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10 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor When Renting in New York City
10 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor When Renting in New York City

Searching for an apartment in New York City can be as thrilling as it is overwhelming. With its diverse neighborhoods, the city offers an exciting and unique living experience. However, to navigate the market effectively, it’s crucial to be armed with the right questions. Whether you’re a seasoned New Yorker or new to the city, asking informed questions can make the difference between finding just another place to live or discovering your perfect home. Here are 10 questions you should ask your realtor when renting in New York City inspired by expert advice from real estate resources.

1. What Utilities Are Included in the Rent? 

Utilities like water, electricity, and gas can significantly impact your monthly expenses. In some buildings, certain utilities might be included in the rent, while others are not. It’s important to ask about this to avoid unexpected costs. For instance, some Manhattan landlords include heat and hot water, but not electric and gas. 

2. What are the Noise Levels in the area?

The tranquility of your new home is crucial. Check for potential noise nuisances from nightlife, traffic, or construction. Visiting the neighborhood at different times, especially at night, can give you a better idea of the noise levels you might encounter. 

3. What Is the Total Monthly Rent and Are There Any Additional Fees? 

Clarify the monthly rent and inquire about any hidden fees or additional payments. This could include late fees, application fees, or other costs not immediately apparent. Confirming these details upfront helps in budgeting accurately and avoiding surprises later on.

4. What Are the Lease Terms and Renewal Options? 

Understanding the lease terms is critical. Discuss the lease duration, renewal options, notices required for vacating, and move-in dates. It’s important to review these details with the landlord to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about the rental agreement. 

5. How Is Apartment and Building Maintenance Handled? 

Knowing how maintenance requests are handled, especially in emergencies, is vital. Ask about the process for reporting issues and the typical response time. This information will help you understand how well the building is managed and what to expect if something needs fixing.

6. What Is the Pet Policy and Are There Any Restrictions? 

For pet owners, it’s essential to understand the building’s pet policy. This includes restrictions on breeds, sizes, and the number of pets allowed. Also, inquire about any additional fees or deposits required for pet owners. 

7. Will Rent Increases Occur and Is the Apartment Rent Stabilized? 

Discuss potential rent increases and ask if the apartment is rent-stabilized. Rent-stabilized apartments have regulated rent increases, which can offer some protection against unexpected rent hikes. It’s also wise to inquire about any planned improvements to the building that might affect your rent.

8. What Are the Safety and Security Measures in the Building and Neighborhood? 

Assess the building’s security measures and get a feel for the neighborhood’s safety. Ask about the presence of security personnel, surveillance systems, and the general safety of the area, especially at night.

9. What Are the Policies on Guests and Subletting? 

Clarify policies regarding guests and subletting. Some buildings have strict rules about long-term guests or adding roommates. Understanding these policies is important if you plan to have frequent visitors or need the flexibility to sublet.

10. Does the apartment feature temperature control options?  

10 Things You Should Ask Your Realtor When Renting in New York City

Photo: Kelvin Cozy

When viewing apartments, especially those with radiator heating, inquire about the type of temperature control systems in place. A key feature to look out for is Kelvin’s Cozy – a smart solution for radiator-heated buildings.

The Cozy is an insulated radiator cover designed to distribute heat more efficiently, preventing overheating and energy waste common in older buildings. It allows residents to control the temperature of each room individually, ensuring comfort throughout your apartment. Asking your realtor or property manager if the Cozy is installed can be a game-changer in terms comfort and control.


In your search for the perfect New York City apartment, the right questions can be your best bet to finding your dream apartment. By asking these detailed questions, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision, ensuring that your new home meets all your expectations. Remember, it’s the details that define your living experience, so don’t hesitate to ask, clarify, and understand every aspect of your potential new home. Happy apartment hunting!