Renting in Westchester

2014-06-08 10.02.25I love to assist people in their home search, whether it is a single family home, luxury property or a simple rental property. In real estate, as in all business ventures, we meet many different kinds of people, all requesting and having special requirements. I must admit though that I have recently come across requests and comments that make me sad.

Let me explain. Firstly, when a home or property owner (landlord) requests that his/her property be listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), there is a fee that is payable to      the real estate company from the property owner for that service.  The real estate company then offers a commission or marketing fee to the cooperating agent who might rent that property. Because of the fees involved to the landlord, invariably, the lease terms are for longer than 6 months, usually 1 year or more. When potential customers inform me that they only need a rental for 3 months or so, I refer them to those rental buildings that can best accommodate their needs. In my case, being located in lower Westchester, those properties might be The Halstead Rental Building in New Rochelle,  or one of the Avalon Rental properties..

I was surprised recently to hear from 2 separate parties that they were going to be more enterprising in  their searches and representation.  One gentleman, who I met and was seemingly very nice, was alarmed to hear of the local rental prices, and after informing me that he had 3 dogs, was selling his home in another state, and upon learning that I could only offer rentals for X amount (too high for him), and for a one year lease minimum, wanted to view the lesser priced rentals. He explained that he only required a rental for 3 months, as he expected to sell his home, and then he would be purchasing an apartment thereafter, and  so he wanted to  rent something – perhaps a studio, and then he would break the lease after a few months, pay the landlord something and move on. I then explained to him that the lease was and is a legal document, and if you break a lease, then depending upon the terms of that lease you would quite possibly be held responsible for the remaining months on that lease, and even the security fee. I then went on to explain that I could not represent him in such a transaction either as I must be honest in whatever I do.

Another potential rental customer had informed me that he had a  10 year old daughter, and therefore required a 2 bedroom apartment. He wanted to rent in a specific town , to see if he liked the area, and then would be moving there if it all worked out. Great! The only problem was that particular area only offered one rental in his price range, and after I showed it to him, he informed me that he would call me the following day with his decision. Well, that call took 3 weeks, and of course that rental was long gone. It was in a wonderful location, and priced well.  He then suggested I show him  one bedroom units which would be lower in price, and his daughter could sleep on the couch.  The only issue there, I explained, is that we have Fair Housing Laws, and buildings usually only allow 2 people per bedroom, or if a one bedroom, there would have to space large enough (like a large L shaped dining room area)  where a second bedroom could be ostensibly devised for their daughter.. If a private home then a simple call could suffice, but if it is a coop building and application fees and a Board interview required, then ostensibly, the potential tenants could be paying those application fees, wait an additional month to hear whether they would be approved or not.. so a good rule of thumb is the 2  people per bedroom rule (unless a baby) …. and  always reading and complying with the Fair Housing Rules and regulations is always good. Homes with septic tanks offer other considerations to number of occupants  but I am basically referring to apartment buildings in this post. He thought the building would not have to know…..  Well, yes!

“Federal Occupancy Limits

Section 503(b) of the Uniform Housing Code sets the minimum size for a dwelling. Each dwelling must have at least one room measuring at least 120 square feet; and all other habitable rooms (excluding kitchens) must be at least 70 square feet. The minimum dwelling size determines the maximum occupancy rate. Two people can occupy a minimum-sized dwelling. For each additional occupant, the minimum must increase by 50 square feet. The Code acknowledges that certain dwellings may be configured to allow a third person to comfortably sleep in non-bedroom space, and that infants and very young children can share their parents’ room. “  – Jayne Thompson – Demand Media

I wish the rental prices were less but the owners must cover their taxes and expenses also, and so they are what they are.. I am here for all of your real estate requirements, and just remember that when you are seeking a rental in Westchester, we usually require the following information: 2 years W 2’s (if available  -foreign visitors might not have this information), copies of recent pay stubs, Credit Report (if applicable – foreign visitors might not have that information but proof of employment might suffice). Having this information on hand will save you time in the process.

Westchester is GREAT!


About Gay E. Rosen

Gay E. Rosen is a Top Realtor in the Larchmont and New Rochelle (Lower Westchester) area. She is diligent, caring, driven and thorough (with a sense of humor).Utilize her expertise. Call her!
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