The Ultimate Guide To Renting In NYC: 26 Apartments, 13 Hot Tips

So your lease is up in June? Welcome to the club: the lunch-break-apartment-hunting, Google-Street-View-ing, StreetEasy-bookmarking, income-divided-by-40-calculating club. Yes, this is by far the busiest, most competitive, and most expensive time of year to rent an apartment in New York City. And we know it’s totally daunting. 
After all, this is a city where a dishwasher is considered a luxury amenity and a sixth-floor walk-up is worth considering, given its proximity to an express train. But, it’s also a city where taking that express train just a few extra stops can land you in an up-and-coming neighborhood with spacious, chic, and affordable homes. And where, if you’re able and willing to pay for it, you can have white-glove concierge service at your door, any hour of the day, sending out and picking up your dry cleaning, or refrigerating your FreshDirect deliveries while you’re stuck working late. In short, this city can be pretty great. The trick is finding a place to house your bed, your clothing, and occasionally, yourself — that doesn’t completely suck.
Diamonds in the rough exist, of course. But getting in the door usually requires a bit of luck and someone in the know to ensure your rental application rises to the top of a very tall pile. Here, we break down the basics for how to make that happen. Click through to check out some of the city’s latest and greatest apartments for rent, and to hear tips of the trade from veteran leasing brokers who were kind enough to offer up their secrets. 
5 Great Studios In Manhattan
Central Harlem
2461 Eighth Avenue (between West 131st and West 132nd streets), $1,395.
This newly renovated alcove studio is easily converted into a one-bedroom, and costs less than what many New Yorkers blithely pony up each month for closet-like bedrooms in the Village (with multiple roommates, no less). While the location might be slightly off the beaten path for some Midtown-lovers, it’s actually four blocks from the 135th Street stop on the B and C trains — which is just a 20-minute ride to Times Square. The building is also pet-friendly, and there’s a dog park nearby.
Upper East Side
455 East 86th Street (The Channel Club) (between 1st and York avenues), $2,000.
No pets allowed at this luxury condo building, but you’ll have amazing views of the East River from your high-floor studio to keep you company instead. The 458-square-foot space has large windows, a full kitchen, and marble bathroom. Meanwhile, the building offers every amenity you could possibly want, including a concierge, health club, and pool.
Murray Hill
110 East 36th Street (between Park and Lexington avenues), $2,400. 
This 500-square-foot corner studio between Second and Third avenues faces the building’s internal courtyard to the south, so it’s both sunny and quiet. It’s got a dishwasher and a renovated kitchen, and there’s laundry in the basement. There’s no broker's fee, but the apartment is a co-op, so you’ll have to submit a co-op package and get approved by the building in order to move in. No pets or guarantors are allowed, either.
Battery Park City
225 Rector Place (by Albany Street), $2,795.
The first commandment of shopping for New York City real estate? Know thy priorities. And if storage space is at the top of your list, this spacious studio might be for you. With no fewer than five closets, plus a large sleeping alcove (which makes for an easy, one-bedroom-conversion project), rest assured that each of your 45-plus pairs of shoes can have their own home here. The full-service condo building also has a rooftop terrace, pool, and fitness center.
Midtown West
330 West 39th Street (Crystal Green) (between Eighth and Ninth avenues), $2,949.
Pricey though it is, you’ll rent directly from the landlord and at least avoid a broker's fee for this lovely and ultra-convenient apartment, blocks from Times Square’s many transportation options and Hell’s Kitchen’s plethora of trendy restaurants. There are four closets, new stainless-steel appliances, and washer/dryer in the unit, and the building, known as Crystal Green, is all-over luxury, with a fitness club, billiard room, 24-hour garage, and dry-cleaning valet services.
Photos: Courtesy of Rubicon Property, Elliman Real Estate, Pietro Lembo Real Estate, Platinum Properties, Glenwood.
3 Great Studios In Brooklyn
34 Berry Street (between N 11th and N 12th streets), $2,495.
This is luxury Williamsburg living at its best, in a building overlooking the ever-popular McCarren Park — a six-minute walk from the L train’s Bedford Avenue stop. The unit itself has a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and central air, while the building has a gym, concierge, and roof deck. Pets are allowed, and there’s parking and extra storage available. There’s also no broker's fee; you’d rent directly from the building’s leasing office. 
Carroll Gardens
57 Fourth Place (between Clinton and Court streets), $1,800.
This is a two-room studio in a brownstone in which you’d be the only tenant — a unique perk that light sleepers and work-at-home types will definitely appreciate. But perhaps most appealing about this place is the private front courtyard (Carroll Gardens is famous for these) for gardening, hosting barbecues or even just buffering your front door a bit more from pedestrian traffic.
Boerum Hill
307 Atlantic Avenue (The Atlantic Stamp Building, at Smith Street), $2,375. 
This sleek, newly constructed studio stands on the site of a former rubber stamp factory, the building’s namesake. It also happens to stand at the intersection of four of Brooklyn’s most desirable — and convenient — neighborhoods (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Downtown Brooklyn), providing easy access to almost every subway line. Meanwhile, the unit’s finishes are top-notch, with Italian cabinetry, oak floors, stainless-steel appliances, and porcelain tile in the kitchen and bathroom.
Photos: Courtesy of LCOR, Brooklyn Heights Real Estate, Travis Dubrueil.
4 Great One Bedrooms In Manhattan
Hudson Heights
100 Overlook Terrace (at W 190th Street), $1,675.
This one-bedroom may be further uptown than you knew you could go without leaving the borough (it’s north of the George Washington Bridge), but it’s also just a five-minute walk to the A express train, which gets you to Midtown in 24 minutes. Plus, it’s blocks away from the gorgeous Fort Tryon Park, home of The Cloisters museum. The elevator building has a 24-hour doorman and laundry, but does not allow dogs. You’d be subletting from a co-op owner, which requires board approval.
Midtown East
224 East 48th Street (between 2nd and 3rd avenues), $2,515.
This prewar abode is on a tree-lined street in Midtown’s Turtle Bay, with easy access to just about everything in Manhattan. The building doesn’t allow pets, but has laundry and a live-in super, and the price is hard to beat for the neighborhood.
South Street Seaport 254 Front Street (near Pearl Street), $2,745.
This gorgeous one-bedroom is located in a brand-new, amenity-rich building in lower Manhattan’s historic, quaint, but inexplicably under-the-radar South Street Seaport neighborhood. The apartment has views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as high-end finishes, while the building has a doorman, laundry room, fitness center, and common roof deck with incredible views to while away the summer months. The best part: There’s no broker's fee, and the landlord is currently offering one month’s free rent.
Greenwich Village 
450 Sixth Avenue (The Villager) (between West 10th and West 11th streets), $6,295.
This sleek, loft-style one-bedroom — plus a home office and fireplace — is located in a landmark prewar commercial building that was later converted into luxury apartments. Pets are allowed, and there’s a concierge and laundry in the building. There’s no broker's fee.
Photos: Courtesy of Simone Song Properties LLC, Platinum Properties, The Heller Organization, Manhattan Skyline.
5 Great One-Bedrooms In Brooklyn
358 Grove Street (between Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues), $1,650.
This one-bedroom apartment is located in a four-year-old Bushwick condo building, which allows pets and is located just one block from the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue stop on the L train. The unit boasts a partial city view, hardwood floors, and granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. For an extra $100 per month, you could have your own parking spot at the building as well.
Fort Greene 
306 Gold Street (Oro) (between Johnson and Tillary streets), $2,550.
This 768-square-foot apartment in a luxury condo building has northern exposures and a large open kitchen with high-end appliances. There’s also a washer/dryer in the unit and beautiful Brazilian Cherry floors throughout. The amenity-rich building, called Oro, has a full-time doorman and concierge, as well as a pool gym, basketball and racquetball court, screening room, and lounge. But in case that’s not enough to keep you there 24/7, there are ten major subway lines within easy walking distance.
Crown Heights
542 St. Marks Avenue (between Classon and Franklin avenues), $2,600. 
This generously-sized, one-bedroom duplex is an appealing option in the up-and-coming Crown Heights neighborhood. The apartment has a private deck and a vestibule area off the bedroom that could work well as a home office. Pets are allowed, there’s a dishwasher and central air, and there’s no broker's fee.
202 Eighth Street (between 3rd and 4th avenues), $3,050.
This one-bedroom apartment sits at the edge of Gowanus that borders Park Slope, a part of town that’s starting to see an influx of trendy new restaurants, bars, and residences like this one. The building is steps from the F, G, and R trains, and has a gym, doorman, concierge, and common roof deck. There’s no broker's fee to move in, and pets are allowed. 
Brooklyn Heights
75 Clinton Street (at Rivington Street), $3,799.
This 800-square-foot one-bedroom apartment is in one of the few luxury rental buildings in the charming and super-convenient Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. It has a private balcony, washer/dryer and eat-in kitchen, while the building has a fitness room, doorman, and furnished roof deck with panoramic views of New York Harbor. Five major subway lines (R, 2, 3, 4, 5) are within two blocks of your door.
Photos: Courtesy of Travis Dubrueil, Elliman Real Estate, E and G Realty Group
5 Great Two Bedrooms In Manhattan
Washington Heights
336 Fort Washington Avenue (between W 174th and W 175th streets), $2,500.
This two-bedroom, one-bedroom apartment has been fully renovated with new bamboo floors, modern fixtures and granite countertops. The elevator building is across the street from Jay Park and steps from the 175th Street stop on the A express train —perfect for Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center students and staff, or for anyone looking for a deal within short commuting distance of Midtown.
Morningside Heights
515 West 122nd Street (by Amsterdam Avenue), $2,600.
This two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is on the fourth floor of an elevator building that has laundry in the basement and is located smack dab between Riverside and Morningside parks. The unit itself was recently renovated — with new stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher and new hardwood floors — and the bedrooms are roughly equal in size (a rare and desirable advantage, as anyone who’s ever looked for places with a roommate in tow well knows). Pets are allowed, and there’s a live-in super.
Financial District
88 Greenwich Street (Greenwich Club) (between Washington Street and Trinity Place), $3,000. 
This is technically a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, but it’s easily flexed into a two-bedroom with the construction of a temporary wall — a great option for roommates looking for luxury-style living at a lower cost (there’s also no broker's fee on this place). The unit has a walk-in closet, top-of-the-line finishes, and views of the new One World Trade Center tower, and the building contains a gym and yoga facility, laundry on every floor, a DVD library, billiards lounge, and landscaped roof deck. 
122 Elizabeth Street (between Broome and Grand streets), $4,250. 
Luxury in Little Italy. This modern, two-bedroom, two-bathroom pad has high-end finishes, hardwood floors, and a private balcony overlooking Elizabeth Street. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and an en-suite bathroom. Pets are allowed, but require building approval.
Upper East Side
1214 Fifth Avenue (between East 102nd and East 103rd streets), $7,795.
There’s no broker's fee on this two-bedroom, two-bathroom ultra-luxe corner apartment, with incredible views of Central Park to the south and west. But at this price point, it’s hard to imagine that making or breaking a deal. The building, which is LEED-certified, is situated along the Upper East Side’s prestigious Museum Mile, at 102nd Street. It offers 24-hour valet parking, an indoor pool, and a fitness center, among other amenities, as well as top-of-the-line, all-new appliances in the apartments themselves.
Photos: Courtesy of E and G Realty Group, Stonecrest Realty, Bouklis Group, Elliman Real Estate, The Related Companies.
4 Great Two-Bedrooms In Brooklyn
298 Halsey Street (between Throop and Tompkins avenues), $2,000.
This charming two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment features exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and two fireplaces. It’s on the second floor of a walk-up brownstone building a few blocks from the Kingston-Throop stop on the C train, and each bedroom is large enough to fit at least a queen-size bed.
Fort Greene
306 Carlton Avenue (between Dekalb and Lafayette avenues), $2,675.
This is a two-bedroom, one-bedroom apartment in a beautiful brownstone building near the southeastern corner of Fort Greene Park, just a few blocks from the C train at Lafayette Avenue, and a short walk to Atlantic Terminal. The apartment has tons of charming details, from decorative mantles to double-pane windows. The second bedroom is located off the master bedroom, though, so this place is probably better suited to couples or small families than to roommates who might want more privacy. No pets and no smokers.
Prospect Heights
25 Eastern Parkway (at Underhill Avenue), $3,000.
“Location, location, location” definitely applies to this classic, prewar, two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, which sits at the very beginning of Brooklyn’s famed Eastern Parkway. You’re steps from Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Botanic Gardens, while the shops and restaurants of Prospect Heights (to the north), Crown Heights (to the east), and Park Slope (to the west) are all within easy walking distance. It’s also in an elevator building, and has an eat-in kitchen and dishwasher. 
Clinton Hill
125 Lexington Avenue (between Classon and Franklin avenues), $2,995. 
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex is in a newly-constructed building and has high ceilings, a ton of space, and a balcony. There are also oak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and central air in the unit. As with many new developments, there’s no broker's fee. Pets are allowed. The G train at Classon Avenue is the closest subway, four blocks away.
Photos: Courtesy of Sapphire Property Group, Brown Harris Stevens, Citpy Apt Group LLC, Nevo Realty Corp.
7 Things To Know When You’re Looking For The Apartment Of Your Dreams
1. If price is your number-one concern, hold out until the winter to hunt for better deals. But if you’re going to be picky, bite the bullet and shop around in the spring, when there’s a better selection. 
“Most leases are strategized to end [in the late spring] because landlords know it’s the busiest time of the year and probably the most expensive,” says Mark Menendez, executive vice president and director of rentals at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “If an apartment comes available in June as opposed to November, the difference [in price] could be as much as 10 percent. The dichotomy is that… there could also be as much as a 50 percent [increase] in available inventory.” 
2. For the most part, brokers all have access to the same apartments. 
“You’re not doing yourself any favors by making multiple appointments,” says Julia Bryzgalina, director of sales and leasing at the Wall Street branch of Platinum Properties. “If an agent knows you’re only working with them, they’ll treat you like royalty. People think agents only have access to their own exclusives, but that’s not the case.” 
3. Fact: The New York City rental market isn’t very pet-friendly.
According to Menendez, only about 20 percent of New York City’s available rentals at any given time will allow dogs, and if your dog is above 20 pounds or an aggressive breed, your options will be few and far between. 
4. Just because one of your must-haves isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be.
 “A lot of times you just need to ask the question,” says Alex Saltalmalacchia, director of leasing at brokerage For example, if you’re looking for a two-bedroom, a one-bedroom-plus-home-office, or even a large one-bedroom that allows you to put up a temporary wall might suffice. “Ask, ‘Is there something [in the building] that isn’t a two-bedroom that might still work for us?’”
5. Better deals are almost always found a few subway stops past where the beaten path ends.
“There’s a large community out there that no longer wants to be the first stop on the L train,” Saltalamacchia says of Bushwick’s growing popularity. “They want to be further out there, and they’re getting much, much better deals.”
6. Renting from a condo or co-op owner (as opposed to a landlord in a rental building) can either be awesome or awful. Know what you’re getting yourself into.
Apartments in co-ops and condos typically have nicer finishes and the buildings are often better-maintained, Bryzgalina says. In addition, you might see more room for negotiation here, because individual owners tend to be more motivated than large landlords. However, in order to move in, you’ll have to submit a board package, the cost of which depends on the building, but could be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars, she says. The fee is non-refundable even if you get rejected, and the process could take up to a month and a half. 
7. New developments may be offering freebies, even in a tight market.
Brand-new rental buildings are a good bet if you’ve got your heart set on a no-fee apartment, Saltalamacchia advises, and sometimes landlords will offer rent concessions in these buildings, even during the busiest times of the year. “In order to get the absorption rates high, they’ll offer that one month’s [free rent] concession to get folks in the door,” he says.
But when it comes to concessions, beware of a major rent hike in year two. Often, Bryzgalia says, landlords won’t allow you to amortize that free month over the entire lease length, so when the renewal comes around it’ll go up by a percentage of the original listed rent, not the net-effective rent.
6 Things To Know Once You’ve Found The Apartment Of Your Dreams
1. Treat it like a job interview.
“Sometimes landlords will look at how organized the person is, rather than how qualified they are,” Menendez says. Prove to the landlord that you’ll be a great person to do business with by walking in the door prepared, with your employment-verification letter, your tax returns from the last two years (the first two pages of each are fine), your three most recent bank statements, and a copy of a legal photo ID. It’s also a good idea to know your credit score, he advises. 
2. You don’t have the luxury to mull over your decision.
 Apartments don’t really last on the market for more than a day or two at this time of year, brokers say, and one of the biggest mistakes renters make is thinking they have time — even a couple of hours — to make up their mind. “One of the biggest mistakes is not understanding urgency in New York City,” Saltalmalacchia says. “You may have to make a decision right there on the spot. You may not have time to go and talk it over with your roommate or your boyfriend or girlfriend.”
3. Go above and beyond what’s being asked.
According to Bryzgalina, if you want your rental application to stand out, don’t just provide the minimum amount of paperwork required. “Show as much money as you can in the bank…show all investments, savings bonds,” she says. Also, “make sure you warn you employer that your landlord may be calling to verify so that their phone call will not get ignored,” she cautions. Sometimes, if a landlord doesn’t get a response from your employer within a couple of days, they’ll move onto the next application.
4. Negotiate for extra time, not for less money.
According to Menendez, most property owners are looking to show the highest possible rents on their balance sheets. So instead of asking for a break on the monthly rate, he suggests asking for a half-a-month free at the end of the lease. But be careful not to over-negotiate and risk losing the apartment, especially during the busy spring season. “In this market, with so much activity and competition, it’s important to know what your limits are,” he says. Brokers say a landlord may be more willing to negotiate if an apartment has been on the market for a couple weeks or longer, or if the apartment is vacant.
5. For the first time since grade school, handwriting counts.
It sounds silly, but Menendez says many people just scribble stuff down on their rental application to be efficient and may not even fill it out completely. The few applications that are written neatly and legibly, with each field filled out, quickly rise to the top of a stack of applications.
6. Avoid taking your current landlord to court, if at all possible. “The worst thing you could have on your credit check is a landlord-tenant court history. They never want to see that. It’s almost always a rejection off the bat,” Bryzgalina says. “If you do have one… you may be better off applying for condos or sublets by owner. There, you only need to prove your case to one person who may be more amenable to your situation.”

More from Home