Q: For nine years, my husband and I have rented a market-rate apartment on the Upper West Side. The building recently changed ownership, and during the transition apartments were intentionally left vacant until the new owners took over. Now that new management is running the building, comparable units to ours are renting at much higher rents than what we pay. Our lease comes up for renewal in October and we are concerned about the potential increase we could face. Should we ask the landlord about the renewal terms early, or is it better to wait? How might we approach the conversation?
A: You have reason to be concerned. In June, the median rent in Manhattan was $4,050 a month, up almost 25 percent from the same time a year ago, according to Douglas Elliman. And there is little hope that the conditions will improve by October, when your lease comes up for renewal.
Keyan Sanai, a real estate salesman at Douglas Elliman, adding, “They might hit them with an unfair increase just to get them out.”
Because you’ve lived in your apartment for more than two years, your landlord must give you 90 days of notice if your rent will rise by more than 5 percent or if your lease will not be renewed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for information even earlier.
Write your landlord, asking for information about your lease renewal. Explain that you’re trying to plan out your budget and would like details about the terms of your lease renewal. Simply asking this question shouldn’t change your landlord’s calculations — that decision has likely already been made.
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