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5 things every tenant should ask landlords before moving in

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2021 | Landlord-tenant Law |

If you are getting ready to move into a new apartment, you probably have a lot to think about. Where are you going to live? How much will it cost? When will you be able to move in?

While you have these and many other questions to answer, don’t forget to have your potential landlord answer some questions, as well. Five especially important questions to ask before moving into an apartment in New York City include:

  1. What are the rent requirements? Ask about rent requirements. Be sure you know if the apartment is rent-stabilized, rent-controlled or unregulated. You should also inquire about the security deposit. Landlords may not request more than one month’s security except in very limited cases.
  2. Have there been any pest infestations or other hazardous conditions in the last year? Landlords must disclose to potential tenants if there have been any bed bug infestations in the unit in the last year. They must also disclose the presence of lead-based paint, flooding or whether previous tenants used the apartment as a methamphetamine lab.
  3. Who is responsible for paying for repairs and what is the policy on renovations? If your stove, heater, toilet or something else in the apartment breaks, be sure you know who is responsible for repairs and the cost of repairs and whether alterations of any kind are permitted. Sometimes the landlord requires tenants to pay for certain repairs and renovations.
  4. What’s the best way to contact you? You should know how to contact your landlord in a variety of scenarios, from getting locked out or questions about utilities to an emergency in the middle of the night. You should have phone numbers, emails and hours of availability.
  5. Can I get that in writing? Whether it’s your lease agreement, building rules or proof of the apartment’s condition upon moving in, it is crucial to get information like this in writing. If your landlord makes promises or specific allowances for you, send an email or request a letter documenting any special circumstances. Read your lease carefully and if possible have it reviewed by a tenant attorney.  Be sure to keep a copy.

The answers to many of these questions should appear in your lease. However, that doesn’t always happen. And you can avoid tenant-landlord disputes, miscommunication or surprising terms by asking the landlord these and other pressing questions before signing anything.

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