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Manhattanites are fleeing apartments in droves as rental prices creep up, according to Citi Habitats’ latest report. Rents averaged $3,461 in August, while vacancy rates edged 1 per cent higher than a year earlier, at 1.19 per cent. Compare that to 2010 when the rate was 0.88 per cent, and 1.62 per cent in 2009.
Given how flat the sales market has been, Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, tells Bloomberg News the vacancy trend may actually bode well for renters on the hunt for good deals.
To help readers cash in, we asked Teri Rogers, real estate expert and founder of Brick Underground, how to tip the scales in their favour this season.
Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Landlords won’t just hand over the keys to the cheap rent kingdom to anyone, says Rogers. So never give off the impression that “you’re overly sensitive to sound or other environmental disturbances,” as this will make them more reluctant to work with you.
Treat negotiations like a job interview. In other words, dress neatly. “It makes a good first impression, shows respect and conveys that you’re a serious person who will treat the apartment with care,” Rogers says.
Choose your battles. In any tight rental market, you want to make sure your expectations line up with the price point, Rogers says, not to mention all the other potential renters waiting to snatch it up. So if the place needs some repairs and minor touch-ups, don’t make it an issue.
Get organised. “It’s not only a testament to your basic competency as a person, but with so much on the line, small landlords in particular want a complete dossier on you—everything from your Social Security number to a letter of recommendation from your prior landlord,” says Rogers. Get it together and your landlord will be impressed.
Suggest a non-standard length lease. This is a big one and can work in both the tenant and landlord’s favour, says Rogers. By signing a lease that ends in peak rental season, you’ll have an easier time finding roommates, “and the landlord can rent quickly and for more money.”
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