Every year newly graduated and bright eyed college graduates flock to New York City in search of their dream apartment and job. Getting your own place is one of the best feelings in the world! You feel so accomplished, you feel like a "real grown-up" and ultimately you feel independent. Then reality sets in. Renting in NYC is expensive and the price is only rising. People quickly find out that what they envisioned their apartment would look like and the reality of what they can afford are at opposite end of the spectrum. Once you do find an apartment there are a number of things you need to know before signing on the dotted line. There are certain rights or things that you are entitled to.
Dreams VS Reality for Renters
To get a taste of reality for New York' rental market you have to look just how far your buck will go for square footage and location. In Greenwich Village the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,100 while a studio apartment can easily be $2,200 a month. With such a competitive rental market in NYC, landlords have high expectations of tenants. Landlords require tenants to have annual salaries 40 times their monthly rent. This means that newly graduated young people would need an $80,000 salary to rent a $2,000 a month apartment. In addition, some owners may require guarantors along with first and last month's rent.
These stipulations and costs will inevitably lead most to look outside of these sought after locations for more affordable and flexible housing situations. This is when it's most important for the tenant to know their rights and protect themselves from the NYC slumlords.
Protect Yourself by Knowing Your Rights
In New York, there are several regulations, laws and statutes that protect the tenant from unscrupulous landlords who may be all to ready to take advantage of an unknowing first time tenant. This is where spending a few extra dollars on legal counsel before signing a lease can be the difference between have a seamless stay at your apartment and losing your shirt when you move out. In addition to the financial perils that can come with not protecting yourself before signing the lease there's also the safety aspect of the building in which you are renting in.
As Senior Partner of Jaroslawicz & Jaros PLLC, Abraham Jaros explains, "tenants residing within a multiple dwelling building or within a one-and two family home in New York City, it is the responsibility of your Landlord to provide and install an approved carbon monoxide alarm within fifteen feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping room as well as approved operational smoke device in each unit." Not only must they provide it, but it is the responsibility of the Landlord to also install the Smoke detector. New York City Administrative Code § 27-2045, specifies that the Landlord has a responsibility to provide you, the Tenant, with a working and operational smoke detector in each dwelling unit.
During your first year of use, it is the duty of the Landlord to repair or replace any broken detector if it's malfunctioned and it's not the Tenant's Fault. Now, with all this being said it is your duty as the Tenant to:
- Keep and maintain the smoke detector in good working order
- Replace any and all devices which are either stolen , removed , missing or rendered
Of course as a Tenant you have other rights besides a Smoke Detector which includes two means of exit from every apartment in the building. These means of exit include, but are not limited to the following: corridors, doorways, and fire escapes.
Before you move in to your new place be sure to do a walk through and inspect the place properly, even if it's new. Make a list of all the things you see that look a bit off like cracks in the wall, damaged rug , leaky faucet ... anything like that. Once you've done this, what you will do is simply pass the list over to the landlord and it should make things easier on the Landlord so they will know what needs to be fixed before you move in. You may also consider renters insurance as a means to protect your personal property from things like fire and burglary. You may not own much when renting your first apartment but at the low cost of renters insurance it's well worth the spend.