It sounds like the name of a third-rate rom-com, but the move-in date is actually one of the most important parts of signing a lease, and probably the single thing that you’ll always be able to negotiate.
Renting in NYC
New York City is a city of renters. As of 2015, 30 year old New Yorkers were four times as likely to rent as they were to own a home; however, Just 99 miles away in Philadelphia, 30 year olds are equally likely to rent as they are to own.
So you find the perfect NYC apartment on Localize.city, maybe it’s your first apartment in New York, maybe you’ve been moving every two years since Ed Koch was mayor, regardless you are happy. This home fits your price range, has all the right amenities, and it’s in the right neighborhood.
You’re already thinking about how to furnish it. But before you start moving in, you need to agree on a date to do so.
If you are really interested in a specific apartment, you can give a deposit upon viewing the unit to make sure the broker takes it off the market and no one else can swoop in and take it from you. That’s a strategic move, and if you can afford it we’d advise to do so.
So after you give the deposit, you still need to submit to a background check and credit check. Often times the broker and landlord ask for several pay stubs, your current bank statement, and a statement from your employer about your salary. If you’re a student, or don’t make much money, you can use a guarantor. There are also now companies that are willing to serve as guarantors, if your parents or family friends don’t make enough to do it themselves.
So before you sign your lease, and really make sure to read the whole thing to know what is going on, you can discuss move-in date. We’d advise you to negotiate your move-in date, since often times it’s the thing the landlord might be most flexible about.
What do you pay at the lease signing?
First month’s rent is due at the lease signing. That’s always a given. You also are often required to pay a security deposit that frequently is the cost of one month’s rent. It’s actually illegal now for a landlord to require more than first month’s rent and security deposit at lease signing.
Previously they could ask for first and last month’s rent, or several months of rent ahead of time. While this is good for most people, if you cannot serve as a guarantor and don’t have a parent or family member with high enough income to be your guarantor, in previous years you could pay several month’s rent up front. You no longer can do that.
If you follow our lead and give a deposit on the apartment when you first see it and like it, then you’ve already paid half of what you need to put down at the lease signing. But it’s also important to know that once you’ve given a deposit, if you back out you don’t get that money back. However, if the landlord and broker for whatever reason go with another prospective tenant, you will get the money back.
Isn’t the move-in date the same day the lease starts?
Move-in date vs. lease start date: your move-in date is not always the same as the start date. Most leases start on the first or 15th of the month. But you can negotiate when the time of when you get the key and start moving in.
Usually you don’t move in the day the previous tenant moves out. Often times the landlord will thoroughly clean an apartment, apply a fresh coat of paint, and fix various small issues from the last tenant before you make this home yours.
That means there is often a month or two weeks that the home is vacant while they make the repairs necessary for it to feel brand new when you move in. That also means there is time when the apartment is empty. You don’t want to move your stuff in when it’s being painted and cleaned. You usually won’t be allowed to.
But if it’s vacant on the 15th, and the paint job is done on the 20th, that leaves 10 days where the apartment is empty. Those are the days that you can negotiate over. If you’re living there, the landlord likely has to shoulder the cost of heat and other things. But if you merely move your stuff in early then it won’t cost them anything.
A reason why they might not want you moving stuff in is because that means they have less time to paint or do repairs, so they probably won’t encourage you to move your furniture in early. That’s what you have to negotiate for. In our experience, some of our team members were able to get their keys and bring stuff to the apartment the weekend before the official move in date. In those days, you can try to schedule the cable company to set up your internet for example.
The landlord frequently will ask you to pay pro-rated rent for these several days if you ask to move-in early and the place is empty. If you stand firm in your negotiation, you might not have to.
What about the keys?
When should you receive the keys to your new apartment? When you ink your name on the lease and can discuss the day you get the key? Almost always the day you get the key is the day you can start moving stuff in. But occasionally they will give you the key and ask that you not move in until later.
When do you start paying?
You start paying for an apartment the day your lease formally starts, and this date should be listed in the lease contract. If you are moving in before your lease starts, you are not paying for the apartment the day you are moving in. In that case, when you do start paying you have a jump start to your new life.
Moving Out Date!
This is something you often don’t negotiate when signing the lease. When you finish living somewhere and are preparing to move, it’s very important to establish when you need all your stuff out by. Usually they want it all out by the end of the month, the final day you are paying. But if there are odd circumstances, like you broke the lease, you really ought to discuss when all your furniture needs to be gone by.
When moving from one apartment to another, if you have the money, consider paying rent for two apartments for the final month, That way, you have a slow and easy move out and you don’t have to do it all in a weekend.