Renters in the summer are doing everything they can to gain an advantage in the crazy New York City rental market.  Timing is an important piece of a rental, and people constantly ask us: “When is the best time to rent an apartment?”

Unfortunately, the answer is not so black and white.  While 99% of leases in New York City end on the last day of the month, landlords vary as to their policies for putting apartments on the market.  In the summer, apartments can rent just hours after coming onto the market.  So when is the best time to start your search?

In general, we find 2 categories of landlords in the city:

1) Landlords who put their apartments on the market after the previous tenant moves out.

2) Landlords who show the apartment while the previous tenant is still in the apartment, so the previous tenant can move out the last day of the month and the new tenant can move in the first day of the next month.

Why, you might ask, would a landlord wait until the previous tenant moves out and risk having a vacant apartment for a full month?  It turns out that apartments can’t command high rents when the previous tenant looks like this:

NYC Real Estate


In this case, the landlords take 1-2 weeks to renovate and paint the units then put them on the market for immediate availability.  While this may not maximize landlord profit, it prevents any issues with unsupervised brokers entering tenant apartments and allows landlords to show the apartments in the best light.  These apartments come onto the market in the first or second week of the month.

Larger buildings with on-site leasing agents tend to put their apartments on the market before the previous tenant moves out.  These buildings generally require that current tenants give notice 30-60 days ahead of their lease-end date, so these apartments are put on the market anywhere from 3-6 weeks ahead of the move-in date.  The on-site leasing agent will accompany you into the occupied apartment.  The Suitey team prefers to see occupied apartments because it is much easier to visualize spaces when they are furnished (rooms grow with furniture!).

In general, it’s best to start your search about one month ahead of your desired move-in date.  There’s no magic formula to determine when your dream apartment will come onto the market, but the majority of New Yorkers find their rental apartment in the 2-3 weeks leading up to their move.