Renter’s guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are a first-time renter or have had your fair share of experience finding a rental in NYC, you may have some questions. If this list misses a question you have, reach out to a SPiRALNY agent.

Standard Requirements

What is the cost of SPiRALNY broker fee?

SPiRALNY does not charge for information provided by the website, nor do we charge for viewing apartments or rental properties through our brokers. Clients pay a broker’s fee ONLY if they rent a property through SPiRALNY. If the property is a NO FEE apartment, you will not incur brokers fee.

  • Unfurnished apartments: With a 1-2 year lease, SPiRALNY usually charges 15% of annual rent.
  • Furnished/Short Term rental fees: Please call or email for our discount pricing.

When should a perspective renter begin an apartment or property rental search?

Potential renters should begin their search 4-6 weeks prior to an anticipated moving date. Apartments are not usually ready more than 6 weeks ahead of a lease starting date.

What are Rent Stabilized apartments?

Rent stabilized buildings and/or apartments are buildings whose rent is regulated by the City of New York and State of New York. Rent increases are only about 2-4% annually. Once a renter secures a rent stabilized apartment, they have a right to renew a lease agreement indefinitely. A lot of brownstones, townhouses with more than 4 units and older tenement/elevator buildings in NYC fall into this category. These types of buildings are owned and operated by small to medium size landlords/management companies.

Why should I work with SPiRALNY to find a rental?

Prospective renters seek out SPiRALNY service for two reasons:

First, our clients want to find the best deals coupled with the most value they can afford. They understand SPiRALNY agents will save them considerable money in the long run. They understand that we offer a variety of services, covering all aspects of their property search. Our clients understand that even though they might be able to find ‘No Fee’ apartments, our brokers work extremely hard to negotiate the lowest possible monthly-rent payments. This amounts to long term savings that renters who don’t use SPiRALNYn probably would not get.

Second, our clients want to save the time and energy that gets wasted when trying to find and close on a property in NYC’s dynamic real estate market. The process can be very frustrating without much result. Our clients come to us in order to utilize the guidance, knowledge and experience of our licensed brokers. Our management team brings over 50 years of combined NYC real estate excellence to the table. Our clients benefit by saving money, time, and effort.

What does ‘No Fee’ mean?

A lot of the apartments prospective renters see listed as ‘No Fee’ via the internet or advertised in newspapers actually use a flat fee agency. Prospective renters cannot get information about these properties without first paying a flat fee to these agencies. The fee is supposed to give the renter access to the agency’s database. Fees can range from $50-$250, even though these agencies are not legally allowed to charge more than $15 for their services. Very few agency subscribers rent their apartments this way. A lot of these agencies provide almost no support service to clients. They have little or no staff and they operate basically as internet-information agencies. Therefore they cannot possibly provide the expertise of a licensed broker. Be wary of information obtained in this manner as the information tends to be unreliable and outdated.

Is it possible to find a ‘No Fee’ apartment?

Sometimes landlords/management companies or brokers offer rental properties or apartments for ‘No fee’ (meaning no broker fees or rental application fees). These ‘deals’ tend toward being some of the most expensive apartments on the market. Most ‘No Fee’ apartments are found in high-rise, doorman buildings or newly constructed buildings. Generally ‘No fees’ are offered because of the sheer size of a building. These apartments are priced fairly and not great deals but they are not bad ones either.

Sometimes SPiRALNY represents certain landlords/management companies or buildings that offer ‘No Fee’ apartments. These tend to be in luxury/doorman buildings and are priced at $2000 per month and up. In this instance the fees are paid by the landlord/management company. In this case, SPiRALNY passes on the savings to clients and provides all our services to you free of charge. Not all ‘No fee’ properties are found in doorman buildings. Sometimes landlords/management companies of elevator or walk up buildings will advertise apartments as ‘No Fee’ on the web or in newspapers. Generally these apartments are not good deals because landlords avoid additional costs and charge the tenant higher monthly payments. Fairly priced properties with a broker’s fee would probably cost LESS money than a ‘No Fee’ apartment in an elevator or walk up building.

Does having a pet make it more difficult to find an apartment?

Having a dog narrows the selection of properties down to 15% of what is currently available on the market. Cats tend not to be as much of a problem. Clients tell your broker about pets to save time and money.

What other types of apartment buildings are there in NYC?

There are rental buildings, co-ops, and condo buildings.

  • Rental buildings: Usually full service, modern, doorman buildings; rents are generally high but are at market level. Annual rent increases might be considerable, depending on market conditions. These buildings are managed by big corporations trying to maximize profit. Century 21 Metropolitan has access to these listings as well as more affordable more economically priced rental properties. We have access to most of the rental listings in the New York City Area.
  • Co-op and condo buildings: These are also usually full service buildings. Units are owned by individual owners who are not very familiar with market conditions. It is possible to get good deals in co-ops or a condo building. The drawback is that new tenants might have to meet with the co-op or condo board. This process can take over a month and requires the applicant to undergo rigorous screening. Many co-ops do not allow lease renewals. This means more apartment hunting after the first term of your lease.