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Abstract

This article examines section 226-b of the New York Real Property law, enacted by the New York State Legislature in 1975. Enacted to give tenants in a dwelling having four or more residential units the right to sublease or assign their apartments, subject to the landlord's consent, it provides that the landlord must release the tenant from the lease if (s)he "unreasonably withholds consent for such sublease or assignment." The section thus gives tenants the right to remain in occupancy or to elect to be released from their leasehold obligations. However, some courts have interpreted this section to confer upon tenants a broad statutory right to sublease their apartments upon compliance with the statute's procedural notification requirements and the landlord's unreasonable withholding of consent. This Note discusses the legislative intent of section 226-b, specifically addressing whether it gives a residential tenant the right to execute a valid sublease without the landlord's consent if s/he complies with the statute's requirements. It analyzes the right to sublease under common law as compared to the statutory right to sublease under section 226-b, and contends that the tenant has the statutory remedies of terminating or remaining in occupancy, but not of subleasing without landlord approval.

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