Mythbusters: Misconceptions of the NYC Rental Market

The rental market in New York City is like no other. While the city’s high property values and unique rental process are often the topic of much speculation, there’s a lot of misinformation out there.


With that in mind, it’s time to set the record straight. Below are four of the biggest misconceptions about the NYC rental market. Keep reading to learn the truth behind each one of these common myths. 

Myth #1: Summer is the best time to find an apartment.

While it’s true that warmer weather brings an influx of available apartments to the city - thanks, in part, to a flood of students heading home for the summer - you’re also going to pay a premium for moving during peak rental season. A study by RentHop found that rents tend to increase by an average of 5.4% during June and July. If sticking to your budget is your biggest concern, consider moving in December instead, when rents tend to be at their lowest. 

Myth #2: You should start looking right before you need to move.

There’s no denying that the rental market in NYC moves fast, but that doesn’t mean you can wait until the last second to worry about finding a new place to live. If you do, you run the risk of having your moving time frame not match up with the lease terms available. According to Brick Underground, landlords tend to start posting listings 30-60 days in advance of an anticipated move-in date, meaning that you should start your search within two months of when you plan to move.

Myth #3: If you don’t work with a broker, you won't have to pay a broker fee.

Many New Yorkers try to save money on their apartment search by going without a broker because they think it will save them from having to pay a broker fee. More often than not, however, you’ll still be responsible for paying the fee (equal to one month’s rent or 12% - 15% of the annual rent) to the listing agent. 

That said, if you work with a broker of your own, you’ll generally end up paying the same amount. In that case, the fee will be split between both agents in what’s known as “co-brokering”. With that in mind, it’s in your best interest to hire a broker so you can have someone on your side during your apartment search.

Myth #4: You can get your paperwork together after you find the perfect place.

When you’re buying a house, the first step is often finding a place that you can see yourself calling home. After that, it’s a matter of pulling together the paperwork to submit an offer. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for rentals. Since the rental market moves so fast in NYC, it’s best to go into showings with all your necessary documents - pay stubs, letter of employment, and bank statements - ready to go. That way, when you find the perfect place, you can start the application process right away.