Question: Can my significant other move in with me after the lease has been signed? I only qualify on my own for an affordable housing 1-bedroom, and am fine being alone on the lease. But what will happen if my boyfriend moves in with me after I sign? I cannot seem to get a clear answer anywhere, even from the housing department.

— Alone, for now, in Astoria

Dear Single:

I’m not surprised you haven’t been able to get a clear answer. There isn’t one.

But in most cases, it seems, the heartless housing department doesn’t subscribe to the notion that love conquers all.

Whether you can live with your significant other comes down to which housing program you are applying under. “Depending on the program,” says a spokeswoman for the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development, “recertification [of income] may be required on an annual basis. If it is determined that the applicant did not properly disclose additional household members for the purposes of qualifying, that could be grounds for eviction.

“Since income limits are based on household size and the combined income of the household, all household members must be considered when determining eligibility. If an individual applicant is only eligible on the individual’s income, adding an additional person and income to the apartment would make the apartment out of compliance with the program.”

But there are various housing programs with different mind-numbing rules. (Example from the HPD: “Projects financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits or Tax Exempt Bonds require that applicants re-certify at the end of year 1. The tenant would also need to recertify annually if the development is mixed-income or if they are projects where 15 percent of the tax credit units are rented to households whose incomes are below 40 percent AMI.”)

Don’t try this at home. The best, first move you can make is to ask the front office or marketing agent, who should know which rules apply to your specific building.

In the meantime, keep your addresses separate.

David Crook is a veteran journalist and author of The Complete Wall Street Journal Real-Estate Investing and Homeowner’s Guidebooks. Do you have a question about anything real estate-related in NYC? Write him at For verification purposes, please include your name and a phone number; neither will be published. Note: Nothing in this column should be considered professional legal advice. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.

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