September 2, 2011 what’s the matter with New York?
Why is NYC different?
Before I came to NYC to look for a place, I knew that getting an apartment there would be a hassle- but not for the reasons I expected.
New York is notorious for its high cost of housing. But I’m actually not paying much more for rent than I did in Washington six years ago ($1350 or so there, $1600 here- allowing for inflation, no real change- and here, I have a bigger apartment, albeit in a less centrally located neighborhood).
The difference between New York and Washington is the “hassle factor.” Getting an apartment in Washington is like getting an apartment in Anywhere, U.S.A.- you write a check for rent and a check for security deposit, the landlord spends a day or two on a credit check, and you’re in.
By contrast, in New York, writing a check is just the beginning of the process. Often you have to pay a broker’s fee. Even if you don’t, you have to go through much more scrutiny. I’m renting in a co-op (which is something like a New York version of a condo). I had to fill out a 30-page form (including a financial statement), pay stubs from my last job, a letter from my employer in my new job, bank statements from all my banks, and tax returns for the past two years. Why is New York different?