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How to Find a Month to Month Apartment in New York

June 1, 2022

There are several things to know before moving to New York. For starters, you should know that New York provides endless opportunities to explore all different types of music, food, culture, and the arts. In addition, new York has everything to offer residents as a media hotbed, financial epicenter, and cultural hub.

Since finding a place to live can be challenging, it’s essential to check out some of the best neighborhoods in New York to help narrow down your options. Those looking for month-to-month leases in New York might even have a more challenging time finding exactly what you're looking for since those options tend to be more limited.

Thankfully, we did all the homework, so you don’t have to. If you’re wondering how to find a month-to-month apartment in New York, look no further. Keep reading to learn all you’ll need to know about finding monthly apartments in the Big Apple.

How to Find the Best New York Neighborhood

New York City is filled with countless eclectic neighborhoods that have unique personalities. If you’re looking for some of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, check out our Neighborhood Guide for some assistance. Otherwise, here is a brief overview of some of the most popular areas in this iconic east coast city to help you find the best New York City neighborhood for you.

Lower East Side

If you’re searching for an eclectic NYC neighborhood with tons of history, look no further than the Lower East Side (LES). There are many historical tenement buildings in the neighborhood as this area was a hot spot for European immigrants in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Today, lots of great live music, trendy bars, fantastic nightlife, art galleries, and a thriving Jewish community all call the vibrant neighborhood of the LES home.

With tons of historic builds as far as apartments go, the neighborhood is filled with primarily low and mid-rise walk-ups. LES locals love the location, with Brooklyn just a few subway stops away. In addition, the LES is adjacent to Chinatown, Little Italy, and Soho, making it an excellent place to explore other neighborhoods.

Upper West Side

One of the greenest parts of Manhattan is the Upper West Side.

This neighborhood is bookended by two gorgeous parks: Riverside on the west side and Central Park on the east side. With access to plenty of relaxed restaurants and bars, there are plenty of quiet streets in the neighborhood.

The further north you go, you’ll find many high-rises and townhouses with better rent prices. Still, throughout the entire neighborhood, Brownstones line the streets with plenty of playgrounds and grade schools.

The Lincoln Center (New York City Ballet, The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Performing Arts) and the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park are cultural epicenters that you can find on the Upper West Side.

Upper East Side

Like the Upper West Side, the further north you go in the Upper East Side is a bit more affordable. Here you can find a more reasonably priced apartment or an expensive townhouse, depending on your preference.

Allowing you easy access to some of the park’s best spots, the Upper East Side, also like the Upper West Side, is adjacent to Central Park.

You can quickly head down to Museum Mile, where you’ll find the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum, and the Met. Otherwise, hit the park for a run, bike, stroll, or dog watch.

There are plenty of lounges, pubs, and bars to chill at and upscale shopping on the Upper East Side. But, as far as nightlife goes, there is no club scene here.

East Village

If you’re looking for a lively place with plenty of things to explore, the East Village could be the New York City neighborhood for you. It’s a creative and energetic place with many food and drink spots. In addition, you’ll find tons of fun bars, shops, nightlife, street vendors, and karaoke in the East Village, which is also home to the famous St. Mark’s Place.

Holding true to its original vibe, this quirky, gritty neighborhood has withstood the test of time despite its gentrification. You’ll find students and young professionals alike throughout East Village, home to New York University.

West Village

West Village is a laid-back neighborhood with plenty of coffee shops in New York City. Fall in love with the West Village with its picturesque, tree-lined, cobblestone streets, which give it a European feel. You’ll still find plenty of fun with restaurants, shopping, jazz clubs, piano bars, and cabernets.

How Much Are Month-To-Month Apartments in New York?

Your monthly lease costs in New York will depend on the number of bedrooms and the type of apartment you are looking to rent. Since the more desirable neighborhoods of New York cost more, it might be worthwhile to look into some of the less popular areas of the city for more affordable rent prices.

Wherever you live in New York, anticipate paying more for a month-to-month lease than a traditional 12-month lease. So, if you’re considering moving to a month-to-month apartment, first learn more about the average rent prices in New York City for standard 12-month leases.

How to Find Cheap Month-To-Month Apartments in New York

Despite the rising cost of living throughout the city, finding cheap apartments in New York is possible. It might take a little more work on your end, but finding a cheap month-to-month apartment in the Big Apple is doable. Stick to your budget before you begin apartment hunting by making it your goal to learn more about the cost of living in New York

If the apartment is on an undesirable floor or lacks amenities, you can discuss lowering your month-to-month rent with your landlord. Consider checking the outskirts of your favorite neighborhoods or away from commercial strips.

Finding an apartment you can afford in New York is possible. Be on the lookout for move-in specials, such as no application fee or one month of free rent when hunting for your month-to-month apartment.

Budgeting for your new apartment is a critical step. For more help with budgeting, check our apartment budget checklist. Also, since winters in New York may lead to costly utility bills, look for a month-to-month apartment that includes utilities in the monthly rent.

Lastly, beat out your competition on the best deals by coming prepared to sign a month-to-month lease on your new New York apartment. Anytime you tour a new place, always bring all your documentation and references.

When is the Best Time to Move to an Apartment in New York?

Whether you live in New York or Los Angeles, seasonality in apartment rentals can drastically affect prices. For example, July through September is the peak rental season. As a result, you can expect to find higher rates for anyone looking for a month-to-month apartment in New York in the summer season. The one upside of all this demand is that since more people are moving in the summer, you might find more options available on the market.

On the other hand, the winter season is the best time to rent an apartment. Since fewer people are looking to move from December through February, rent prices are likely to be lowest during the winter.

6 Reasons Why Renters Consider a Month-To-Month Apartments

There are several reasons you might be looking for month-to-month apartments in New York, some of the most popular being:

  • You’re a student and will only live in the area for nine months (Use our college apartment checklist when moving)
  • You’re planning on living with a roommate that can’t commit to a 12-month lease.
  • You’re new to a city and do not know where you want to live yet, so you prefer some flexibility in your living situation while you get settled.
  • You’re planning to buy a home soon.
  • Your work requires you to travel frequently and may unexpectedly ask you to move to new cities.
  • You’re expecting a significant life change in the next few months, like a career move, a child, or marriage.

It’s good to look for a month-to-month rental apartment if you are new to New York or frequently relocate for work. While they may cost more, canceling your lease will be more flexible, usually a 30-days notice.

How to Find a Month-To-Month Apartment in New York

Ready to find a month-to-month apartment in New York? Here's the step-by-step process to finding the right neighborhood.

Determine Your Budget

Before finding an apartment in New York, consider options to help you stick to your budget, including following the 30% rule. According to this rule, your rent should make up 30% or less of your pre-taxed monthly take-home pay or gross income. To calculate this figure based on your annual salary, take your gross yearly salary and divide by 40.

You’ve found a one-bedroom month-to-month apartment in New York for $4,900. Using the 30% rule, your gross income should be at least $16,334 a month or $196,008 a year.

Understand the True Cost of Renting

You can use the 30% rule to keep your apartment hunt in check if your finances are straightforward. However, determining how much apartment you can afford if you have other financial obligations, such as student loan debt, can be more complex.

You’ll also need to budget for apartment expenses that often go unnoticed while searching for an apartment, including:

Analyze your bank statements and credit card bills once you've used the 30% rule as a baseline for your rent. Keep in mind that a few of the financial obligations that could require adjustments to your apartment hunting budget include credit card debt, medical expenses, and student loan payments.

Figuring out all the moving pieces of your finances while apartment hunting isn’t the simplest thing, which is why we want to help. Use our Rent Calculator to help you figure out how much rent you can afford and help you find your dream apartment in New York!

Know What You Want

Outline what you are looking for in your ideal rental situation before starting your search. During this process, make sure you know the answers to the following questions:

Since month-to-month rental apartments in New York can be hard to find, knowing what you want in an apartment is imperative. That way, you can be sure to strike fast! And, always keep an eye out for apartment move-in specials to keep your budget in check.

Browse Apartment Lease Options

Check apartment websites first since most apartments have lease options on their websites. If you find that monthly leases aren't available, check for alternative short-term options, such as 3- or 6-month leases.

Since longer leases make landlords’ lives easier, they often prioritize these rentals. Keep that in mind as you look around, and always make sure the lease terms align with your goals before getting into a sticky situation.

Call the Leasing Office

Don’t be afraid to call different leasing offices to see what type of short-term rental options are available if you can't find month-to-month rentals online. The worst possible scenario is they say no, and you move on to the next.

The best-case scenario, of course, is they say yes, and you find the apartment of your dreams. They may provide you with local options that have apartments available even if they don’t have any month-to-month rentals.

Look for Sublets

You may also consider subletting or subleasing, in which the person on the lease agreement brings a person in their place to cover the monthly rental charges in their absence.

Many renters sublet their apartments short-term if they have to leave the city for a few months. Under these circumstances, renters might be open to month-to-month agreements, given that they are looking for short-term options.

Explain Your Situation to Your Current Landlord

If you find a place you love that doesn’t have a month-to-month lease option available, take time to explain your situation to the landlord. You may be able to negotiate a month-to-month rental apartment if you are completely honest about your case.

You can also prove you are a good tenant and create trust between you and your landlord by explaining your situation upfront and potentially getting what you are looking for.

Applying for Your New York Apartment

It’s finally time to sign a month-to-month lease on your New York apartment! Bring your I.D., documentation, and plenty of references to ensure that you come as prepared as possible.

First-time renters shouldn't worry about a lack of rental history. If you ask in advance, personal references or a lease guarantor may be allowed for the references portion of your application. The best advice is to get familiar with the apartment application process if you're new to renting.

New York's most impressive and least expensive month-to-month apartments will undoubtedly go the fastest. So, come ready to sign the lease before someone else beats you. Another helpful trick for your application fees and potential background checks is to find out which form of payment they accept ahead of time to have that on you ready to go if needed.

Protect Yourself from Rental Scams

Some of the most common rental scams involve bait-and-switch listings and apartments that don't even exist. Sadly, U.S. renters lose upwards of $5.2 million each year on these types of rental scams. Additionally, 30% of renters have lost over $1,000 by paying a security deposit on a false listing.

Be vigilant about rental fraud and scams to avoid a situation that can sour your apartment searching experience. The best way to combat rental scams in New York is by trusting your gut. If an apartment sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam. To help keep yourself protected from scams, ask for recommendations from friends or work with reputable landlords or property managers.

Ready to Rent?

Congratulations on your upcoming move to New York into your month-to-month apartment! New York is an urban epicenter offering residents access to endless entertainment, green space, and world-famous restaurants.

Ready to make your move to New York? Apartment List is here to help.

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Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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