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A beginner’s guide to renting out an apartment in NYC

gray signboard open house for renting out

Learn how to improve your home’s condition before renting out

Whether renting out an apartment for the first time or you are an experienced landlord, your main goal is to attract perfect tenants that will take good care of the property. As you are gearing up for this undertaking, you will probably want to ensure your place is in top shape. Renting out a property provides a consistent cash flow, especially if there are long-term agreements involved.

However, being a dedicated landlord doesn’t mean just handing over the keys and awaiting for the monthly rent. As it turns out, it’s not as straight-forward as putting a ‘’for sale’’ sign in the front yard hoping that some of the best tenants will come your way.

First and foremost, you should determine whether you can handle responsibilities and obligations involved. Here’s what to pay attention to when planning to put your place on the market.

Guidelines to the first-time landlord experience

Learn more about landlord-tenant law

A complex landlord-tenant relationship is regulated by the federal, state and local law. Getting a deeper understanding of your rights and legal duties will help you protect yourself as well as your rental business.

Depending on local regulations, landlords should abide by a number of legal responsibilities:

  • Implementing safety features such as smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detectors…
  • Security deposit issues
  • Notice period regulations
  • Repairs and maintenance projects
  • Accessing the property

Also, in order to avoid possible problems and misunderstandings make sure your legally binding lease agreement clearly states some of the most important features:

  1. Monthly rent
  2. Security deposit
  3. Period and type of occupancy
  4. Policy about pets
  5. Maintenance responsibilities
  6. Subleasing regulations

Needless to say, if both sides are open to negotiation, there’s a good chance to reach a satisfactory agreement at some point. Holding up your end of the deal is probably the most important factor in a fair landlord-tenant relationship.

Screen your prospective tenants carefully

man's hand holding a key

Choose carefully tenants you will entrust the well-being of your property

Finding responsible, reliable and financially qualified tenants may seem like a real hassle. It’s certainly worth the time and extra effort to run background and credit check on your prospective tenants. It’s always a good idea to ask for a letter of reference from the former landlord so as to check tenant’s rent payment history.

But, their credit score is not the only parameter to factor in. Talk with your prospective tenants personally to get a better sense of what your interaction and communication might look like. Also, make sure to entrust your property to a person who will not only pay the rent on time, but also take a good care of it. The truth is that you never know whether the kind person you just met will turn into a tenant from hell. Letting a stranger into your apartment comes with a lot of risks, so at least make sure to do the screening process right.

Notify your insurance company about renting out

person holding a blue house model

Upgrade your insurance policy before renting out your apartment

When you start renting out your property your basic homeowner’s insurance policy won’t provide sufficient coverage. Always let the insurance company know if you are going to rent out your property so as to avoid denied claims or partial coverage. Bear in mind that without the right type of protection your property and investments may end up irreparably damaged.

Depending on the length of the rental agreement you may decide if your homeowner’s insurance needs to switch to a landlord policy. Take your time to talk to the insurer about possible options and scenarios in the event of renting out an apartment in NYC. Also, make sure to take into account insurance costs when establishing the monthly rent.

Set a reasonable price

While taking photos and emphasizing the most attractive apartment features think about the most convenient price. Get to know your competition in order to get a better idea of the pricing standards. Check out similar rentals in your neighborhood so that you can figure out how much you may charge for a monthly rent.

If possible, go ahead and check personally some apartments in your area. Also, local realtors may help you establish a fair price of the apartment according to the demand. Although you want to make the most money possible, you should know that overpriced rentals will keep prospective tenants from contacting you. Therefore, base your final decision on the following factors:

  • Square footage
  • Room layout
  • Floor level
  • Location
  • View
  • Overall condition of appliances, furniture

How to spruce up the apartment before renting out

an animated plumber wearing a red hat holding a wrench

Staging an apartment before renting out is an investment that pays off eventually

Assuming that you don’t have limitless funds for a total make-over of your place, we are sharing some of the budget-friendly ideas on how to get ready your place for renting. Aside from collecting monthly rents, landlords are expected to make certain investments so as to create a decent environment.

-Inspect the entire property so as to identify which repair and maintenance projects could help you attract tenants faster. As it turns out, a fresh coat of paint may liven up the entire space. Although for many landlord white is the safest option, consider some colorful touches to add that special, captivating flair.

-De-clutter and clean the place thoroughly. Reduce the apartment to a simple and plain structure where your prospective tenants can envision themselves along with their possessions. It’s extremely important your future tenants can understand the true scale and potential of the apartment. So, you can either put your old belongings into storage or donate them to charities.

Add some eye-catching, charming details that will provide a comfortable and homey feel. Plants and fresh flowers may liven up even the most neutral of spaces. However, displaying some personal odds and ends may prevent your visitors from picturing themselves in the space.

-Enhance the most attractive spots and features that may help your property stand out from the competition.

-Get rid of unpleasant odors before renting out by cleaning your carpets and drapes thoroughly and airing out the entire space regularly. Consider lighting some scented candles to neutralize nasty odors.

Stage the outdoor area by trimming the plants, cutting down dead branches, planting some seasonal flowers, replacing broken tiles and light fixtures, cleaning the outdoor furniture, placing a new door mat.