So You’ve Decided to Rent Out Your Home — Now What?

So, you’re a new landlord. Before diving into heaps of helpful information, a congratulation is in order. You’ve set off on a challenging, rewarding, and revenue-filled journey! There’s never been a better time to try out the scene, either, with record-high renters —and rates— entering Brooklyn in 2022.

We’ve compiled some tips to set you off on the right foot:

#1: Triple-Check Your Apartment Renting Rules

No matter what kind of building you live in, there are likely a number of rules you’ll need to follow when you allow someone else to live in your space. Your building board may deny tenants, prices, or lease lengths you choose. They might have rules on the reasons behind the sublet. 

Here are some snippets of information that can give you an idea of the limitations for now:

  • Condos & 1-4 family homes are the “easiest” housing type to rent out, though they have rules like with fire doors and pet approval.
  • Co-ops often need to be reviewed by a board (if they let you sublet at all).
  • Rent-regulated properties might not allow typical sublets, either.

To find out everything you need to know, read through your lease and talk to your board (if you have one) with any questions you may have throughout the process. But do be prepared – renting in NYC has a lot of fine print.

#2: Study Up on Local Laws

There are several laws you’ll need to follow and fully understand when you start to rent out your space. For example, in Brooklyn, a security deposit can’t cost more than one month’s rent.

Some other local laws include:

  • Tenants always have the right to an inspection, as well as a pre-move walk through.
  • Security deposit charges at move-out time need to be documented in an itemized list.
  • The unit must come with all appliances and systems in working condition, as well as security features —like smoke detectors, door guards, and window guards (or an attestation from the tenant saying they don’t want them)— in place.

For a comprehensive resource on landlord and tenant laws in New York, check out our Landlord Guide.

#3: Insurance is Important

Not only does your living space need to be insured, but your policy also needs updating to reflect its use as a rental space. Keep in mind also that this policy is for you and your building. Your tenant should still have renter’s insurance to protect themselves and their belongings (hint: you can even require this of tenants, if you wish).

#4: Pick the Right Price

Pricing out your rental is very tricky. Price it too high, and you won’t get enough traffic and a smaller pool of applicants; price it too low, and you’ll be flooded with tenants that might not fit what you’re looking for. 

This is why we advise you to work with a real estate agent (like us!) to develop a price in line with the market & in line with the type of tenant you are looking to attract. As an added bonus, they’ll be a huge help in marketing, tenant screening, and more throughout the process.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • You can’t charge more than your current rate if you live in a rent-regulated apartment.
  • Prices may lower in the winter months — consider starting the lease in the spring or summer if you can.
  • Charging too much off the bat can make it harder to find the right tenant.

#5: Choose Tenants with Care

We’ve all heard the horror stories of terrible renters. Be sure to do some digging before letting a stranger live in your space. 

Consider performing:

  • Background checks
  • Credit checks
  • Reference phone calls
  • Letter requests from past landlords with a follow up call 
  • Google them/do online research

There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re first starting off as a landlord – but the work you put in will pay off before you know it. For a full list of resources for your new journey, check out this post from Brick Underground

And, as always, get in touch if you have any questions, or if you’re looking for some support. Being a landlord in NYC takes a lot of patience and willingness to read the fine print – lucky for you we have plenty of experience.

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