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Illegal to Live With More Than Two Roommates in New York

In NY If You're Not Going to Live in Sin, Live Outside the Law

When it comes to living in New York, couples have it made. Two incomes can afford one bedroom. Everyone else has about three options: live in 350 square feet (pricey), live far out and off an unreliable train (not cheap), or live with roommates. The more may not be the merrier, but it will rent a better apartment in one of the best locations. Whether it's legal or right or even a good idea is the last concern, so why the New York Times reported yesterday on an old yet existing law that forbids more than three unrelated people to live together is itself something to talk about.

Maybe the purpose is to raise awareness and challenge the law, but even the article admits there's been no rise in citations. Fines and evictions are rarer than one-person households, so who really cares? All it proves is New York, like most American cities with Colonial roots, has nonsensical sex laws. Most people hear rumblings of these laws (three unrelated women make a brothel) while completing college applications.

The point, I suppose, is to point out an old, silly law. But when it's reported like news, complete with earnest quotes, like "To pack unrelated people in an apartment? I don’t think it’s wrong," I just can't take any of it, the article or the law, seriously.

Source: Flickr User smcgee

Join The Conversation
xxstardust xxstardust 7 years
Grrr .. my post never showed up! I guess they didn't approve my link. ;[ Anyway, the gist of it was that the idea of a "brothel law" in regards to sororities is actually NOT TRUE in any state. Fraternity and sorority houses - when they are legally established houses approved by the school and/or the fraternity/sorority - are considered to be the same as dormitory housing and are thus exempt from any laws about the # of unrelated people who can live there. If your school didn't have sorority houses, it was because administration wouldn't approve them for some other reason - not because you might be street walkers. ;] Check out Snopes dot com for a nice article about it.
EmilieLove EmilieLove 7 years
I'd guess that that at least half of the people (maybe more) in NYC between the ages of 22 and 30 have, at some point, lived in an "illegal" apartment setting. If the city has an issue with it, then they should figure out a way to lower riddiculous rental fees. My hometown has the good old "brothel" laws too. If I were a neighbor, I'd personally be more worried about 5 20-something year old guys living together (can you imagine the parties, the noise, and the mess) next door to me than 5 girls.
secondstar secondstar 7 years
My college town in Michigan had old brothel laws. The sororities had to have a couple different unofficial houses instead of one big house like all the frats had.
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 7 years
We have that same law and I live in a college town. It's designed to keep partying and neighborhood disturbances at a minimum but it's such a crock when you see 5 bedroom rent houses right next to campus aimed at student renters.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
one of my friends lied and said her and her gay roomate were a couple so they could get an apartment in the city once...actually twice but i think they did it the second time for fun, not out of necessity
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
These laws are so goofy, and mostly unenforced...although in Pennsylvania you can't have actual sorority houses because they would qualify as "brothels." I can't believe you got turned down for an apartment Mani! I guess the only answer is to lie about your marital status when you apply for housing. How ridiculous.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
well, Maxi, the answer is clear: you should just have a child together so you can get huosing ! :P
ManiMartinixo ManiMartinixo 7 years
My boyfriend and I were recently turned away after requesting a one bedroom apartment somewhere in Georgia. Apparently it's against state law here to live together while unmarried in a one bedroom unless we have a child under 14 months. I'm not a fan of these laws.
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