How to Rent an Apartment or a House in New York: Expert Advice

Renting a home in New York has quite a few nuances that are difficult to cover in one article, but we decided to try to answer the questions most often asked by people who decide to change their place of residence and get New York City rentals.

What Kind of Real Estate Is for Rent in New York? 

Unlike most European cities, New York’s landlords are more often companies than individuals. Private owners are most often found in townhouses – 3-4-story buildings, especially in Brooklyn and other areas outside of Manhattan. The majority of high-rise buildings (real estate) are owned by companies (legal entities).

Very often, a company that owns a large amount of real estate hires a management company to maintain it. The management company organizes the rental process: 

  • interacts with brokers; 
  • considers rental applications; 
  • responsible for concluding a lease and collecting rent and deposits;  
  • solves household problems.

Private owners manage the rental apartments themselves. Sometimes the landlord’s family occupies one apartment in the house and rents out the rest, sometimes they live separately. In any case, such a landlord will know you by sight, will be very attentive to your requests, but will also try to more closely monitor whether you keep order in his apartment.

What Is the Rental Application Process? 

The laws of New York create very favorable conditions for the tenant and protect his rights well. Eviction of a person from a rented apartment is a lengthy process, accompanied by legal costs. Because of this, landlords very carefully select responsible, reliable, and financially secure tenants. 

Each management company has its own application form, as well as a list of additional documents that must be provided to the company in order to consider the application and the requirements that the future tenant must meet. The rules set by the management company may vary slightly in different companies and buildings, but they apply to all tenants and are practically non-negotiable.

Private landlords and small management companies are less stringent and easier to negotiate with to ease the solvency requirement or propose changes to a typical lease. With such landlords, it will be easier to negotiate with a tenant who has only recently arrived in New York or the United States and cannot confirm his reliability in the ways standard for this city.

Private owners themselves decide who to rent an apartment to. Their preferences are very individual; often many other factors besides your credit history influence their decision. You can meet with such an owner (sometimes it is necessary), personally apply for a lease, and agree on the terms of the contract.

If you have chosen an apartment in a cooperative building or condominium, in most cases your application will be reviewed not only by the owner of the apartment but also by the Coop/Condo Board. This can take from a couple of days to several weeks.

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