How To Research Your NYC Building and Landlord Before You Sign a Lease

City skyline under gray sky

Anyone you ask will tell you that finding an apartment in New York City is hell. Finding a place which won’t bankrupt you within a few months is rare, and even barely decent offers are few and far between. As such, you could be tempted to jump at the first offer you find, even though the apartment is obviously lacking. If, when going to inspect the apartment, you notice that the building’s elevator is broken, there are trash bags piled up by the door or the building smells like bleach, you should probably look into the building and landlord first before considering signing a lease. To help you with this, we have put together a guide on how to research your NYC building and landlord before you sign a lease. We hope you find it helpful.

Begin simple

The easiest way to go about researching is looking them up online. If you look up the address of the place you’re considering, chances are it will come up with any major news stories related with it. For example, any serious infractions (for example, the landlord running a drug den) or murder cases will show up immediately. In addition, there is an online resource called the Landlord Watchlist which can help you easily find the worst landlords in NYC. This tool helps renters track landlords who have violated local tenant-landlord laws. It shows the top 100 hundred worst landlords, and also the top 10 worst buildings in NYC. So, before you start considering choosing movers in New York, take the time to first look up the landlord and address online.

Man using laptop

Take the time to look up the landlord and address online, a simple Google search can be quite effective.

Look into the property manager

Especially in areas such as Brooklyn, people tend to overlook the fact that property managers usually define your renting experience. Fortunately, researching a building’s management is quite easy. Simply hop onto Google and do a quick search, and you will know what you are getting into and if you should avoid it. Additionally, apps such as Yelp are very helpful, as people tend to leave reviews about buildings and their management. Looking into a building’s management can help avoid a lot of issues, even more so in more expensive areas such as Brooklyn. And if the search results are good, then you should seriously consider jumping on the opportunity. Good management is hard to come by, and when it comes to moving in, experts from Brooklyn can jump in to make sure your move is quick and clean.

Look out for building violations

When trying to research your NYC building and landlord, when it comes to building violations, you can let NYC government agencies do most of the work. The Department of Housing Preservation Development and the Department of Buildings both have websites for tracking any violations and complaints lodged against particular buildings. When looking through these complaints and violations, you should pay extra attention to ones marked as ECB (Environmental Control Board) violations. These are the more serious violations, such as a history of pest or mold infestations. Some of these issues are serious enough for people to have to stay the night a while from their apartments. And while knowing about cool and unusual hotels in New York, there are better reasons to visit them.

Aerial view of NYC

NYC government agencies have websites that make it very easy to find out about complaints and violations.

Consider renting a condo

The easiest way to avoid having to research your NYC building and landlord is to, quite literally, avoid them completely. Renting condos has a few benefits for anyone who plans to stay in an apartment for longer than a year. For one, condos are usually bigger and much nicer aesthetically. And besides that, renting from condo owners is generally known to be a much better experience. This is because condo owners have much more interest in the upkeep of their home, where large property management companies might simply not care. Experts from Ben Hur Moving & Storage NYC state that, recently, they’ve been hired to move people into condos more and more. Also, condo owners usually aren’t career landlords who own several large properties. As such, you will find they are much more attentive to your needs as a renter, and will get things done much more quickly.

Choose a building with a live-in superintendent

While you research your NYC building and landlord, keep an eye out if the building has a live-in superintendent. Why? It’s pretty simple: superintendents who live in the building are much more familiar with the tenants and the building itself. As such, they are typically much quicker at answering any maintenance requests or solving problems before they become major issues. If, for example, the lock on your apartment breaks, a live-in superintendent is much more likely to contact professional locksmith services and get the problem solved very quickly. Or, if something breaks inside the apartment, they likely get it fixed before it becomes a serious problem for you. That said, even a building without a live-in superintendent can still make for good living, but chances are a building with one will be better.

Serious man in suit looking at watch

Live-in superintendents are typically much better at responding to your concerns.

Be aware of bed bugs

When it comes to bed bug infestations, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. There are many free databases online which list complaints both about buildings and hotels. These might not be totally accurate, as they are typically user submitted, but they can make for good reference points when researching buildings. Remember, if the building has a history of bed bug infestations, it might not be worth living there.

How To Research Your NYC Building and Landlord Before You Sign a Lease – Conclusion

If you’re in a hurry to get an apartment in NYC, you can be tempted to go for any offer that comes your way. However, taking it slow and making sure you’re not walking into a bad situation first is a very good call. We hope you found this guide on how to research your NYC building and landlord before you sign a lease helpful, and we wish you luck in finding an apartment.

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Meta: Looking for an apartment in NYC? Read this guide on how to research your NYC building and landlord before you sign a lease and avoid unnecessary issues!

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