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New York Roommate Law FAQ

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Roommates toasting new apartment with champagne Tim Kitchen/Digital Vision/Getty Images
If you're renting an apartment in New York State, you can generally take on roommates without having to add them to the lease or even get your landlord's approval. This is thanks to the tenant-friendly Unlawful Restrictions on Occupancy Law, commonly known as the "Roommate Law." What's more is that the Roommate Law applies not just to relatives but to non-relatives such as a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about how the Roommate Law may apply to your New York rental. Do you have a question that isn't addressed here? Please ask.

Q: Which areas of New York State are covered?
A: The Roommate Law applies equally throughout the state, whether... Read more

Q: Who can you add as occupants?
A: Occupancy isn't limited just to those tenants named in the lease. If you're the only tenant, you can add members of your immediate family plus... Read more

Q: Is there a primary residency requirement?
A: For the Roommate Law to apply to you, the apartment must be your or your spouse's primary residence. If you've signed... Read more

Q: What about tenant screening?
A: If you wish to add an extra occupant, you needn't inform your landlord about it beforehand because you don't need your landlord's permission. Also, landlords who learn... Read more

Q: What if my landlord cites a lease provision requiring screening and wants a fee?
A: As mentioned in the answer to another frequently asked question on the New York Roommate Law, landlords who learn about a new occupant can't insist on screening as they would with new tenants. If your landlord points to a lease clause... Read more

Q: Can the landlord request information about roommates?
A: The Roommate Law requires you to let your landlord know about a new occupant in your apartment either within 30 days of move-in or within 30 days of... Read more

Q: May a landlord limit occupancy under any circumstances?
A: Your landlord may restrict the total number of occupants in your apartment to comply with local occupancy laws aimed at preventing overcrowding. If apartments in a building... Read more

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