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September 19, 2023

New year, new home?

A lot of New Yorkers begin to consider change in January, which may mean finding a new apartment.

It pays to learn as much as you can about a building before you commit to a lease because moving is difficult and costly here.

Of course, it’s a good idea to ask questions during an open house or showing, but it’s simple to become sidetracked by the scenery or a cool feature—and lose focus.

1)When Was The Last Time The Façade was Examined?

Since you could only be a tenant for a year or two, you might be wondering why you should worry about a building’s structural upkeep. However, you should be aware that Local Law 11 requires buildings in New York City with more than six floors to have their façade examined every five years.

If possible, the inspection should have taken place recently with no violations discovered since if repairs are necessary, the building scaffolding normally needed for the examination must remain in place and interfere with the privacy and lighting of the tenants. Additionally, the scaffolding may be up for a few months or longer.

2. Has Flooding Ever Occurred in the Area?

Asking if the building has a history of flooding is a good idea if you’re considering an apartment on the ground or top floor or if there is basement storage given that global warming is bringing more frequent and strong weather.

Because the legislation in New York is caveat emptor, or buyer beware, this type of information is unlikely to be disclosed upfront.

The warranty of habitability is a set of rules that landlords must follow in order to make your apartment and the building safe and livable at all times, therefore landlords are expected to clean up and handle damage and mold.

Renters are covered if there is a flood by this warranty of habitability. But isn’t it better to try and prevent issues in the first place?

3) What Proportion of Units are Vacation Rentals?

Airbnb is fun unless you’re the neighbor who has to put up with it all the time.

Be alert if a building has a significant number of flats that are advertised on Airbnb or other short-term rental websites. Your quality of life may be significantly impacted. This is due to the fact that short-term rentals increase traffic and alter the ambiance in a building.

4) Are There Frequent Complaints About Noise in this Building?

Noise in a building is a big problem in NYC apartment buildings because people live next to and on top of one another. According to Ned Shatzer, the company’s founder, between 80 and 90 percent of his work concerns ceilings; the most common complaint is noise originating from upstairs neighbors.

Since you can’t renovate a rental property, you have fewer options for soundproofing it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out how noise complaints are handled and whether the building has any regulations regarding floor coverings. For example, many buildings in New York City mandate that 80% of the floor area be covered in order to reduce noise.

5) How are Issues Resolved?

The procedure for having repairs made to your flat is something you should be aware of. An excellent inquiry to pose is, “What is the turnaround time for addressing maintenance issues?”

Before signing a lease, understand how the building is maintained. Pay close attention to the response.

Both an imprecise response and a response that seems to make you hesitate to ask for work are red flags.

A different way to look at it is that asking pointed questions may endanger your ability to secure the rental, but it may also prevent you from making an expensive error.