What you should know about subletting in NYC
For many New York City transplants, subletting an apartment has provided an important stepping stone for starting life in the Big Apple. Since subletting in NYC involves renting a property through another tenant (as opposed to dealing directly with a landlord or management company), it can be a great option for short-term stays while combing the city for a more permanent abode. Even long-term visitors may find it more affordable to sublet a place rather than checking into a pricey hotel for a month. Whether you’re moving to the city or simply enjoying an extended stay, here’s what you should know about subletting in NYC.
Sublets must be for a minimum of 30 days.
Although some New Yorkers were listing their apartments as weekend rentals during the initial Air BnB craze, keep in mind that, legally, all sublets and short-term rentals must be for a minimum of 30 days. The one loophole: If the tenant is also living in the apartment while you’re there – let’s say they have a spare bedroom that you can sublet – then there’s no minimum.
Prices can be finicky.
When it comes to pricing, sublets in NYC are all over the place. It’s illegal for a tenant to charge more than a month’s rent to someone who is subletting an apartment, but occasionally, they may drop the price slightly if demand isn’t high enough. If a subletting term is for longer than a year, however, the landlord may also raise the rent price.
Beware of illegal sublets.
Unfortunately, the NYC real estate world is riddled with online scams and shady tenants. Beware of illegal sublets (the last thing you need is a sudden eviction), and make sure you only respond to reputable listings. Be especially careful of Craigslist.
Look in the right places.
Facebook groups can be an excellent place to find temporary housing in NYC, and those groups are often frequented by real estate agents who can point you in the right direction. Student housing boards are also a wonderful untapped resource – especially if you’re looking to sublet during the summer or winter. Columbia University, The New School and NYU are three boards worth reaching out to. And no, you don’t have to be a student to sublet!
Read through your sublease carefully.
When signing a sublease, be sure to read through the details carefully, as it will let you know what rights you do and don’t have while renting. Like with any apartment rental, your landlord will still be obligated to make sure the heat and hot water are working, as well as appliances – even if your name isn’t on the lease itself.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Protect yourself from any unexpected surprises by asking as many questions as possible during the subletting process. Will the apartment be furnished or unfurnished? Do you have to bring your own towels and bedding? How are the bills handled? Most discrepancies happen when there’s a lack of communication from either a renter or tenant, and you really can’t be too careful.
Additionally, if the sublet has another roommate already living there, ask if there’s a reason why the other tenant is subletting his or her room. It’s New York City and you never know what kind of crazy roommate situation you may come across.
Have you had any experience subletting in NYC? Tell us about it in the comments below!