Finding the right apartment to rent in New York City can be like trying to find a proverbial needle in a haystack. The rental real estate is in high demand throughout the metro area. While you may be competing with other potential renters for a vacant unit, this is only one of your challenges. You also must find a property that meets your needs in the areas of size, cost, condition, and location. If you believe that you have finally found an apartment that you are excited to move into, ask the landlord a few important questions to shore up your interest.

1. What Services Are Included

Some apartments are leased as all bills paid units, and others require the tenants to pay for all utilities and services. As you might imagine, there is considerable variation in between these two extremes. For example, one landlord may pay for electricity, but you may be required to pay for water. Remember that utilities are only one component that may be included in your rent. Have a good idea of what your rental payment includes before you sign a lease.

2. Who the Utility Providers Are

Before you move in, you need to know which utility providers service the building. This includes water, wastewater, electricity, and gas. It may also include cable and Internet service. To ensure that you can afford these services, you should contact each provider to determine what their rates are and if there is a required up-front deposit. In Manhattan, contact the following providers for service:

For additional info, see this guide to on how to set up NYC utilities.

3. What the Rent Payment Policy Is

Another important question to ask relates to the rent payment policy. It is common for landlords to accept rent payments up to three days past the specified due date in the lease, but you may have to pay a late fee if you exceed this three-day grace period. Other landlords may not have a grace period. The late payment fee may also vary from landlord to landlord. A related factor to consider is the required payment method. Many landlords accept checks or have an online payment system. However, some property owners prefer that you mail a check to them. Ensure that the payment policy and acceptable payment methods are reasonable.

4. Where the Parking Areas Are

If you are one of the many New Yorkers who own a vehicle, you understandably need to know where the parking areas are. Even if you do not have a vehicle yourself, you may get visitors from time to time who need to park close to your apartment. Many apartments do not have a dedicated parking area, and you may have to pay a fee to rent a parking space. This should be included in your budget as a rental cost.

It is best to ask a landlord these questions before you decide to rent the apartment and sign the lease. However, even if you have already signed a lease, asking these questions now is better than never asking them. You can also refer back to the terms of your lease for clarification on some factors that you may have questions about.

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