A Guide For Finding ‘For Rent by Owner’ Apartments in NYC

New York City’s rental market is largely operated by real estate brokers. However, if you don’t feel like using a broker to find your next apartment you are not alone. Many people are interested in finding alternative ways to locate vacant apartments that don’t require a real estate agent or broker fees.  This is where apartments that are available to rent by a homeowner become ideal. 

For Rent by Owner

Why Choose a ‘For Rent by Owner’ Apartment?

These apartments offer tenants an opportunity  to secure an apartment directly from the homeowner. There are several perks for doing this. 

  • Lower Rent

When you rent an apartment directly from the homeowner, or landlord, you are likely to get a lower rent price compared to the market rate.  This is because private landlords are not incentivized to mark up rental rates in order to score a profit or commission.  Plus, the average homeowner isn’t privy to market rates and won’t use them to set their own rental rate. 

  • More Room for Negotiation

Working directly with the landlord to rent an apartment provides more room for negotiation when it comes to how much rent you’ll pay each month.  It also allows you an opportunity to ask questions about the property that only the owner can answer.  

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  • No Background Check

Most homeowners who rent their homes directly to tenants don’t conduct the same level of background checks as property managers. They also tend to be more understanding about potential hindrances that could impact someone’s getting an apartment such as a low credit score or a felony conviction. 

  • No Application Fees

Landlords who rent directly to tenants often don’t have time for a lot of extra administrative work like asking for and processing application fees.   Although such fees are often nominal, any money you can save when preparing to move to a new place is a bonus. 

Finding ‘Rent by Owner’ Apartments in NYC

  1. Websites  

Websites like NYRentOwnSell and others feature properties that have been listed by real estate brokers, but you may still find private listings on their sites.  

  1. Social Media

Social media platforms are also a great way to find homeowners who want to lease directly to a tenant. You can leverage social media in your next apartment search by joining local real estate groups and liking pages where landlords publish their vacancies.  A lot of landlords use social media to advertise their rentals because it’s free to do so and there guaranteed to get plenty online traffic. 

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  1. Newspapers

The local newspaper is still a great way to find direct rentals. Landlords who are not interested in listing their apartments with brokers often invest in newspaper spots where they can advertise their vacant unit for weeks at a time. 

  1. Yard Signs

Don’t neglect scouring neighborhoods for yard signs that indicate a place is available for rent by the owner. If you’re on the market for a new apartment when you see a the yard sign, take note of the information and reach out to the landlord to express your interest. 

buy or rent

Avoiding Potential Scams

It can be difficult to differentiate legitimate listings from fake ones.   Here are some tips to ensure the listing is legit: 

  • Be leery of postings that require an upfront cash deposit. Instead, consider listings that request deposits in the from of cashier check or some other banking transactions 
  • Verify the landlord identity with an official government-issued ID card and ensure the information on the ID matches the information they provided in the listing. 
  • Use an online database to confirm that the landlord owns the house. 
  • Don’t rent an apartment sight unseen–make arrangements to visit the apartment first. 
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The Bottom Line

Renting an apartment directly from the landlord has become more popular over the years, largely because they tend to be cheaper than traditional units. It may be challenging to locate these types of apartments, but it’s worth the effort once you find one. 

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