The Rental Market

Ask these questions before moving into that shiny new rental

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner | March 19, 2015 - 4:15PM

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.

An as yet unused roof deck. A pristine pool. The knowledge that no one else ever so much as took a nap in your new bedroom. Sure, living in a shiny, new building sounds divine. But don’t let that shiny newness distract you from asking the tough questions. Read on to find out some of the many things you need to learn before renting a place in a newly built building

  • When can you move in? Some developers start renting out units before construction is actually complete. So if your current lease is up and you need to find a new place ASAP, a building that’s still being built obviously isn’t right for you.
  • Which amenities are actually included in your rent? Sure, you’d love to take the occasional dip in the state-of-the-art gym’s Olympic-size pool, but don’t just assume that your monthly rent payment includes membership (or basement storage or use of the business center, etc.). In many buildings, those can cost quite a bit extra. In fact, some new buildings have amenity fees that run as much as $500 to $800 a year. Make sure to find out what your rent money will actually buy you. Also, ask if those amenities will actually be ready by the time you move in or if you’ll be living in a construction zone for the foreseeable future.
  • Can you put up a wall? These days, most NYC buildings forbid putting up temporary walls due to fire safety issues, so if a wall is important to you, definitely ask about the building’s policy before signing on the dotted line. Or you might end up sharing an actual room with your roommate (ah!).
  • What if you don’t make enough money to qualify? Don’t fret if you don’t earn an annual income of 40-50 times the monthly rent—the typical landlord requirement. Some landlords will let you put down a larger security deposit. Or, if the building is rent-regulated, you can have a guarantor who makes 80-100 times the monthly rent.
  • Will your mobile phone work on a high floor? Since no one has a landline anymore, it’s pretty important that your cell phone work in your apartment. But service is known to get spottier the higher up you live and many new buildings go pretty high up. Ask if the building of your choice has its own cellular base station (that connects calls through a broadband network and will pretty much guarantee that the phone will work way up high). And if it does, find out how much extra you’ll be charged for the service.

For more, read "7 things to ask before you rent in a brand new NYC building."


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