November 20, 2008

A Condo Owner Faces a $1,500 Sublet Fee


Q: I have an apartment in a condominium that I have been renting out to a tenant for six years. My condo charges me $1,500 each time my tenant renews the rental contract. Am I stuck with this hefty fee every time? Do I have any grounds to dispute this charge?

A: “The rights and obligations of the owners with regard to the condominium’s sublease requirements are guided by the building’s house rules and rental policy,” said Lior Aldad, a Manhattan real estate lawyer. If a sublet fee is permitted by the condo’s governing documents, and the fee has been properly imposed by the board of managers on all owners on an equal basis, the fee is probably allowable, he said. In fact, Mr. Aldad said, the fee is probably being imposed for the best interests of all owners as a means of raising revenue for the condo.

At the same time, he said, there is nothing stopping the writer from passing the fee through to the tenant when the lease is being renewed. Whether or not the tenant agrees to pay the fee would be a point to be negotiated between the writer and the tenant.