How much is it worth not having to sign a lease?

In some ways, I’m looking forward to being 45. Like, in the way that I’ll have probably lived in the same house for the past 10 years and my friends will all be settled as well. We won’t have to spend Sunday afternoons pouring over craigslist and debating the best ways to comb through listings. I know we’ll probably have different mundane tasks – maybe taking kids shoe shopping – but I’ll take mundane over another stressful apartment hunt any day.

This friend, lets call her N, knows that she wants to leave New York in February but her current lease is up September 1. She doesn’t like her apt and wants to move. So, the most prudent choice would be to get either a month-to-month lease or a sublet. But, of course it’s not that easy. Most of the options without a lease have non-existent landlords (she just came from a similar situation) or higher rent or some other catch. And even those options are harder to find than normal 1-year leases. Her main gripe is that she’s trying to make the responsible choice — yet finds that to be difficult.

One place she looked at was a month-to-month on the Upper West side for less than $850. Care to guess what the catch was? Yeah, it resembled an apt from the tv show, “Help! I’m a hoarder.” Apparently there were newspapers and magazines covering every surface (couch included) and a layer of grime over the entire kitchen. Antiques and bicycles wheels were also everywhere.

Another place she looked at actually had a different rent depending on whether or not she signed the lease!

How much are the benefits of a no-lease situation worth to her? I don’t know — but she has a week left to decide (she’s going out of town for two weeks.) What I do know is that this is a city in continual transit. Subletters reign. Personally, I’d sign the lease, get a better apartment, and worry about finding a subletter later. It worked out well in the past for me. But, in the end, I can only advise. The choice is ultimately up to her — and is coming up fast.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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