartment back.
These deals backfire because both the rent-control and rent-stabilization laws say that tenants cannot give up any of their rights under rent control or rent stabilization. If the relationship sours and your friend complains to the DHCR or to a court, either entity will restore the rights the tenant gave up. And you may end up with a big rent overcharge award against you.