''Are there poor people out there paying too much?'' Castellano asks. ''Sure, but not as much as the tenant representatives would have you believe. Is the market going gangbusters for landlords? Yeah, on the East Side and in Soho, absolutely. But for the rest of the schnooks out there, life is still a struggle. It's a tale of two cities.''

Sublet Savvy

Summer officially begins this week--and with it, the sublet season. Subletting is legal, but there are rules to follow, and breaking them can end in court battles with your landlord--even eviction.

The New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition has published a guide to help rent-stabilized tenants navigate the treacherous waters of subletting. The guide reports, for instance, that while a lease clause forbidding subletting is illegal, it is also illegal for a tenant to sublet without a landlord's written approval. Tenants without leases (and that generally includes rent-controlled tenants) cannot sublet their apartments. And it is never legal to charge a subletter more than the rent you pay, with the exception of a 10 per cent surcharge for furniture.

To get the guide, send a $12 check to New York State Tenants & Neighbors Information Service (NYSTNIS), 505 Eighth Avenue, 18th floor, New York, NY 10018-6505. The guide also addresses questions about roommates, assigning leases, and succession rights.

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