New York cityscape

New York City, the city that never sleeps, the center of the world…the list goes on. It just shows how many of us view NYC as the place where dreams come true, whether we’re already living there or still planning “the move”. Either way, there are some things you need to know when renting in New York.

Due to the high demand, it is not surprising that the rent costs in this city are pretty steep. There are even cash advances in New York City that are specifically formulated for rent and utility payments.

There are also various resources sharing budgeting tips for renting an apartment or guides on how to find the perfect spot. What we seek to offer, though, are points that we deem essential in your planning process. In this way, we hope you won’t even need those budgeting tips anymore since the place you’ll find will be well within your financial reach.

The Right Borough for You

There are those who claim that Manhattan is the place to be. Meanwhile, others highly recommend Brooklyn as better.

There are five boroughs in NYC: Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Honestly, no borough is better than the other. Each has its own pros and cons.

We recommend listing your priorities and balancing them out with the potential cost. For instance, you may need to live at the closest possible location to your work due to the nature of your job. If so, then Manhattan is probably the best location for you, but be prepared for staggering costs.

On the other hand, it might not be the perfect place to live if you require peace and quiet. Instead, you’ll probably want to check out Staten Island that offers pockets of serenity.

The Real Cost of Rent

The advertised cost of rent is probably different from what you’ll actually need to pay eventually. For instance, there are landlords that offer a free month as a bonus. They will then divide the value of this free month and make it seem as if you will be able to enjoy a lower monthly rate.

The problem is, they won’t really set your payment plan this way. Instead, they will make you take that free month and simply let you pay the full price of your rent before and after that bonus. This rate is called the gross rent. There are free gross rent calculators online that can help you compute a more accurate monthly rate than the one advertised.

You also need to consider that while you may think that your income is more than enough to cover your rent, your prospective landlord still may think otherwise. A lot of property owners only accept tenants with incomes that are at least 30-50 times the monthly rent. Guarantors, on the other hand, are required to have an income that is at least 80 times the rate.

It Is Not Always a Good Idea to Get a Roomie

We understand why a lot of people decide to get a roomie. Most landlords will accept the total income of the potential tenants, after all. We get it. This doesn’t mean, though, that you should simply take on whoever’s interested, willing, or available.

Keep in mind that the primary leaseholder can be held responsible for any damages incurred even if he or she really wasn’t the one to blame for it. Having a roommate also poses a serious security risk if you don’t know (or get along with) them that well.

How About a Pet?

Speaking of living companions, let us now talk about non-human ones. Property owners have mixed emotions regarding allowing pets into their buildings. Some just freely accept them. Most of them will require a pet deposit. Others just have a no pet policy altogether.

Those who do accept pets would probably require a certificate of good behavior and immunization records. They just want to make sure that your pet will not harm the other residents of the building (both humans and non-humans alike).

Finally, service animals and emotional support animals are not considered “pets”, so it is your right to have one with you even with a no pet policy in place. However, your landlord can require a form of verification that validates the necessity of your companionship with that animal from a health care professional but cannot ask any specifics regarding your condition.

You Can Test the Waters

Since the cost at stake is quite high, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re not too keen on diving headfirst into a 12-month lease. Fortunately, there are ways to better determine if you’re making the right decision. Here are some of our tried-and-tested steps:

  • Try home-sharing first. Found an Airbnb listing near your preferred spot? It wouldn’t hurt to spend a night there just to experience the overall energy of the place. Do you feel safe there at night? How is the noise? How about the traffic?
  • Visit the place at night. Take this as an opportunity to check out your potential new home during your sleeping hours. It’s an excellent way to find out if there are any bars or party venues active nearby that can potentially disrupt your peace of mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask around. Is the area prone to flooding? Is the landlord strict? Are there any mailing or storage policies unique to the building? How about bed bugs? Don’t be afraid to ask questions from your potential neighbors. It wouldn’t even hurt to make a friend or two already.

Side Note: A landowner is legally obligated to provide you with a written disclosure of the property’s bed bug history before you sign the lease.

Research, Research, Research.

Finally, it is always ideal to do as much research as you can about your future home, regardless if you’re really moving to NYC or not. You can check out online reviews, make yourself aware of potential internet scams, review required documents, credit history, and more.

Again, as mentioned, research and proper planning are the keys to scoring your dream place in the city of dreams.

We hope you found this blog post What You Need to Know Before Renting an Apartment in NYC useful. Be sure to check out our post Apartment Hunting 101: How Much Rent Can You Afford? for more great tips!


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