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Ask Curbed: Totally Unstable

Be still, people, your monthly dose of rent-stabilization hijinx is straight ahead. A Curbed reader writes,

I just moved into a rent stabilized apartment and the tenant did not ask the landlord for permission. Seems this happens all the time with apartments in NYC. (there are signs everywhere for 2 month sublets and such) Now the management has sent several 'notice to cure' letters. About 8 of them. All addressed to the two original people on the lease and about 6 John and Jane Doe letters. (the neighbors have described my girlfriend and I because they have wanted this apartment for years... as soon as they saw any trace of someone moving out they contacted the landlord to find out what's going on.)

The management says the tenant has 10 days to fix this problem or they will start proceedings to evict. This deals with the original tenant... not us. What are our options? Both the original tenant and I agree that if worst comes to worst, she'll let go of the apartment and I will sign a new lease. The problem is, the management has said that they will want to renovate and probably charge market rate??? Is that legal in a rent stabilized building? Can they change the rent from $929 to something like $3,500?

To make matters worse, it seems the landlord slipped up and forgot to renew the lease with the original tenant last year when they had a slight rent increase. Technically there is no lease at all right now and the original tenant is paying the same rent they have always paid.

We want to stay here and are willing to pay a slight increase but not several thousand dollars. The management told us that there is a smaller apartment on the second floor that they can show us for which we can file an application. We don't want that place... we want to stay here... any suggestions? The original tenant has now sent a certified letter to the management asking for permission to sublet but I feel it may be too late.

Anybody got a pull-out for our friends? Other suggestions also most welcome in the comments.
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