When you’re renting a NYC apartment, invariably you have one of two main experiences. Things either go beautifully or you’re living a life with problems. The outcome you can expect depends, at least in part, on your landlord. There are some amazing ones out there. However, for every good landlord, there are some bad ones too.
There are some major common pitfalls when you’re renting. So, it’s crucial to know what not to do when you’re renting an apartment in Manhattan or any other area of NYC. You need to avoid bad apartments and landlords — and you need to rent wisely. Of course, you also need renters insurance in NYC.
If you’re thinking of renting in NYC and you need some advice, read on to find out the five biggest mistakes people make when renting a NYC apartment.
5 Big Mistakes When Renting a NYC Apartment
Mistake #1: Paying Too Much
Much of the time, rent isn’t always negotiable. But, there are many landlords who’re open to compromise in terms of rental fees. Lowering the official rent price can be difficult. It may be possible, however, to negotiate other ways of lowering what you need to pay.
For instance, if you’ve a cat or dog, you can always inquire about getting extra pet rent costs waived. You might be able to have some utility, such as rent or gas, included as well.
If you don’t have any extra requests, you can always ask about extending the lease by another month or two. Sometimes, landlords will give you a better deal by agreeing to rent for a longer term.
Mistake #2: Neglecting to Talk with Existing Tenants
You might feel a little “strange” and uneasy about asking, but it’s a very good idea to ask to speak with existing tenants to find out about their experiences. This can be extremely helpful in getting a clearer picture of what living in a building and renting from a specific landlord will be like for you as a NYC tenant.
Generally speaking, you want to ask questions such as:
- Is this a good place to live?
- Do you enjoy living here?
- How does the landlord respond if there’s a problem?
- How does the landlord respond to maintenance requests?
- Are there any issues with noise?
- Is there anything I should be aware of?
Again, if you’re worried about knocking on other people’s apartments or just feel a little reticent in general, you could leave a few notes under people’s doors. Make sure you remember to write down your name, email address, and/or phone number. Tell them that you’re thinking about renting an apartment in their building and you’d like to ask them a few questions. Not everyone will reply, but you might get a one or two responses.
Mistake #3: Not Getting Everything in Writing
It’s imperative that you get everything relating to your lease in writing. This way, you always have something solid to fall back on if there’s an issue. If anything is unclear, ensure that you get it clarified (in writing preferably).
So too, if terms in your lease are incorrect, ask for it to be amended. If there’s anything that you feel should allow you to get out of your lease, ensure this is part of your agreement before you sign it. Basically, if you feel anything should be put in writing, ensure you get it on paper as soon as you can.
Even after you sign your lease, try to keep all your correspondence in writing if possible. Keep a dated log of all communications for your own reference, in the event of a future problem. Although it’s your new home, renting an apartment is a business relationship. You therefore need to treat it as such.
Mistake #4: Not Documenting Your Moving-in with Photos
It’s common for a landlord to take photos before you move into your apartment, and again when you move out. But did you know that you should also do the same?
Be sure to get photographic proof of any problems within or damage to the apartment that was already there before you moved in. Once you’ve identified a problem, ask your landlord to get it fixed before you move in. Don’t even sign the lease until he rectifies the issue(s). The speed at which your landlord fixes any issues before you sign the lease will give you a good idea of how rapidly he’ll rectify any issues after you move in.
Mistake #5: Not Getting Renters Insurance
Remember that your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your own personal property. This means that if there’s a fire, burst pipe, or anything similar and your valuables are damaged, it’s you who’s usually responsible for any costs unless your landlord knew a dangerous issue existed and didn’t correct it.
Ensure the first thing you do after signing your lease it to get NYC renters insurance. Policies are usually quite affordable, and are more than worth it for your own peace of mind.
Renting an apartment in NYC should be a positive and exciting experience. By following the tips above you can ensure it’s as safe as possible too.