Common Mistakes to Avoid When Renting an Apartment in NYC

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Renting an Apartment in NYC

Published: 29 Oct, 2019

Last Updated: 30 Jan, 2023

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Cool Admin #1

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The New York rental market can be a treacherous landscape to navigate, more so the entry-level market. If you are renting an apartment in NYC for the first time, you are bound to have a rude awakening as the dollar doesn’t stretch that much in the Big Apple as it does in most other parts of the country.

Plus, this is a competitive market unlike any other.

In this article, we highlight the common pitfalls you are likely to fall into and how you can avoid them.


1. Renting Without Viewing the Apartment

We get it, the New York rental market is highly competitive so it makes sense to be swift in your decision making.

However, as luring as that cheap apartment looks from the online listings you’ve come across, don’t make the mistake of signing on the dotted line without actually seeing in person.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.


2. Not Having Your Paperwork Together

The New York rental market is a vicious jungle. When you find your dream apartment, there is a high likelihood someone else will show up and swipe the place if you take three days to put together the required documentation.

Before you start looking, it is best practice to have your paperwork together if you want to avoid disappointments.


3. Overlooking the Small Details

It is very common for renters to start noticing problems with their apartment soon after moving in.

In New York City especially, it is easy to find one or two surprises you can’t believe you signed up for.

When viewing the apartment, make sure to check all the minor details – power outlets and electrical work, the building’s bedbug history, water pressure and temperature, noise levels and all those other minor details.

Talk to a few neighbors, and if you can, visit the apartment at night to get a feel of how things feel at night. You don’t want to move in and find yourself in a situation like the Mills couple from the movie Se7en.

Here is an inspection list you need to have when renting an apartment in NYC.


4. Skimming the Small Print

You might be surprised at the things you could find hidden in the ho-hum text which, if you had overlooked, might have put you in a very unwanted situation.

For example, some apartment buildings might allow dogs, but on careful checking, you find they have a restriction on such things as breed and weight! Others might have guest restrictions and even impose a fee in the case of visitors who stay longer than a night or two. True story.

Ignore the fine print at your own peril.


5. Not Knowing Your Rights

Tenants in New York City are protected by laws just like every other real estate market.

Knowing your rights when renting an apartment in NYC is important to avoid finding yourself at the mercy of the landlord.

Some landlords and property managers have been known to take advantage of renters’ lack of awareness when it comes to tenant rights, a situation that leaves you grasping the wrong end of the carrot.

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