11 January 2014

With reports of insane rents in Brooklyn, this article is an interesting perspective of the borough as a whole:

11 October 2013

Check out Avishai’s interview with Inman News where he talks about Apartable’s no-bullshit approach to rentals.

3 September 2013
Make Moving Out of Your Apartment Easier

Here’s another installment from our friends at Rocket Lease. Rocket Lease provides online rental applications and credit checks for landlords. Read more posts like this one on their new and improved rental blog.

Though Apartable is focused on making finding an apartment an easier and all-around better process, part of finding a new apartment is also moving out of your old one.

In addition to ensuring that the switch goes smoothly, it is important to know how to get the most money back from your old security deposit as possible. Many renters use a good portion of this money for the security deposit/first month’s rent on their new pad.

Here are five things that we here at Rocket Lease recommend to make the moving out process easier:

1. Line Up the Dates – It is almost easier to move out of an apartment and into a new one when the move-out date and move-in date line up. For most people, anything more than a day or two difference makes the entire process a heck of a lot harder. So try to line up the dates as closely as possible. The ideal situation is a move-out and move-in date on the same day so that you can just haul your stuff from one pad to the other.

2. Start Early – A lot of people wait until the last minute to begin packing for a move. This is, of course, all too easy to do. Force yourself to start early and pack a handful of things per day. 

You’ll be thankful when your move-out date arrives.

3. Have Someone There to Help – If you live by yourself, you might already know just how much it sucks to move alone. You should enlist the help of a reliable friend or family member to help you move boxes and especially to lift heavy furniture items. If you don’t have a spacious car (or truck) yourself, you might want to make this a friend who does.

4. Clean Thoroughly – Cleaning thoroughly is the number one thing that you can do to increase the chances of getting all of your security deposit back (as long as there are no major damages to the apartment, of course). Spend some time cleaning the floors and walls and pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen.

5. Plan a Walk-Through – Talk to your landlord and plan a walk-through before you move out of your old apartment. This will ensure that you know exactly what they are charging you for if they decide to subtract any damages from your security deposit.

So – there you have it! Following these five tips should make the apartment move-out process that much easier. Do you have any other tips that might help?

28 July 2013
Know Your Rights as a Tenant

A lease agreement protects the landlord’s property, but it also allows for your privacy and ability to fight any allegations a landlord might make. Here are a few things the law requires of landlords and tenants to keep in mind when it is time to sign:

1) Discrimination – It is illegal to deny somebody housing based on their race, nationality, immigrant status, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or occupation. People with children are also protected from discrimination.

2) Security Deposit - You get this back when you move out or within an appropriate amount of time afterwards. The landlord can subtract some from the deposit if they have to repair any damage you caused to the place during your stay. The same goes for any rent you may not have paid. These are the only things your landlord can use your deposit for. You have the right to cancel the agreement and get your deposit back if the apartment isn’t ready by the start date agreed upon.

3) Other Provisions - The rules for the building, and any other terms defined by the landlord, should be clearly stated in the lease agreement. They may not allow pets, for instance. One thing to be aware of is that a landlord can be held liable for any injuries to persons or property due to the landlord’s negligence, even if they write a provisional clause for exemption in this scenario.

4) Breaking the Lease/Subletting - If you move out before the end date specified on your lease you are still responsible for the rent until you or the landlord finds a new tenant. The only way you should sublet your apartment is with written permission from your landlord. As the original signer of the lease you are still responsible for paying the rent, so make sure the person subletting is good for it.

5) Eviction - By law, you must be served with an eviction notice and a court hearing. It is illegal for the landlord to lock you out of your apartment, take any of your belongings or stop essential services like heat or water. They’re not even allowed to set foot in your apartment unless they’ve given prior notice, or have your consent.

6) Safety - Building codes are upheld by the owner to prevent injury or illness to the tenants because of unhealthy conditions. Your apartment should have at least one working smoke detector near each bedroom and at least one carbon monoxide detector. The apartment should also have already been investigated for various hazards, including the need for window guards. 

Being aware of your rights as a tenant ensures a better understanding of the lease agreement a landlord may offer you. Read through it carefully before signing. Ask questions. The more you know about how the landlord conducts their business, the better the time you’ll have living in their building.

 

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

Note: This post is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

28 July 2013

rolandopujol:

Two spires frame the #Manhattan sky: 1 #WTC and the 1870s Jefferson Market Library. #architecture #nyc #skyscrapers

27 June 2013

This is how silly neighborhood names get invented. And soon, it’ll be getting it’s own Whole Foods too!

21 June 2013
Introducing Verified Landlords

One of the things that always confuses renters is just who’s behind the listing. Many times, it’s just not clear whether the person advertising an apartment is a broker or the landlord. Apartable makes it much easier to tell by requiring an account for each listing and displaying agent profile, and now we’re expanding to landlords too.

Listings from certain landlords and management companies now have a special “Verified Landlord” badge. This shows you that we have a direct feed of their vacancies, and we’ve checked that the listings are legit and are updated frequently. We work directly with these landlords to publish their most up-to-date listings.

When you see the blue badge on apartments from UDR, Related, Stonehenge and other leading management companies around the city, you’ll know that their vacancies are up to date and 100% no-fee.

Search apartments for rent by owner in NYC. Look for it in the amenities menu.

6 June 2013
Apartment Hunting with Your Pet

Here’s another installment from our friends at Rocket Lease. Rocket Lease provides online rental applications and credit checks for landlords. Read more posts like this one on their rental blog.

If you are a pet owner and a renter, then you already know how hard it can be to find an apartment that allows pets. The simple fact of the matter is that many landlords specifically state in their leases that they don’t allow cats or dogs in any of their units. The reasons for this are fairly straightforward and make a lot of sense when you think about them: pets can be dirty, noisy, and sometimes even dangerous. For many landlords, the negatives of renting to pet owners far outweigh the positives so they just decide to keep their apartment buildings pet-free.

While some apartment buildings obviously need to be pet-free (think: people with allergies to pet hair), not all do. The five quick tips discussed below will help you find an apartment that allows pets and ensure that you’re all set to sign the lease when you do. 

1. Give Yourself Time – Because it can be difficult to find a pet-friendly apartment building, it is essential that you give yourself plenty of time for your apartment search. Don’t start looking the month that your current lease ends – start looking at least three months beforehand. By keeping your eyes open early and talking to friends who rent with pets, you will increase your chances of finding the perfect home.

2. Make Sure the Apartment Really is ‘Pet Friendly’ – Even though an apartment might allow pets, it might not really be a good place for your pets, especially if you have a dog. As dogs need space, it is essential that you find an apartment with a good area to walk nearby or, better yet, a space for running.

3. Be Upfront – When meeting with a landlord for the first time, tell them that you are a pet owner. Don’t wait to tell them until right before signing the lease. Furthermore, don’t sugarcoat anything – tell them exactly what kind of pet you have, how big it is, and its habits. Telling your landlord that your dog is twenty-five pounds when it is really fifty pounds isn’t going to do anyone any good.

4. Prepare Pet References – Your prospective landlord will want to know for certain that your pet is well-behaved. Preparing pet references to show them is a surefire way to reassure them. Pet references should include a report from the vet (stating that your pet is current with all the required vaccinations), a letter from your current landlord, a certificate of training, and a record of their size and breed.

5. Be Ready to Pay a Deposit – Nearly every pet-friendly apartment building is going to require an additional pet deposit if you rent with a pet. This deposit goes to cover the cost of any damages caused by your pet. Unlike a security deposit, it is usually non-refundable. Ask your prospective landlord about the exact cost during your first apartment showing.

5 June 2013
5 Reasons Pet Deposits Are a Good Thing

Pet deposits are a small amount of money that a tenant puts up at the beginning of a lease term in order to keep an animal within an apartment or home. A pet deposit is usually paid on a per pet basis and the price is usually set based on the rental costs.

1. They allow renters to keep a pet. Many renters who complain about pet deposits do not realize that without a pet deposit most owners simply don’t allow pets at all. Many areas in which renting is common simply don’t allow pets because of the risk they present to the properties. This is bad for owners and renters alike because most of the time this does not actually keep people from owning pets. Instead, most renters own pets but hide them from the owners which eventually causes problems for both parties. Renters end up unable to ask landlords for necessary repairs because they are hiding their animals and landlords end up with damage caused by this lack of maintenance.

2. They’re a fair alternative to pet rent. Owners that do not use a pet deposit usually use a pet rental cost. This is usually an additional cost tacked on to monthly rent under the assumption that a pet will cause additional wear and tear. Pet rental costs are usually the same whether for a ten pound cat or a fifty pound dog, and for pet owners that have low-maintenance animals the pet rental fee will not be fair because the animal will probably do little to no damage to the apartment. Pet deposits are much fairer because they only charge based on damage and pet owners have direct control over the amount of damage that is caused.

3. They put the landlord at ease. Pets can damage apartments more than some renters may know and a landlord with a pet in their apartment will be well aware of what can go wrong. Dogs have been known to tear out drywall and doors and permanently stain flooring. A pet deposit makes a landlord far more willing to accept a pet while still allowing a tenant to get money back as long as they control their animal.

4. They are just a deposit. A pet deposit should not be confused with a pet fee and a tenant needs to be very cautious about how these two terms are used. A pet fee is a fee that will not be returned to the tenant. Most tenants will not want to pay these. However, a pet deposit is a deposit of money in addition to the tenant’s regular deposit that can be used towards damages. The tenant will get the money back and some states even require the tenant to get back interest. Some contracts do use the term pet fee and pet deposit interchangeably so a tenant will want to have this clarified for them within the contract itself regardless of the way the terms are defined.

5. They lessen the hassle of moving out. If a pet does cause damage to the apartment then the landlord can repair the apartment at a low cost, deduct it from the deposit, then return the remainder to the tenant. Otherwise the tenant may have to do the repairs themselves or payout a higher amount to a contractor to have them done. Most landlords already have handymen and contractors that can do work at cheaper costs, and this avoids having to trade money back and forth at the end of the tenant’s term at the apartment. It also means that the entire process can be expedited.

Pet deposits solve a very real problem that property owners can have with tenants that have animals. If a tenant has an animal that is well-behaved they will usually get their deposit back.

This article was contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at m.hatter12@gmail.com..

16 May 2013
Avoiding the Most Common Apartment Rental Scams

Here’s another installment from our friends at Rocket Lease. Rocket Lease provides online rental applications and credit checks for landlords. Read more posts like this one on their rental blog.

Searching for a new apartment can be beyond exhausting. Even with sites like Apartable that make finding a new apartment a better process, it can still be time-consuming and tiring. What makes it even more tiring (and potentially even dangerous) is when you fall victim to an apartment rental scam. 

Scammers know that apartment hunters are very vulnerable. Part of the reason for this is that finding the perfect place to live is such an emotional process. This is why scammers look to attack these emotions and use them to their advantage. Taking note of the apartment rental scams discussed below will help you avoid them during your apartment search.

1. You are asked to send money before seeing an apartment. One of the most common rental scams of all, this seems to happen mostly while searching for apartments on Craigslist. You find an apartment that looks great – its photos are excellent, the information is spot-on, and everything seems legit – so you email the landlord. They ask you to send in money for an application fee before coming to see the apartment. Though this could just be a landlord being a ditz, it is usually a sign that the rental ad and the ‘landlord’ is a scam/scammer. There is no reason that you should send money for an application fee before actually having a showing.

2. The landlord seems overly eager to rent the apartment. Of course, it is perfectly natural for a landlord to want to rent out their apartments – it is how they make money – but are they being overeager? Do they waive common application fees or security deposit? Do they fail to ask you for any information that could be used for tenant screening (i.e. your credit score or employment history)? A landlord that is being pushy, one who really wants to rent an apartment to you without doing many of the things that landlords ‘should’ do, could just be looking to scam you.

3. They are asking for too much information online. It happens way more often than you’d probably realize but when responding to apartment advertisements, many people are asked for personal information by the so-called landlord. While a name and phone number is par for the course, you definitely have adequate reason to get suspicious if you are asked for your social security number or bank account number online over the email. Simply put, do not give it to them. They are almost definitely trying to scam you. 

At the end of the day, avoiding apartment rental scams is all about keeping your eyes open and remaining cautious. Trust your instinct. Trust your gut. If something feels fishy, it probably is. There are plenty of other apartments out there to choose from. Oh, yeah, and consider using a service like Apartable. They all but eliminate apartment rental scams from their online listings.