Frazzled and confused before signing the lease to your home in New York City? Check our guide to make lease signing in NYC, for a stress-free process!

For a first-time renter, the entire process of finding an apartment, finding roommates, and signing a lease can seem wildly intimidating. After the many changes rentals in New York witnessed in the past year, processes like renting a new apartment can seem doubly confusing.

Moving into a new apartment in New York is an incredibly exciting prospect. But none of us want to find ourselves in a situation where we regret signing the lease altogether. That being said, here’s everything you need to know before lease signing in New York City.

What is a New York Lease Agreement?

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A lease agreement is just a contract between a landlord and a tenant/renter that says how much should be paid monthly for rent and for how long. It’s a piece of paper that explains what you and your landlord have agreed upon.

Though it may seem intimidating due to the legal language used, but all you need is a basic understanding of what is it and you’re good to go!

How is a lease different from a rental agreement?

While there isn’t a strict legal difference, in some instances, a rental agreement or a periodic tenancy may refer to a short-term rental contract. This term can be used in many contexts, but its most common usage is for month-to-month tenancy.

A lease agreement, on the other hand, allows the renter to lease a property for a set term, usually six months or over.

What does a lease contain?

Any straightforward lease agreement will include:

  1. The terms of your rental stay. This includes your time of stay, rent amount, and additional fees you may incur. This section will also contain the requirements you need in order to stay in the house, legally.
  2. Rules and Regulations. Some basic rules include matters involving home maintenance, guest subletting, and pet guidelines. Not following these rules may lead to eviction.
  3. Legal notices. This section will include the legal terms that exist between you, your house, and the landlord. Renters’ rights, advise on lead paint, etc.
  4. Parking paperwork. If your lease includes an assigned parking spot, you may be asked to fill out a form identifying your car.

Types of New York Lease Agreements

There are several types of lease agreements and you should know which one you need to properly manage your living situation.

  • Standard Residential Lease Agreement: This is the regular lease agreement between a landlord and a tenant for a residential space.
  • Month-to-Month Lease Agreement: From its name, this type of lease doesn’t have an end date. It renews every month until it’s terminated by either landlord or tenant with a month’s notice.
  • Rent/Lease-to-Own Agreement: This rental contract means the tenant will eventually own the property over a period of time.
  • Roommate Agreement: A legal document that states all agreed rules and responsibilities of the co-tenants.
  • Sublease Agreement: This document is used by a tenant to rent their place to a subtenant during a specified period.

What’s a Lease Signing?

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Once you know what a lease is, the next step is the lease signing. It’s not anything grand, but it’s the process with a formal contract where you officially agree to rent an apartment. This agreement seals the deal between the tenant and the landlord, or representative of the landlord. This process can take place both in person or online.

1. What to expect during a lease signing:

A lease signing will take place after you receive the approval of your application to rent an apartment in New York. Some renters are asked to appear physically and show a guarantee of funds during the lease signing. Others are asked to sign and pay remotely or electronically.

Just remember that before signing anything, you should know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

2. When to expect a lease signing:

A lease signing happens after the renter receives their approval based on their credit report and their financial qualifications. The schedule for this is based on whether the landlord decides to approve your application.

3. What to bring with you during a lease signing:

Lease signing day will be nothing if not a day filled with paperwork. The New York City government requires all potential renters to carry the following documents to lease signing appointments:

  • Proof of employment: Some of the most widely accepted documents for proof of employment in New York City include:
    1. Past two months of pay stubs (or bank statements)
    2. Offer of employment letter (for new hires)
    3. Income tax returns (for self-employed renters)
  • Photo identification: As required with any major financial undertaking, your lease signing appointment will also require you to bring along a photo ID. This would also mean carrying identification documents of any other people sharing the lease with you.
  • Letters of reference: While not mandatory, there are certain communities and property agents that require the submission of a reference letter before they lease out an apartment. These letters need to be signed and dated by the person writing them.
  • Proof of renters’ insurance: Renters’ insurance is meant to protect the renters’ belongings in the face of a natural disaster, burglary, or any other kind of damage. This is also a document that’s requested by many housing societies and dental agencies. Your landlord will let you know beforehand if this document’s required.
  • Cheque-book, money order, or any other mode of payment. If you haven’t already paid your first month’s rent/security, this would be the day to do it. Based on your landlord’s preference, you can bring along a mode of payment to your lease appointment.
  • Vehicle documents/registration: Apartments in big cities, with limited parking spaces, usually assign a marked parking space to the tenants. So, expect your landlord to ask for your vehicle registration if you’re renting an apartment in New York in one of those buildings.
  • Ask your landlord about any else that might be required. This one’s really important. A simple email or text confirming the details of your appointment can save you the trouble of having an entire day wasted over a piece of paper you forgot to carry!

4. Who to bring with you during a lease signing:

During a lease signing, usually only the landlord and tenant is involved. However, there are two more people you could bring with you during the process:

  • Your Guarantor: Yes, if your lease has mentioned a guarantor. A guarantor is a cosigner – so their signatures must also be present on the lease. Your guarantor not being present at the lease signing appointment could pose a problem, so re-schedule if need be. This of course is only applicable for in-person signing appointments.
  • Your Lawyer: While it’s not necessary to bring along an attorney to a lease signing in New York, some people prefer doing so. It’s frankly just a matter of preference. If you’re not comfortable signing a document without having an attorney look over it, take your lawyer along for the lease signing. If your lawyer can’t be at the venue, you can certainly request your landlord to send a copy of the lease to your lawyer.

5. Who gets a copy of the lease?

Ideally, everyone who signed the lease agreement should get a copy of the contract. Tenants should always keep the copies safe, in case they’re required for reference in the future.

This is also important because some property managers charge the tenant extra to get another copy of the lease.

New York Lease Agreements: Finding an Apartment!

Understanding New York lease agreements for 2024 is crucial for both landlords and tenants. By staying informed about the latest regulations and requirements, you can ensure a smooth and successful leasing process. But before all of this, it’s necessary to find an apartment in New York to actually sign a lease in, and Roomi can help you out with that.

Source: Roomi

Roomi is a tool for finding affordable rooms or residential spaces and a roommate-matching application with user-friendly features. It’s complete with a vast selection of filters to narrow down your search. From only showing ID verified listings, to age, gender, budget, layout, type of property, number of bedrooms, and popular amenities, to lifestyle preferences.

Source: Roomi

More than that, Roomi takes its users’ safety and privacy seriously with regular background checks by Garbo™, ID verification, and an in-app messaging feature. The app protects its user’s data by using GlobalID, a digital identity platform that keeps information encrypted and verifies your identity at the same time.

To stay ahead of the game and sign your next New York lease agreement, sign up for Roomi today. Don’t miss out on this valuable resource!

Sign Your Next New York Lease Agreement with Roomi.