Big Apple Differences: 5 Ways the NYC Rental Market is Unique

November 24, 2018

New York City is primarily a renter’s city. Meaning, up to 60% of residents are renting out properties. As one of the world’s most densely populated cities, countless people call the area home. In New York, tenants and brokers have very specific needs. Here are five important differences in the NYC rental market. Keep these in mind as a landlord or developer investing in real estate.


1. Micro-living

Properties in New York City have limited space, it’s a well-known fact. Generally, renters stay in studios, lofts, and tiny apartments. Therefore, tenants and brokers prioritize specific criteria when looking for an NYC rental:

  • A prime location with close proximity to transportation, work, nightlife, family, friends.
  • Interior space with natural light, high ceilings, storage space, and nice furnishings.
  • Essential amenities. For instance, laundry, A/C, Wi-Fi, appliances, and facilities.

Landlords should focus on clever decor and design tricks to optimize space and increase property value. Remember that natural light is an asset. It is often enhanced in NYC rental properties with the use of glass and other reflective decor materials. In the tight-quarters of Manhattan, storage space is crucial. That’s why multitasking furniture with hidden storage space is ideal.


2. Prime location

brownstone apartment buildings on a street in new york city

Square footage in NYC is always in high-demand. The city is one of the top five most expensive rental cities in the country. The location of a property often dictates rental value. For instance, Tribeca, SoHo, and Chelsea yield the highest rents in Manhattan. When searching for a property, tenants are first influenced by location. Therefore, landlords should learn the neighborhood. This allows you to accurately reflect market value.


3. Agent-driven market

In the fast-pasted NYC rental market, finding a great apartment can be challenging. High demand and low occupancy rates mean available properties are just briefly on the market. Tenants and property owners often employ property brokers or agents to guide them through the process. Licensed brokers have localized expert knowledge. Also, they have access to limited, specialized listings.


4. Types of tenants

Being a hub for business and culture, NYC attracts every type of tenant. The city is home to everyone from business executives to creative freelancers. One common factor they all share is the demanding rental application process. Prospective tenants must provide a letter of employment status. Also, pay stubs, tax returns, credit checks, and references.

High rental values require tenants to make an income of 40 times the monthly rent or provide a guarantor to cover 80 times monthly rent. A smart way to streamline this process and select quality tenants is a comprehensive tenant screening. Partnering with a local property manager is another option. At Blueground, we take care of the tenant screening process for you. We prioritize business professionals and people looking for a turnkey living solution.


5. Property maintenance & pest control

As a landlord or property owner, be aware of all of your responsibilities. Specifically, those for property maintenance and pest control. Maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of your property is crucial. Seasonal weather in NYC means landlords need to take adequate measures. For instance, a snow removal process should be set in place.

Landlords must provide plumbing facilities that are in good working order. Any leaks should be promptly fixed because moist areas quickly attract mold or pests. Your drains should certainly be cleaned regularly.

someone wearing dark paints and red gloves and a red jacket is standing in the snow uses a red plastic shovel to move the snow out of the walkway

Equipment for handling ice and snow removal should be provided for tenants at your property. For example, snow shovels and ice scrapers. The lease agreement outlines who is responsible for ice and snow removal. Removing snow and ice from exterior areas of your property is a key issue. The New York City Department of Sanitation fines people for areas where it isn’t removed.

Summer and winter months produce lots of roaches and rodents. Naturally, NYC landlords need to undertake basic measures to deter pests. For instance, maintaining the garbage and recycling storage areas. The most effective trash cans are hard plastic or metal containers with tight-fitted lids. Tenants are responsible for their own trash. For landlords, property inspections are required regularly. Mainly, they are necessary to check for any small holes or cracks that pests might enter from. As part of annual property maintenance, seals can be made with caulking or weather-stripping. In a congested city like New York, there is tons of pollution. Therefore, decorating with plants can help purify the air in your rental property. They help maintain a fresh, environmental feeling.



Understanding the differences in the NYC rental market enables you to raise the value of your investment. You can capitalize on the rental value of owning a property in a prime location by showcasing your property according to the key criteria tenants look for. Screening and selecting high-quality tenants from the large pool of NYC renters will result in a good rental return. Managing property in New York City is a 24/7 commitment. Keeping on top of your property maintenance will avoid costly repairs or common infestations.

At Blueground we rent out high-quality properties in the most sought-after areas of New York. Are you interested in the benefits of renting your property with us? Get in touch! We will be happy to assist you with every property management need.

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