In May 2023, rent increases on lease renewals for market-rate apartments in NYC cooled off to 4.9% compared to 17% a year before and 6.8% in April 2023. After a year of mostly double-digit increases, renters got some reprieve as landlords handed out sub-5% rent increases in the majority of cases. Notably, rent increases on lease renewals for apartments priced less than $2500 received the largest increases – around 8%. But why are rent prices on renewals cooling as the summer rental season heats up? Perhaps it’s indicative that rents have finally reached their top and landlord’s feel there isn’t the same upside to put units back on the market.
Are you a pet owner renting in NYC? If so, you may have some questions about apartment hunting with a furry friend.
First things first; landlords ARE allowed to prohibit pets in their buildings, unless they are certified medical or emotional support animals. If you are apartment hunting with a service animal, be sure to have all your documentation in order for your rental application! Legally, landlords cannot discriminate against you if you have a service animal. But what are the rules for non-certified pets? It really depends on the landlord and building. Here are a few things you need to know.
Can landlords charge a pet-fee?
A pet fee is a one-time fee that landlords charge to tenants with pets to cover any damages the pet may cause to the apartment. In NYC, pet fees are legal, but they cannot be more than one month’s rent.
Can a landlord ask for a “pet-deposit”?
A pet deposit is a refundable deposit that landlords charge to tenants with pets to cover any damages the pet may cause to the apartment. In NYC, pet deposits are NOT legal because the maximum deposit landlords can ask for is 1 month’s rent. Instead, landlords can require tenants with pets to pay a non-refundable pet fee.
No. In fact, the majority of buildings in NYC are pet-friendly and fees are not very common. Many new development buildings are even being constructed with dog runs and other pet amenities. Landlords may impose a fee for large breeds or if an applicant has multiple pets.
Can my landlord deny my application because I have a pet?
Unless your pet is a service animal, the landlord CAN reject your application because you have a pet. Landlords may also deny applicants with certain breeds or types of animals (reptiles, fish etc.).
What are common pet rules in NYC buildings?
Every landlord is different, so you should reference your lease to see if they have any specific pet rules. Common stipulations may be that your pet should have identification tags, be leashed when outside your unit, and that you are required to pick up after your pet.
My building is animal-free but I want to get a pet. Can I get a pet and not tell my landlord?
Unfortunately, getting a pet in an animal-free building is likely breaking a term in your lease. If your landlord learns of this information, they could use it as grounds for an eviction. Additionally, many renters elect to rent in animal-free spaces because of allergies or other concerns. So even if your landlord doesn’t know, it could disturb your neighbors or cause them to report it.
Do you have a pet? Does your building charge fees or have any pet rules? Be sure to share an anonymous review on openigloo and help the next renter who considers your building!
Rent Increases on Lease Renewals Cooled Off in April
In April 2023, rent increases on lease renewals for market-rate apartments in NYC cooled off to 6.8% compared to 20.6% a year before and 10.8% in March 2023. Increases on lease renewals have stabilized compared to 2022, where the market saw steep corrections in rent and 20%+ increases were standard. However, the majority of lease renewals are still in the sub-5% range. Meaning, landlords are increasing rents less than 5% when their tenants are up for renewal. Notably, rent increases in Brooklyn have surpassed those in Manhattan. This may be indicative that rental momentum in Brooklyn will continue into the summer months.
Rents continue to tick up heading into summer months.
In March 2023, rent increases on lease renewals formarket-rate apartments in NYC ticked up to 10.8% compared to 20% a year before and 10.2% in February 2023. Increases on lease renewals have stabilized compared to 2022, where the market saw steep corrections in rent and 20%+ increases were standard. However, the majority of lease renewals are still in the sub-5% range. Meaning, landlords are increasing rents less than 5% when their tenants are up for renewal. Our recommendation to both renters and landlords is to compare the renewals they are receiving/giving to the numbers below so they can assess if the pricing is aligned with the rest of the market.
In February 2023, rent increases on lease renewals for market-rate apartments in NYC was 10.2% compared to 26.4% a year before and 8.1% in January 2023. Increases on lease renewals have stabilized compared to the levels seen in 2022, where the market saw steep corrections in rent. However, the majority of lease renewals are still in the sub-5% range. Meaning, landlords are increasing rents less than 5% when their tenants are up for renewal and steep double digit increases are becoming less common.
Your questions answered about subletting an apartment, short-term leasing, Airbnb and more in New York City.
Subletting is a common practice in New York, where leaseholders rent out their space to other renters for a period of time. There are many reasons a renter may need to sublet. Perhaps they are leaving the City for a few months for work or personal reasons. Instead of breaking their lease, they can sublet their space to someone else to cover the costs of rent. If you’re a renter in NYC, here are 5 things you need to know about subletting your apartment.
1. Subletting for less than 30 days is illegal.
In New York City, renters cannot sublet their space for less than 30 days. So if you’re going on vacation for a couple of weeks, renting out your space is not permitted. Buildings need to be zoned to accommodate short-term rentals. For example, dormitories or hotels are permitted to lease short-term. Most residential buildings in NYC don’t have the appropriate permissions to accommodate short-term renters.
2. You can use Airbnb and other platforms to sublet.
But what about Airbnb? Airbnb and other short-term renting platforms are having a hard time in New York City, since stricter laws came into effect. All spaces listed on Airbnb for short-term renting (less than 30 days), need to apply for short-term renting permits from the city. But if you want to host for periods longer than 30 days, you can still use Airbnb without this city permit.
3. You need to notify your landlord if you want to sublet your apartment.
All renters are entitled to sublet their apartment. Under the law a landlord cannot unreasonably withhold the right to sublet. However, the landlord can refuse to sublet with good reason. If you want to sublet your space, you must inform your landlord and give them a 30-day notice. You will also have to submit documentation about your subtenant. They likely will have to meet certain income and credit requirements to qualify. Your landlord has the right to ask for additional info within that 30 day or period, or deny the request (with good reason). If they don’t say anything, you can assume an approval after the 30 day window has passed.
4. You CAN sublet your rent-stabilized apartment – but there are restrictions.
Rent-stabilized apartments are also eligible for sublet with a few restrictions. You can only sublet the apartment for 2 years at a time. You cannot indefinitely sublet your space. If the apartment is unfurnished, the maximum you can charge the subtenant is the same rent you pay. If you leave the space furnished, you can charge a 10% premium on the rent. Not sure if your apartment is stabilized? Check out our comments here.
Subleasing your space at the end of the day is a contract. Both parties should set clear expectations on price, security deposit, timeline and other rules. Once you get approval from your landlord to sublet, get your subtenant to sign a sublease agreement. Here is a free template to get you started.
Have you ever subleased your space? How was the experience? Was your landlord flexible? Be sure to share an anonymous review on openigloo, and help the next renter that considers your building and landlord.
New York City has some of the strongest tenant protections in the country and has a stringent process of how and when renters can be evicted from their homes. While everyone hopes to never be at risk of eviction or potentially in a combative situation with a landlord, it’s important to know your rights. Here are 4 things every renter should know about evictions and illegal lockouts.
1. Only a City Marshal or Sheriff has the authority to carry out a Warrant of Eviction.
Eviction proceedings take time, and only a court order from a judge can result in an eviction. Landlords cannot force you to leave without an eviction order. Receiving a letter from your landlord is not an eviction either. If you’re uncertain about whether a notice you’ve received is legitimate, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.
2. An illegal lockout is when a landlord changes the lock on your apartment or removes your things without a legal eviction order.
Lockouts are illegal and considered a misdemeanor in NYC. If you find yourself in this situation, you can call the police and file a report. While the NYPD cannot help you regain access to your unit, they can take your statement and supervise while you get locks changed back. Go to nyc.gov/IllegalLockouts to learn more about what to do if you’ve been locked out of your apartment.
3. Short-term tenants and undocumented renters are also protected from evictions and lockouts.
You may think that because you don’t have a lease or are an undocumented immigrant that these laws don’t apply to you. That is false. Even without a formal lease, once you’ve lived in a space for 30 days you are entitled to the same protections as any other renter.
4. Landlords cannot withhold essential utilities and repairs.
In some cases, tenants may feel pressure to leave their home because the landlord is withholding essential utilities, such as water and electricity, and repairs, like ceiling leaks and holes in the floor. This kind of behavior is considered tenant harassment and is completely illegal. If you find yourself in this situation, report it to the City and keep everything well-documented. You can take your landlord to court for harassment, and if they are found guilty of tenant harassment, they could face penalties, including applying for building permits and other City programs.
If you are unsure about any of the above or what your rights are as a tenant, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline to get free one-on-one support. Tenant Support Specialists can connect you with free legal resources and other guidance. The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit also has resources with more information on how to protect yourself against evictions and illegal lockouts.
Have you ever had a landlord that didn’t respect NYC eviction and lockout rules? In addition to connecting with City resources, be sure to share an anonymous review on openigloo and help the next renters that may consider that building. During your apartment hunt, you can also check openigloo for the eviction histories of every address in NYC. This City data can help you assess which landlord portfolios are particularly known for their eviction practices.
In January 2023, rent increases on lease renewals for market-rate apartments in NYC were 8.1% compared to 17% a year before and 3.2% in December 2022. Rental activity seemed to cool in the latter months of 2022, but January saw a bounce back. 71% of New York lease renewals were still sub 5%. There was notably a big bounce in Manhattan rent increases, 11.1% vs. 2.4% last month. The neighborhood with the highest reported rent increases was the West Village at 36%.
Renting an apartment in New York is not easy. Housing is competitive, prices are volatile, and applications are invasive. First-time renters may be overwhelmed by how much information brokers and landlords ask for. At openigloo, we often get messages from renters asking us what’s normal for an NYC rental application checklist, as handing over dozens of personal documents to a stranger feels weird. But rest assured, these kinds of requests are very common.
Generally, landlords are looking to confirm 3 things: your income, your credit, and your rent payment history. In NYC, renters need to make 40x the rent and have credit of around 700 to be eligible for an apartment without a guarantor. The 40x rule means your annual gross household income needs to be 40x the rent (for example, if the apartment is $2000, your income needs to be $80,000 per year: 2000 x 40 = 80,000). If you want to prepare for your apartment hunt and get your application ready, this is what you’ll need:
1. 6 months bank statements.
Provide full PDF reports and not screenshots. Your name, address, starting and ending balance needs to be on the statements. Make sure these statements showcase bi-weekly deposits from an employer and rent withdrawals. Highlight these line items to make it easier for the application reviewer to identify. If you have multiple accounts, savings or investment accounts, you can include those as well.
2. Last 3 pay stubs.
These should be official receipts from an employer that showcase your gross and net income. Landlords want to see that you are working right now. Usually, they won’t take into consideration an offer letter for a job you haven’t started yet.
3. Employment Letter.
A short letter from your manager outlining your job title, salary, and how long you’ve been there will really help strengthen your application.
4. Last 2 tax returns.
This is another way for the landlord to confirm your income history. The income you declare should match the 40x rule. If it doesn’t (maybe you’ve since received a raise), explain that in your application.
5. Credit Report from the past 30 days.
Landlords may run your credit for you – this shouldn’t cost you more than $20. But if you have a valid report from the past 30 days, you can submit that. It needs to be the full credit report – not screenshots from Credit Karma or other websites. You can get a copy of your full credit report on Experian.
Landlords want to see that you pay rent on time. Show receipts, Venmo screenshots, or rent ledgers from your previous landlords, etc.
7. Landlord Reference.
While not mandatory, this will really help strengthen your application. Just a short letter from your past landlord that says you were a tenant in good standing with no issues.
8. Photocopy of your government-issued ID.
If you do not have all of the above, you may need a guarantor. A guarantor needs to make 80x the rent to have a credit score of around 800. Ideally, they should be US residents from the tri-state area. Double-check with the landlord or broker on whether guarantors are accepted. Your guarantor will need to provide tax returns, their credit report, and ID to confirm their eligibility. Get those items organized in advance to submit with your application. If you don’t know anyone that can guarantee a lease for you, there are third-party guarantor services you can pay to guarantee your lease.
Get your documents organized and in order on openigloo. You can use our applicant profile to send complete and strong applications to landlords and brokers across the 5 boroughs.
Rent increases on lease renewals fall for the 3rd straight month
In December 2022, rent increased on lease renewals for market-rate apartments in NYC were 3.2% compared to 18.2% a year before. Rental activity continues to cool heading in the winter months, where 84% of renewals reported an increase of less than 5%. Notably, the average December renewal in Manhattan was a 2.4% increase compared to 6.7% in Brooklyn. Increases in rent renewals have been hovering around 5% since August, indicating that the post-pandemic correction in prices seems to be behind us.