Tips for Room Sharing in NYC
In many markets across the US, vacancy rates are extremely low, rental properties are in high demand, and rental rates are on the rise. This is certainly no different for New York City. Recent trends indicate that many potential renters prefer to search for a room to rent rather than lease a property on their own.
Apartment or room sharing is often less expensive than renting your own property as it offers a way of sharing the monthly rent payment, utilities, and other housing expenses. It also offers the opportunity to live in a better property or area than you would otherwise be able to afford alone. In addition to the cost factor, sharing can also be a great way to live. The social benefits of sharing can be a real advantage – especially for people new an area or who have not yet managed to establish social ties.
Room Share Search
The first step is to narrow down the areas and communities you would like to live. Begin reviewing listings/advertisements/postings that meet your needs and budget. If any are to your liking, contact the person who placed the ad to find out more about the property and to schedule an appointment/interview. At this point, you will typically be asked to provide a brief description and profile of yourself. Too much detail or personal information is not necessary; however, providing limited profile details may result in very few responses, so meeting a balance is advisable.
As with all adverts on the internet, please be mindful that, unfortunately, not all will be genuine. Some websites may take care to vet all subscribers to ensure they are legitimate, but do not take this for granted.
Following are some helpful tips when conducting your search:
- Be vigilant as there are a lot of apartment sharing scams (fake profiles)
- Make sure to meet all the tenants who will be residing at the dwelling with you, so you know who you are going to be living with
- Don’t offer to pay a deposit or partial rent payment without first meeting with the landlord, and seeing a signed contract or proof on where the deposit is going (where applicable)
- Never pay out any money without seeing the property first
Finding Potential Roommates
When choosing somewhere to live, you need to make sure that you could potentially get along with your new roommates. Be mindful that this is a type of interview and act accordingly. Of course, it is your opportunity to see the room and determine its suitability, but it is also an opportunity for your potential roommate to see if you are someone they would like to live with. Therefore, it is important to make a good impression.
During property viewings, try to get a sense of their personalities by the things they own, their interests, hobbies, etc. Also ask them questions about themselves and make yourself seem approachable. Whatever you do, don’t commit to moving into a room share until you feel comfortable that your potential roommate is a good match with similar living habits.
Following are some useful questions to ask:
- How long have you (potential roommate) lived here?
- Why has the room become available?
- How are the bills split and what do they cover or include and when are they due?
- Do I have to pay a security deposit?
- What is the notice period if I want to leave?
- Do you have a good relationship with the Landlord?
- Is the landlord responsive when things break or need replacing?
- Is there a lead tenant?
- Check that the room can be sublet
- Check to find out if the room is furnished or if you will need to furnish a bed, etc.
- Can you see the space you will be given in the kitchen for food items?
- What times in the morning is the bathroom in use?
- Has there ever been a break in/burglary?
- What happens if you or another flat mate decides to move out?
- Do I have to sign anything?
- Please describe parking options
- How safe is the neighborhood?
Exiting Your Room Share
Providing sufficient written notice to your roommate and landlord is not just a courtesy, it’s a smart practice to ensure a clean “break” of your roommate agreement. Be sure to retain a copy of the written notice that you provide. If you paid a deposit at the beginning of your tenancy, it should be returned to you.
If you are providing notice by mail, you should send the document as “signature required” to ensure the appropriate party receives your notice. You should also ensure that the letter clearly displays your “Date of Notice,” as well as the intended “Date of Departure.” Check to ensure you are following the terms of the lease for giving notice, which is typically 30 days prior to move out.
Because this is a very subjective process, Dwellworks Property Advisors can help identify suitable areas to target, discuss practical matters, and address area-related questions; however, we are not able to act directly on your behalf in the sourcing of sublets or assist in the interview and application process.