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legalgems, attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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I own a 2 Bedroom Coop in a 4 Unit Brownstone Coop in

Customer Question

I own a 2 Bedroom Coop in a 4 Unit Brownstone Coop in Brooklyn, and I recently rented the second bedroom to a roommate as I travel a lot these days and need someone to care for plants and also help with the cost. I announced him in an email to the other coop owners and have not received any response until now, a few months later, when 2-3 people are starting to treat my roommate with a very bad attitude (accusing him of stealing a house number (!) and other miscellaneous things, which are all not true. My roommate behaves nicely and causes no friction whatsoever. They now want to ban him from the shared roof terrace. What are my rights, I understand the NY roommate law covers me, but what can I do to stop the harassment? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I should add that there's no official sublet policy in place, subletting is generally allowed with consent of the owners but – quote – 'no airbnb type'. Again, this is a roommate as I live here half of the time myself. No other person lives here.
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry to hear this;

NY Real Property Law 235-f only deals with a person's right to have a roommate; it governs roommates, not subtenants; so the coop can enforce a subletting restriction if the use of the premises is not concurrent; it does not address the conduct of other residents; as for the terrace, a person would only be permitted to be banned if they continued to violate the governing documents. The governing documents control the co-op and any violations of the governing documents can be brought to the attention of the board, as they have a duty to enforce it as it serves as a contract, essentially.

As for harassment- a third party cannot do much in regards ***** ***** as they don't have legal standing to assert a claim (they can of course, serve as a witness to help bolster the harassed person's case).

The penal code at 240.25 defines harassment as: A person is guilty of harassment in the first degree when he or she intentionally and repeatedly harasses another person by following such person in or about a public place or places or by engaging in a course of conduct or by repeatedly committing acts which places such person in reasonable fear of physical injury.


A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:

1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or

2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or

3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose. Subdivisions two and three of this section shall not apply to activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended, the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor management act, as amended.


A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she:

1. Communicates, or causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise, with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or

2. Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or

3. Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects another person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same because of the race, color, religion or national origin of such person; or

4. Commits the crime of harassment in the first degree and has previously been convicted of the crime of harassment in the first degree as defined by section 240.25 of this article within the preceding ten years.

It is a misdemeanor and so falls within the jurisdiction of the police

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could you explain this "so the coop can enforce a subletting restriction if the use of the premises is not concurrent;" – does this mean the coop can force me to remove my roommate? Is he a subtenant because I travel often, not a roommate?
Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

That would be the assertion- it would depend how often one travels- if for all intents and purposes they aren't around then it is more likely to be considered a subtenant; if it went to court they would look to see if the owner can come and go as he pleases, how much time the owner spends there, if the owner has another residence, etc. The idea is that if the governing document does not allow for subleasing, the owner can't use the roommate law as a way to circumvent that. This case addresses subletting:

Most governing documents do have a hardship exemption -for example if a person is working overseas for a year.

This explains the distinction between a roommate and subtenant

Expert:  legalgems replied 1 year ago.

Checking in on the above. Thank you for using Just Answer!

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