Our answers to your top 5 rental questions

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When you're new to New York City, the rental market can seem hard to navigate. (It even mystifies us old-timers.) Below, five commonly asked first-time renter questions, answered.

  • When’s the best time to look? The start of the month. Since most leases end on the 1st, that’s when units tend to empty out and become available. Seasonality also plays a big part. Rents will be lower in the winter and highest in the summer.
  • How do you stay safe when dealing with a broker? Google them to make sure they have some sort of online presence. Also, make sure he or she is licensed with the Department of State and is affiliated with a brokerage firm that can hold them accountable if something goes wrong.
  • Will your personal financial info be safe? Unfortunately, your personal info won’t be completely secure (or will be no more or less secure than after you apply for a mortgage, car loan or credit card). But landlords need this data for their approval process. On the bright side, management companies need to be cleared by a credit agency before being allowed to run credit checks on potential renters.
  • Who should you use as a reference? Since you’re a first-time renter you can’t have your current landlord write a letter attesting to the fact that you’re the ideal tenant. Instead, use personal or business references who’ve known you for a few years and can confirm that you’re quiet and likely to pay your rent on time.
  • Does the landlord need to clean up before you move in? Yes. Apartments need to be delivered “as is,” meaning free of all the previous tenant’s belongings, freshly painted, all appliances operable, and floors “broom clean.”

For more, read “A First-Time Renter’s Surprise Questions—Answered.” 

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


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