We asked New Yorkers to review their buildings, here are their biggest complaints

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April 10, 2020
localize city real estate blog

Looking for a new apartment in New York City but worried about unexpected downsides? Read reviews from other New Yorkers to learn from their mistakes.

New York City is one of the biggest cities in the United States and is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. It has one of the highest population density in the country of about 28,210 people per square kilometer. 

So how does population affect the ways of life? This high urban density means you’ll be living in closer quarters to your neighbors, whether you like it or not. Also, since New York City is made up of islands and has limited space for new construction, buildings are forced to go up, and a well functioning elevator is a must.

Aside from the NYC real estate, living in the City means you get to be exposed to different cultures, arts, and ways of life. NYC is the definition of a melting pot with about 37% of residents, or over 3 million, being from foreign countries. There are also over 200 languages spoken in the city with half of all New Yorkers speaking a language other than English at home.  

Tenants reviews: NYC edition

With all the potential hidden downfalls to an apartment unit and even the building, it can be difficult to determine if a space is really as it seems. We gathered the top complaints by tenants living in New York City, and spiced it up with the buildings that they actually like. We divided the reviews into eight main categories using all the original reviews from Localize.

Elevator

It can be an annoyance for those living on higher floor apartments when the elevator constantly goes out. Even a worse situation for the elderly and those that are more physically handicapped. According to various reviews, elevators being broken and not fixed for long periods of time are quite common in NYC. 

For instance, one review about a building in Marble Hill mentions that “the elevator is out now for over a month and in the past has been out for months on end. […] It’s very hard for the elderly to walk up and down 6 flights of stairs”.

In another review for a building in Bedford Park we find out that the “elevator is constantly not working. A lot of sick and elderly people living in the building”. In Yorkville, someone writes: “this place is not worth it. The elevator is broken all the time.” Another review from the same building also states that “the elevator is ALWAYS having issues. They are going to repair it for 3+ months so it will be out of service.”

Despite the many complaints about elevators constantly breaking or being down for long periods of time, there are also many buildings in NYC where tenants have no issues and aren’t forced to take the stairs! An example would be this building in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan where the tenant listed the elevators as one of the pros to the building.

the best nyc apartments
612 West 137 Street

Landlord & management

While your apartment unit and building can be perfect in every way, it’s always a disappointment when the landlord or management are unresponsive, rude, or even uncaring about the tenants.

Take for example this review about a building in Soundview: “the management is only concerned with the outer appearance of the buildings.” Or, how this tenant living in a building located in Hunts Point describes the landlord: “the landlord promised certain things and has not kept it!”

Even worse, a review about an apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen says that their “super is a total disrespectful guy cursing calling tenants names including racial comments and hates children. He shut my lights out and my electric stove when my kids make noise.”

Although there are some of these hellish reviews about mean and disinterested management and landlords, there are also plenty of caring and great people managing their apartment buildings and helping their tenants! Here are a few apartments and their positive management reviews:

1026 60 Street Brooklyn, New York, 11219

“Easy going. Normal living. Super is on top of situations. Landlord responds very quickly. Normal plumbing issues fixed quickly. Garbage area always clean and orderly. Inside and outside of building kept orderly. No complaints.”

top complaints about apartments in nyc
1026 60 Street Brooklyn, New York, 11219

350 East 207 Street Bronx, New York, 10467

“I am comfortable. Good heat and hot water. Landlord always takes care of problems. Lived here for over 35 years. I am not going any where.”

1670 Ross Avenue Brooklyn, New York, 11213

“…The custodial staff is cool and our bldg manager is a awesome woman.”

Noise

If you work from home or need a space that’s serene and quiet, there’s nothing like unexpected noise to ruin your living space. Whether that comes from construction, neighbors, or a busy street, it’s no doubt a bummer. Unsurprisingly, many New Yorkers have issues with noise in their apartments and while it may be due to living in close quarters with your neighbors, it is also something that can be prevented or avoided. 

A review about a tenant living in Inwood, Manhattan states that the living space is a “small building with paper thin walls, incredibly noisy and inconsiderate neighbors, and the front door slams so hard you can hear it in your apartment!”

Another New Yorker said that although her Far Rockaway apartment building is on a clean block and in a good neighborhood, it is “very noisy because it is on a main road”. This review is also similar to a tenant living in a building in the Upper East Side, while he says the building is good, there are “horrible construction noises from constant nearby work.”

If noise is something you are sensitive to or if a noisy apartment is a deal-breaker, here are a few apartments perfect for you based on our reviewers:

25 Indian Road Manhattan, New York, 10034

“Very nice neighbors. Have beautiful views of the park and the Hudson River. Very serene. Don’t feel like you live in the city almost.” 

where to live in manhattan
25 Indian Road Manhattan, New York, 10034

3696 Broadway Northbound Roadbed Manhattan, New York, 10031

“The apartments here have amazing light and incredible views. The building is mostly quiet and clean. The neighborhood is safe to walk during the day and at night. Good restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping in walking distance and excellent public transport.”

2260 Burnett Street Brooklyn, New York, 11229

“It’s a really nice place to live. It is kept immaculately clean, quiet neighborhood, very pleasant neighbors, beautiful views.”

419 East 73 Street Manhattan, New York, 10021

“Mostly quiet and well kept. Super is helpful and quick to respond.”

Heat & gas

Heat, gas, and hot water are essentials to every apartment. However, there are many tenants that have complained about their hot water constantly going out or only on for a few hours a day. Some even say their management is not doing anything to fix it! 

A tenant living in Morrisania building says “right now when what will keep us safe is having hot water to disinfect and clean our hands often we are begging for it. We get a couple of hours daily. Heat is also an issue we go days with little or none”. A Flatbush apartment building tenant says, “sometimes there is no heat. The hot water pump needs replacing cause when you are in the shower the water gets colder and colder.” 

Similarly to the first review about having no heat, a review left by a New Yorker living in a Park Slope building says “the heat in the apartment doesn’t work effectively and if it is below 40 outside, the apartment will be freezing cold.” Even worse, “The landlord is not paying his bills no heat or hot water 80% of the time and the building is in foreclosure no repairs” from a tenant living in a High Bridge, Bronx building.

So how do you ensure your new apartment will come with the much needed working water heater? Here are a few listings on Localize that got great reviews exactly for that:350 East 207 Street Bronx, New York, 10467

“I am comfortable. Good heat and hot water. Landlord always takes care of problems. Lived here for over 35 years. I am not going any where.”

617 Matos Way Manhattan, New York, 10032

“Good super, heat and hot water are usually good. […]”

291 Lincoln Place Brooklyn, New York, 11238

“Good landlord. Quick repairs, good heat. Still waiting for the promised elevator though. Lol”

83 Kingston Avenue Brooklyn, New York, 11213

“The landlord & management company is pretty good no major complaints. The maintenance staff is awesome with keeping the building clean. No heat or hot water complaints the whole time I’ve been here which has been 3.5 years. […]”

What would make your next home perfect?
Find it now on Localize ✨

Pests

There’s nothing worse than moving into what you believe is an amazing apartment, only to find some unwanted roommates: pests. Problems with pests in NYC are more common than you could imagine, unfortunately.

Take it from this East New York building tenant: “the building is infested with rats, mice, roaches, water bugs, spiders, etc.. You can hear them running through the walls.” Or even from a tenant who said this about his Soundview, Bronx apartment: “it’s not great, the area has a roach problem, every time a neighbor bombs the apartment of pests they come running to you.”

Another New Yorker living in a Washington Heights building said they “had to buy plug ins that emit a high frequency sound to get rid of them. They are baby roaches. The lobby and hallways have some really big roaches.”

Living with bugs, mice, roaches, and more is definitely a deal breaker and something no one wants to experience! Here are a few listing with a pests free building and/or management that are quick to solve pests problems:

“I Love Living Here The Building Is Well Maintained Clean No Bugs The Neighbors Are Very Nice […]”

450 East 81 Street Manhattan, New York, 10028

“The management is very responsive when it comes to any issues you may be facing from plumbing, to any pests, cleanliness, etc. Super can be unpleasant at times but he does his job. It is a pet and kid friendly building[…]”

Neighbors

While neighbors come and go, it’s still an unpleasant situation living next to rude or inconsiderate people. For instance, a review for a building in Belmont says “the people next door comes out all time of night to smoke their drugs I tell them to take it somewhere else and they tell me they can’t and sit on the stairs and smoke. My wife is sick all the time and the smell comes in my home.” 

On the bright side, there are just as many reviews of tenants who are happy with the people living in their building. Here are just a few:

544 East 13 Street Manhattan, New York, 10009

“Rent stabilized building No frills , but safe and good neighbors.” 

96-11 65 Road Queens, New York, 11374

“My building is from the thirties and you can still knock on your neighbors door and ask for a cup of sugar! I love it here”

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96-11 65 Road Queens, New York, 11374

1250 Ocean Avenue Brooklyn, New York, 11230

“Diverse age ranges, respectful neighbors, attentive super and groundskeeper, hands off landlord.” 

1670 Ross Avenue Brooklyn, New York, 11213

“I love my bldg. My neighbors are more like family. The custodial staff is cool and our bldg manager is a awesome woman. I love my apartment Of course it’s kinda expensive like it is everywhere.”

Building amenities

Many people choose their apartments not just based on the unit itself, but the amenities available in the building. So of course it’s a bummer when you realize that maybe these amenities aren’t as great as they seemed online.

From a building in Yorkville: “[…]The ping pong table is broken, the pool table is not close to level and the “gym” has a mixture of dysfunction cardio machines that seem to break a lot.” or a tenant living in a East Flatbush building: “[…]The amenities are old and need to be modernized. The gym equipment is old but at least it works and you can make do. You can only use the rooftop up until 11 pm at night.”

Here are a few NYC apartments with great amenities:

205 West End Avenue Brooklyn, New York, 11235

“Large co-OP with excellent staff and management. Great amenities. Well-maintained.”

41-21 28 Street Queens, New York, 11101

“Very nice building w/amenities and services. Conveniently close to many trains.”

16 Prince Street Brooklyn, New York, 11201

“[…] Good amenities, timely maintenance repairs, and 24/7 doorman service for packages and fridge storage.”

111 Fulton Street Manhattan, New York, 10038

“FiDi is the most underrated area in manhattan – nice restaurants, easy to get around. The building is in front of many subway stops, amenities are great and people are friendly here! I love it!”

223 North Eighth Street Brooklyn, New York, 11211

“Great building. Friendly staff. Nice amenities. Very sad I have to leave.”

Maintenance

Building maintenance, which includes a clean and updated space, is what many people look for when apartment hunting. It’s a sign that management is on top of maintaining the building to ensure any problems are fixed and the aesthetic is always kept in top shape. However, there are also many seemingly beautiful buildings from the outside, but has an unkempt indoor building space. 

For instance, a review on a Flushing building said “this building is so filthy. They do not clean the staircases, at all. The hallways are cleaned at random. I’ve looked at the same filth for years.” Another tenant said that their Upper West Side building “hallways, steps and elevator are filthy.” There has also been an issue with trash as one Park Slope tenant says “[…] The trash is never taken out so it smells horrible when you leave the main entrance of the building. The management company is completely unresponsive to any issues.”

Here are a few apartments and buildings that have gotten great reviews about their cleanliness, beautiful building, and great management:

71 B’way Manhattan, New York, 10006

“Best building ever – beautiful rooftop, renovating the amenities, amazing people who work here, and a great property management company. I never want to leave!”

637 Broadway Manhattan, New York, 10012

“Great neighborhood. Building is kind of dated but well kept. Nice garden that is planted and maintained by a couple of the ladies who live here. Apartments have a great layout with good storage space. Apartments facing the back are darker but nice and quiet.”

1026 60 Street Brooklyn, New York, 11219

“Easy going. Normal living. Super is on top of situations. Landlord responds very quickly. Normal plumbing issues fixed quickly. Garbage area always clean and orderly. Inside and outside of building kept orderly. No complaints.”

1000 Clove Road Staten Island, New York, 10301

“Clean, well maintained, secure”

152-18 Union Tnpk Queens, New York, 11432

“Awesome place, clean and quiet”

A Flatbush resident said “it is what it is,” but it doesn’t always have to be that way! If you’re looking for the perfect apartment without all these downsides and common complaints, Localize is here to aid you. With our detailed insights on everything from the apartment unit to the building and surrounding neighborhood, you won’t have to do the intensive research yourself. We give you the truth behind every house in New York City.

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