Realty Bites

I want to move to an apartment in the same building. Will I need a new lease?

By Austin Havens-Bowen | March 24, 2022 - 11:30AM

Expect to sign a new lease and pay a security deposit if the rent is higher. 

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Question:

I want to move to a different apartment in my building to get more space. Will I need to sign a new lease?

Answer:

It sounds like you have lucked out if there’s a vacant apartment in your building that’s available to you. Apartment hunters are facing lots of competition in the New York City rental market today, including much steeper rents and bidding wars.

Landlords, especially in larger buildings, are generally open to renters switching apartments. 

That’s because if you have a record of being a good tenant and paying your rent on time, you are valuable to your landlord, says Steven Gottlieb, a broker at Coldwell Banker Warburg. 

Some landlords will give preference to good tenants as apartments become available, says Karen Kostiw, a broker at Coldwell Banker Warburg. Renters may be looking to upsize or downsize, have better views, or get away from a neighbor, she says. But there are a few things to consider. 


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First, if the apartment has a higher rent, your landlord might require a new application and financial documents, Kostiw says. Some landlords might consider it a lease renewal if the rent for the new apartment is the same. 

With a higher rent, you may have to make up the difference in the security deposit. And if you are downsizing, your landlord should return the difference, Kostiw says. 

What if you want to move to a newly available apartment but your lease isn’t up?

You should still ask your landlord. There’s usually no reason to wait for your lease to end if the apartment is vacant and you want it, says Craig Roche (who requested that we use a pseudonym). He’s a landlord of a small apartment building in Manhattan and has offered his tenants the option to switch apartments. 

It's advisable to get a new lease because your address will have changed—and maybe your rent too. 

So your landlord should also issue you one with an updated unit number, rent payment, and end of the lease term, Roche says. 

 

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