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Besides fall colors, autumn in New York means one very specific thing for the city's tenants: falling rents. While apartments aren't exactly renting out at bargain basement prices, DNAinfo has a reminder today that you're more likely to hit on a deal with a landlord between the middle of October and December than at any other part of the year.
“If a landlord doesn’t get their apartment rented by Thanksgiving, there’s a good chance it’ll be empty for a while with the holidays, and that’s not what [landlords] want," Citi Habitats president Gary Malin tells the site. As a result, there's more room to negotiate on the rent, as well as on deal sweeteners like a free month's rent or payment of the broker's fee.
Also, since demand is so much higher in the summer, there's a good chance your landlord will sign a lease for longer than 12 months, guaranteeing it will come up sometime between May and September, the busiest renting seasons. While this means you'll be up for renewal (or looking to move) at the priciest time of year, it also guarantees a longer time in your apartment locked in at a specific price.
If you're working with a broker (or contacting one about a specific apartment), ask up front about potential concessions. You can also search for them via the Naked Apartments "low fee" and "no fee" filters, or by including the terms "free rent" or "no fee" in the description box of your search on StreetEasy. Urban Edge also has a section of its site dedicated to rentals with concessions. Moving when it's cold out isn't anyone's idea of a good time, but saving an entire month's rent? We'd say that qualifies.