Things could get dark in my sun-starved one-bedroom piso interior in Madrid, a type of apartment with windows facing a roofless, enclosed tile patio. My girlfriend and I were teachers in the Spanish city when she got news that a visa to teach her native French would bring her to work in Manhattan for the next year.
Moving to New York for the first time, I knew we could count on seeing more of the sun than we did in my 375 square feet in the shade, but there were a number of great things about my living situation that I had come to take for granted after two years in the Iberian capital.
Thanks to tenant-friendly housing laws and what is perhaps the more easy going and liberal culture of Spain, Madrid is something of a renter's paradise, where landlords can be counted on for regular and responsible maintenance and much more. That's a world apart from NYC, where daily calls to landlords to fix the toilet seem like mandatory conditions of the rental contract. New York City's building owners could learn a lot from their matches across the ocean. Here are a few examples.
It seems like a surprising decision, but then, the couple wasn't exactly squatting: Frieda and Howard Dropkin had "only" paid $90,000 of $103,000 worth of maintenance payments since 2012, as the New York Law Journal first reported, and were also behind on electric bills they were required by their proprietary lease to pay.
Whether you're scratching your head over renovation issues, wondering what you can get for your budget, grappling with what the law says, or seeking solutions on any part of the buying, selling, renting or renovating process, drop us a line and we'll try to get you real answers from real experts. You can also send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.
No one wants to live in the middle of a dusty, noisy construction zone, but then, no one who's shelling out for a renovation is dying to drop extra cash relocating while the work gets done, either. Another dilemma to add to the mix? While staying home for a reno gives you a chance to keep an eye on your contractor, some construction experts say the work will go much faster (and save you money) if crews aren't trying to tip toe around a family that's still in residence.
Three bedrooms (perfect for a growing family with grandparents who can’t stay away)? Check. Two full baths (so the adults don’t have to share with the kids)? Check. Great closet space (to hide the high chairs and Exersaucers now and the sports equipment and afterschool-activity paraphernalia later)? Check. A washer/dryer (perhaps the most coveted amenity for a family)? Check and check.
New York City apartments, especially old-school prewars, don't always have enough outlets in every room. So what's an overloaded outlet or two, right? While it's tempting, and so much easier, to set up a haphazard wiring situation, it's best not to get chancy with decisions that could, potentially, burn down your apartment (or your neighbor's).
Here's what you can probably get away with when it comes to power (over)use, and how to know when you're using too much.
Inwood one-bedroom with energy-efficient appliances and in-unit laundry in building with elevator, courtyard, storage space, and virtual doorman, $2,196/month + 8.3% broker's fee
If you're on the hunt for a new place and don't want to shell out a month's worth of rent as a broker's fee, scope out the listings at Naked Apartments to see a variety of no-fee and low-fee apartments with broker’s fees that top out at 9 percent (versus the typical 12 to 15 percent). We've rounded up current options in all five boroughs and in a variety of price ranges, and you can also search Naked Apartments by “no-fee” or “low-fee” to see more.
Your landlord is obligated to paint your apartment every three years, but what happens if they don't?
Over the past few months, we've noticed a pattern: a lot of people have questions about the paint jobs (or lack thereof) in their rentals—if they have to do it, or the landlord does, and what the ramifications are if nobody takes care of it. So to all of the paint-befuddled, here goes.
If you're renting to strangers—which is only legal if they stay for 30 days or longer, or if you live in the place at the same time—keep in mind these tips from two frequent Airbnb guests to make them feel at home.
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