FINDING AN APARTMENT DURING COVID-19

FINDING AN APARTMENT DURING COVID-19

FINDING AN APARTMENT DURING COVID-19

It looks as though social distancing will no longer be the new norm, but the way that we will now be living our lives. It was only 2 months ago that we had never heard of PPE, unless we worked in healthcare or unless you were a scientist, flattening the curve was about weigh loss. Mostly about flattening our stomachs. So here we are all settled at home wondering how to move forward. (Source: NAA)

But what about the folks who were thinking about moving or who were in the middle of a relocation? Any sort of housing transition is stressful enough without having to deal with a national health crisis. But during social distancing it could be additionally stressful.  Take heart, there are many technologies that can help us lease an apartment while keeping you and your apartment community staff safe.

There are many digital advertising sources that you can access from the safety of your living room or kitchen. You can search by typing the word “apartments” into any browser. This will give you a very broad search. After you feel comfortable with user experience with an Internet Listing Service provider, narrow your search by location, price, floorplan size, schools and amenities. Or you use a “long tail search”. For example, a “two-bedroom apartment in Richmond, Virginia with a pool”. This may be more time efficient than a more generic search such as “apartments”. It will provide a short and more refined list of apartment communities that fir those criteria.

Another new aspect to think about during physical and social distancing, is the systems that the community uses to communicate with their residents after you move in. Can you pay your rent on-line? How do they let you know about any community events or repairs? Many communities use Call Assist 24/7. It’s a way that you can send a video or photo of your emergency service request to the on-call maintenance technician.  This will keep you informed via text throughout every step of the process. You will even get a photo of the technician coming out late at night. How cool is that!

Most listings have virtual tours of generic units or their furnished model. Seeing a furnished apartment is always a good way to get a feel for what the space may look like with your own furnishings. (Source: Realtor.com) Many leasing agents are happy to use zoom, skype and Facetime to show you the actual unit that is available if it is currently vacant. Ask the agent to walk through the community as well so you may see the location of your apartment home. Is it close to the pool or does it have a view that you like? Google maps is a great resource for information on shopping, parks and interstates. If you are moving locally, go drive through the apartment community at different times of day to see where the sun sets or where the bark park is located. So there a lot of great resources to help you navigate through finding the perfect new apartment home during Covid-19. Be safe and have fun!

Published at Thu, 23 Apr 2020 12:40:08 +0000

Home Spa Basics: How to Pamper Yourself Without Leaving the House

Home Spa Basics: How to Pamper Yourself Without Leaving the House

If there’s one thing we could all use right about now, it’s a good rest — and nothing says relaxation more than a spa session. However, with your next trip to the spa postponed until further notice, why not take matters into your own hands?

A little pampering session can do wonders — not only for your body, but also for your mind’s wellbeing, with stress relief being the ultimate goal. The good news is that you don’t need to book a session at an expensive resort. Instead, you can transform your comfy apartment into a personal self-care sanctuary. Whether you’re thinking of a long, warm bath or a quick face mask to take the edge off, we have just the tips to create the perfect spa ambiance — within the comfort and safety of your own home.

So, get your cucumber slices ready and let’s start with the basics:

1. Make Room

Set aside a specific area in your home for your pampering ritual. The easiest space to convert into a relaxation pod is the bathroom because it already has many of your spa essentials, such as warm water and fluffy towels. Or, maybe you’re a stay-in-bed type of person who likes to slap on a 30-minute face mask and a cooling eye pack while taking a power nap. If so, then the bedroom is the perfect space to take your mind off things and focus on yourself.

2. Set the Mood

If you’ve ever been to a spa, you know that certain stimuli are a must. In particular, scent and sound play a crucial role in setting the relaxed vibe you desire.

To begin, stock up on your favorite fragrances in the form of oils, candles, reed diffusers, sprays and anything in between. Then, pay attention to how you react to certain smells. As a general rule, choose lavender or ylang-ylang for their calming properties, or eucalyptus, mint or citrus for a boost of energy.

Then, select the right background noise. You don’t have to have meditation music and Tibetan singing bowls if that’s not your thing. Whatever sounds are calming to you are the right ones to use. That could mean a soothing acoustic mix, your favorite Top 40 playlist or even white noise.

3. Pick Pampering Products

Oils, cremes, masks, serums, bath salts, lotions, essences, bath bombs, body scrubs and calming pillow sprays — just to name a few — are part of any spa’s arsenal. However, you don’t have to go overboard with products — you won’t be able to use them all before their expiration dates, anyway. Rather, just make sure you have the basics, and keep in mind that hydration is the foundation of a good spa session. If you’re not sure where to begin, simply focus on a nice aromatherapy bath and lotion quickly afterward. Take a peek at Aura Cacia for some inspiration for your next bath.

Now, get your fluffy robe and let’s find out more about what makes an at-home spa session:

1. A Nice Bath

A good soak is essential to wash away the day and clear your mind. But, there are different types of baths you can take for the true spa experience at home:

Entire-body baths ease muscle tightness. Go beyond bubble baths and use bath salts, flower petals, essential oils or Rocky Mountain Soap bath bombs for a more colorful and relaxing session.

Lower-body baths stimulate circulation due to the temperature difference in your dry, upper body and your lower body that’s soaked in hot water.

Soaking your feet fights accumulated tiredness. Pair it with a nice foot massager from Homedics and you’ve got yourself the perfect remedy for swollen feet and painful soles at the end of a long day.

Steam baths offer a sauna experience you can easily recreate. Use either the steam setting on your shower or turn the water on the highest temperature to fill your bathroom with steam. Then, breathe in, close your eyes and empty your mind.

2. A Good Scrub

Scrubbing removes dead skin cells and leaves your skin fresh and ready to absorb the nutrients that follow in the next products in your routine. This means that, after a good prep with a scrub, skincare products like toners, serums and face oils will be more likely to work properly and benefit your skin.

Similarly, if you’re planning a full-body scrub, check your pantry because ground coffee and brown sugar are your best allies. Follow with a hydrating body lotion and feel the weariness leave your body.

3. A Soothing Mask

Masks are a staple of any spa trip. Whether you’re a fan of full-body packs or a trusty mud mask, chances are that you already know about the benefits of masks — as opposed to just lathering a product and going about your day. Certain ingredients take longer to activate, which is why you need to give them a few minutes.

In particular, face masks complement a good skin routine and help prevent breaking, blemishes and dullness. Plus, it’s easy to make your own with all-natural ingredients or choose your favorite from the endless supply currently on the market.

But, your skin isn’t the only thing that can benefit from masks. Your hair often reacts to how stressed and tired you are, too. As a result, you might find yourself needing to fight breakage and dehydration. Depending on your hair’s needs, give yourself a good scalp massage, put on a DIY or store-bought hair mask and let it work its magic while you relax.

4. Some Well-Deserved Sleep

It’s not news that sleep comes easier after a warm bath. But, what you may not know is that a self-care routine can continue even while you’re asleep. Creating a soothing ambiance is as crucial to a successful spa session as it is for a good night’s sleep.

So, turn to fragrances that are known to help people drift off and incorporate them into your sleep routine by spraying them onto your pillow. Alternatively, you could also invest in an oil diffuser like the ones from Vitruvi and use essential oils designed to comfort you and put you into sleep mode, such as lavender or chamomile.

Having a beauty routine is great for your skin. Plus, with everything going right now, having a routine of any kind is something you can control. However, a spa session is more than just sticking to your regular beauty routine as the focus is more on your mental wellbeing. So, keep in mind that the products you use are less important than remembering to breathe, clearing your mind and patting yourself on the back because you conquered yet another day.

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Published at Fri, 31 Jul 2020 07:00:28 +0000

June Sets Record For Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment, Breaking Previous Record Set in May

June Sets Record For Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment, Breaking Previous Record Set in May

Originally posted on July 13, 2020 10:00 am

Updated on July 21, 2020 9:15 am

In May we reported a record spike in new NYC sublet listings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on RentHop’s apartment listing data running through the end of June, we can now confirm that June’s total sublet listings broke the previous record set one month prior in May.

This sudden spike in sublet listings may be considered early evidence the city is witnessing an outflow of residents to the suburbs or other metropolitan areas, likely as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased ability to work from home.

In this report, we’ll analyze the recent uptrend in new sublet listings on RentHop and highlight their outsized distribution in wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan1.

Sublet Listings Break Records, again, in June

As previously reported, the total sublet listings in May 2020 increased a whopping 110% as compared to the total sublet listings of the previous month (April 2020). This was the greatest acceleration in new sublet listings we have ever recorded on RentHop. While May was a record-setting month, June 2020 saw 3% more sublet listings than May 2020, and 114% more sublet listings than the average for the first four months of 2020.

This enormous uptick cannot be explained by seasonality. June 2019 saw a mere 0.3% increase in total sublet listings as compared to the average for the first four months of 2019. Even controlling for seasonality, June 2020 stands as the greatest single month of new sublet listings ever recorded in RentHop’s 11-year history.

Wealthy Neighborhoods Seeing the Largest Spike in Sublet Listings

In June 2020, wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 sublet average than neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.

The major NYC neighborhoods with the most significant spikes in new sublets in June 2020 vs. the average for the first four months of the year were Astoria (600% above average), Yorkville (440%), Williamsburg (419%), West Village (306%), Chelsea (289%), and Battery Park City (240%).


1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

Published at Mon, 13 Jul 2020 14:00:49 +0000

How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus

How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus

There’s
everyday clean, guest clean, and then there’s COVID-19 clean.

To get down the absolute nitty gritty on how to disinfect your home, you’ll want your big guns: bleach, rubbing alcohol, and hot water.

The
Best Disinfectants

For your high-touch surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, or a 70% alcohol solution.

Follow
this bleach recipe: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4
teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

Make sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach.

And check to see if your bleach has expired. Who knew it could? After
about 9 months to a year, and if it smells less bleachy, it’s lost its disinfecting
power. Time for a new jug.

Tip: Don’t mix bleach with anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical reaction. For instance, bleach + alcohol is a deadly combo.

How to disinfect your home if you don’t have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, so long as it’s at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC. The alcohol concentration will be listed on the bottle. Rubbing alcohol you buy should already be diluted, unlike bleach.

Is There a Such a Thing as Too Much Disinfectant?

According to an EPA fact sheet, studies have found that using some disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant.

The EPA has issued a list of disinfectants on the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you have a match.

Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are your best bets.

What about the various disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)? Hartman says the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could become resistant to viruses over time.

Surfaces That Need Your Attention

With your preferred disinfectant, wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets daily or more often, if someone in your home is sick.

Contact time is another key aspect of surface sanitizing. “Disinfection isn’t instantaneous,” says Hartman. [For a bleach solution], you want to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. ” 

By the way, new research from scientists at the National Institutes of Health, among other agencies, shows that at least some coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

But a report in “The Washington Post” notes that the most likely period for infection from the virus on surfaces is in the first 10 minutes to one or two hours.

Not All Floors Can Handle Bleach

For your nonporous floors, like those in the bathroom, the CDC recommends mopping with the bleach solution. 

Avoid bleach on hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.

Cleaning Isn’t Disinfecting

From the you-might-be-surprised files: Disinfecting with bleach isn’t actually cleaning. If you also need to clean your countertops of dirt and grime, do that first with soap and water. Then use the bleach solution or rubbing alcohol to combat the virus.

Killing Microbes on Clothes

Most washing machines today do a bang-up job on dirty clothes with cold water, which is best for energy savings. But, and especially if you have a sick person in your house, the hot-water setting followed by a high-heat dry for about a ½ hour to 45 minutes is best for virus eradication.

Don’t forget about your laundry hamper. Wipe it down like you
would other surfaces. You can also use a reusable liner bag, which you can
launder with the clothes.

What If I’m Selling My House, and Inviting More Germs In?

How to disinfect your home when it’s for sale? Virtual showings and tours are the ideal, and your agent can set those up.

However, if there’s a need to have someone come in, talk to your agent who will work with you to establish a hygienic protocol, including requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs.

In addition, many agents are eliminating open houses.

After any showings, practice your surface wipe-down routine.

Finally, when you work with disinfectants, practice some self care. “Alcohol and bleach can be very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands,” Hartman says. 

Related: 9 Cleaning Tasks That Homeowners Tend to Overlook


Published at Tue, 17 Mar 2020 14:46:32 +0000

RentHop 2020 Subway Rent Map: Rents Are Dropping at Major MTA Stops

RentHop 2020 Subway Rent Map: Rents Are Dropping at Major MTA Stops

New York’s MTA subway system is an integral part of most New Yorkers’ lives. With as many as 5.5 million riders each weekday, it truly is the backbone of the city. It should be no surprise that it is one of the first things that people consider when looking to rent an apartment. Proximity to the right trains means shorter commutes and more time spent doing what you love. RentHop’s data scientists love maps and rental data, and so we’ve mapped out rental prices by subway stop to assist in your apartment hunting endeavors.

Our key findings this year include:
  • Rents remained the same around 28 MTA stops, increased at 257 stops, and fell at 159, or 36%, stops. This number is 10% higher than in 2019.
  • As landlords were pushed to offer more concessions in response to the lackluster market performance caused by the pandemic, more stops in Manhattan this year experienced price cuts, including 28 St ($3,635, -11.3%), 34 St – Herald Sq($3,600, -7.6%) , 86 St ($2,978, -6.7%) , and Times Square ($3,299, -5.1%).
  • Even with a significant YoY decrease, Union Square continued to be the most expensive stop in the NYC metro area. Median 1BR rent at this stop currently sits at $4,750, 6.8% lower than the same period in 2019.
  • New developments continue to be a key driver of rental rates. In Brooklyn, median 1BR went up at several stops, including 36 St ($3,050, +9.1%) , Hewes St ($3,050, +9.1%), and Marcy Av ($3,150, +5.0%).

The Interactive Map Below Shows All Rents, Stops, and YoY Price Fluctuations

 

Find our map useful? Check out the static map at the bottom for a quick snapshot of the data and for easy sharing.

Major subway hubs like Union Square, Fulton Street, and Atlantic Ave/Barclay’s Center give nearby residents flexibility and convenience when traveling or commuting to different places. They also make it easy to convene and get home from anywhere after a long day of work. It’s no wonder these subway stops ranked among the most expensive stops on the RentHop subway rent map.

Median 1BR Rents at Major NYC Subway Hubs
  • Union Square 14 St (4/5/6/L/N/Q/R/W) – $4,750, YoY -6.8%
  • Times Square 42 St (1/2/3/7/N/Q/R/S/W) – $3,173, -2.4%
  • Grand Central (4/5/6/7/S) – $3,500, -2.8%
  • West 4 St (A/B/C/D/E/F/M) – $3,556, +7.9%
  • Herald Square 34 St (B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W) – $3,600, -7.6%
  • Fulton St (2/3) – $3,824, +2.9%
  • Fulton St (4/5) – $3,800, +2.8%
  • Fulton St (A/C/J/Z) – $3,805, +3.0%
  • Jay St – Metro Tech (A/C/F/N/R/W) – $3,523, +0.4%
  • Atlantic Ave – Barclay’s Center (2/3/4/5/B/Q) – $3,364, -2.4%
  • Atlantic Ave – Barclay’s Center (D/N/R) – $3,452, +0.1%
  • Broadway Junction (A/C/J/L/Z) – $2,000, +6.7%
  • Jackson Heights – Roosevelt Av / 74 St – Broadway (7/E/F/M/R) – $1,950, +2.6%

36% of MTA Stops Experienced Rent Drops, 10% More than Previous Year

2020 has been a rough year for New York. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in the city skyrocketed 18.3% as of May, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer. This inevitably had a severe impact on real estate, pushing down rental rates across the city. As people relocate to other metro areas and suburbs, landlords across the boroughs are having trouble filling up the vacant apartments, especially those who own and operate luxury rental buildings.

Compared to only 115 stops in 2019, this year, 159 stops, or 36%, saw price reductions, some of which are in the wealthier neighborhoods in the city. Median 1BR rent dipped 11.3% at 28 St (6 Train), as luxury rental buildings offered more concessions to attract new tenants, including Prism at 50 East 28 Street (YoY -5.2%) and Instrata Gramercy at 290 3rd Ave (YoY -9.3%), which doubled the concessions from one month’s free to two months. Similarly, buildings around 34 St – Herald Square also increased incentives, including EOS at 100 West 31 Street and Epic at 125 West 31 Street, which in turn drove down the rents by 7.6%. Stops in the Upper East Side also experienced notable price fluctuations, with median 1BR rent decreased 8.4% around 96 St (Q) and 6.7% at 86 St (4/5/6).

Gentrification remains a key driver of NYC rental rates. Median 1BR rent jumped 10.1% at 36 St stop (D/N/R Trains), from $1,998 to $2,200. This fluctuation is likely due to the Hyland, a new development launched early this year located at 194 21 St in Brooklyn that features bike storage, gym, parking, and a modern roof deck. Meanwhile, median 1BR rent rose 9.1% at Hewes St (J/M) and 5.0% at Marcy Ave (J/M/Z) respectively, mostly driven by the DIME, a 23-story, 177-unit high-end rental building located at 275 South 5 Street, Brooklyn.

These stops saw some of the largest rent drops on one-bedroom apartments
  • 28 St – 6 Train – $3,635, YoY -11.3%
  • 62 St – D/N – $1,550, YoY -8.8%
  • 96 St – Q – $2,839, YoY -8.4%
  • Fort Hamilton Parkway – D – $1,800, YoY -7.7%
  • 34 St – Herald Sq – B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W – $3,600, YoY -7.6%
These subway stops saw some of the most drastic rent jumps
  • 36 St – D/N/R Trains – $2,200, YoY +10.1%
  • Hewes St – J/M – $3,050, YoY +9.1%
  • West 4 St – A/B/C/D/E/F/M – $3,556, YoY +7.9%
  • 161 St – Yankee Stadium – 4/B/D – $1,995, YoY +7.8%
  • Beverly Rd – Q – $2,041, YoY +7.4%

Methodology

To calculate the median net effective rents for the map above, we used RentHop’s rental data for one-bedroom apartments from March 16 through June 15, 2019 & 2020, MTA Lines and Stops data, and GIS data for subway stops compiled by CUNY – Baruch College. To get accurate prices near the subway stops, we looked at least 50 non-duplicated rental listings within half a mile of a subway stop and then calculated the median rents. If there were less than 50 non-duplicated listings, we expanded the distance to 1 mile of a subway stop.

Condensed Map for Easy Sharing – Click on the image for the full map!

Click on the Map For High-Resolution Map

Published at Tue, 23 Jun 2020 16:30:25 +0000

Three Small Apartment Clothing Storage Hacks

Three Small Apartment Clothing Storage Hacks

If you’ve lived in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, you know how tough it can be to make space for all your clothes. Small apartments can be limited on closet space, not to mention floor space for additional items such as coat racks, shoe racks, and dressers. With these three small apartment clothing storage hacks, though, chances are you’ll find yourself fitting all your clothes in your small apartment with ease.

small apartment clothing storage

1. Under-bed storage

In small apartments, you only have so much floor space available. That’s why thinking vertically helps when it comes to small apartment clothing storage. Take a look around your apartment at the objects occupying the most floor space – is there any way you can fit other objects under them?

When it comes to your bed, chances are the answer will be yes. The space between your bed frame and your floor can provide more than enough room for storage bins (especially if you elevate your bed frame using bed risers). These under-bed storage bins make great homes for clothes, especially clothes you’re not wearing at the moment – a bin full of neatly folded and organized winter sweaters, for example, fits nicely under your bed and can stay there until the next time winter rolls around.

2. Top shelf storage

Many apartment closets come with a top shelf that provides plenty of storage space. That said, anyone who’s attempted to stack clothes on these top shelves knows that doing so can get messy and unorganized sooner than later. Perhaps more annoyingly, piles of clothes stacked too high on these shelves can easily come tumbling down, ruining all the careful organization work you’ve put in and making it difficult to use all the shelf space available.

Just as with under-bed storage, you can use storage bins to keep your top shelf organized and neat. If the same large, plastic tubs that can fit under your bed also fit your top shelf, you can easily use the same bins, but other options such as foot-by-foot storage cubes with lids may be better suited for turning your top shelf into a well-organized, easily stackable small apartment clothing storage space for socks, underwear, and other modestly sized garments. With proper top-shelf storage items, you can effectively add an extra shelf or two to your closet.

3. Benches, trunks, and ottomans

The best apartment storage hacks simultaneously expand the space you have available for stashing away items while adding decorative flair to your apartment. Benches, trunks, and especially ottomans can easily pull off this pair of needs while helping you maximize your small apartment clothing storage.

A bench at the foot of your bed that both looks nice and is tall enough to gently disguise storage boxes under it can help to streamline your small apartment clothing storage. A trunk that at first appears to be just a pretty decoration can likewise include ample space for coats, linens, and more. A large storage ottoman may be best of all for small apartment clothing storage, as not only do ottomans look especially natural at the foot of a bed and provide additional seating, but they also tend to mask their double use as storage far better than benches and trunks do.

How do you make space for your small apartment clothing storage? Sound off in the comments!

Published at Mon, 06 Jul 2020 13:06:40 +0000

5 Ways Coronavirus Will Shape New Rental Housing Trends

5 Ways Coronavirus Will Shape New Rental Housing Trends

As the number of employees who are working from home has risen exponentially, people are reconsidering their current rentals and expecting lower prices as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted social distancing, shut down large gatherings, extended quarantining and impacted rental housing trends.

Consumers are spending more time at home — they may no longer want to sign up for a new apartment lease in person and may seek more amenities that are close to their homes. As the number of unemployed Americans rises to more than 44 million, the demand for affordable housing increases since a recovery in the number of jobs could extend into 2021.

Cities that have traditionally attracted a large number of people because of tech jobs such as Austin, San Francisco and Raleigh, could see a slowdown in the number of people relocating there as companies reassess if many of those roles can be conducted from home.

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The coronavirus pandemic could change the behavior and expectations of renters for at least the next year or even longer. Here are five rental housing trends we expect will soon become the “new normal” for property managers and renters.

1. Virtual features will replace in-person options

Of all the renter housing trends that we’re expecting, this one is already happening. However, this trend will continue to become more popular over the next year. As uncertainty about how the coronavirus is spread continues, potential renters may be loath to visit an apartment in person and increase their risk of becoming ill.

Signing for an apartment lease online will likely become the new norm. The apartment rental industry has already conducted virtual tours of their current units and amenities like gyms, swimming pools and outdoor space. Other companies have launched more personal tours by using social media tools such as FaceTime.

Greystar at Steel Works and Cobalt Lofts in Harrison, N.J., two 286-unit luxury buildings (developed by a partnership between Advance Realty Investors & DeBartolo Development) began offering virtual tours of their units via FaceTime and other apps in order to comply with lockdown rules and social distancing requirements, said Oscar Morales, a regional property manager for the buildings.

“The pandemic has forced us to reinvent not only our leasing process at Steel Works and Cobalt Lofts, but almost everything about our operations and property management practices,” he said. “Soon after that, we also began offering self-touring options for prospects who still wanted to see the buildings in person.”

virtual workout

Apartments are adapting to new rental housing trends by hosting virtual wine tastings, workout classes

As cities began enforcing shutdowns and large gatherings of people, many real estate companies worked to bring together renters by launching virtual workout classes and other gatherings.

At the two New Jersey buildings, renters could choose from mixology classes, wine tastings, a weekly DJ session and a building-wide patio decorating party to stave off boredom, Morales said. The fitness facilities and other commons areas reopened, but people had to make a reservation ahead of time to enforce guidelines for smaller groups and cleaning protocols.

These recent efforts led to the apartment buildings being able to “attract a steady flow of new renters throughout the last three months,” he said.

Nearly every aspect of the operations of apartment buildings, from how they’re toured and leased to how residents interact with their buildings and fellow residents, has changed because of the coronavirus, said Devin Wirt, CEO of TFLiving, a Pawleys Island, S.C.-based, tech-enabled amenities platform that serves more than 100,000 units of apartment, condo and senior living buildings.

Over the last three months, TFLiving assisted about 70 percent of its clients that operate apartment buildings in converting to virtual programming. Now residents can access streaming fitness classes, but also more virtual group activities, such as trivia nights, wine tasting and cooking classes.

“While the long-term effects of the pandemic are uncertain, many of these changes are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Virtual amenities are likely to be a permanent solution, and we believe most buildings will eventually adopt a more hybrid approach, with a mix of in-person amenities and virtual options for residents depending on their individual comfort level.” – Devin Wirt, CEO of TFLiving

Online applications, virtual tours are becoming the norm

Online applications have been available for many years at apartments owned by Morgan Properties, a King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based owner and operator of more than 300 apartment communities in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern U.S. and Nashville, said Ann Kanz, a regional marketing manager.

People could also tour apartments through one-on-one video walkthroughs and YouTube, self-guided tours of models and vacant homes and by conducting personalized tours through FaceTime and Zoom. Virtual open houses also took place via Facebook Live.

Technological advances even allow potential renters to see what their furniture might look like inside the apartment by using virtual 3-D viewing platforms, said Jeff Pepperney, president of Real Property Management, a Salt Lake City property management company. Renters, especially millennials, want a virtual, contactless and frictionless experience.

Once renters move in, they’re seeking the same experience where they can pay their rent and retrieve any documents online also, he said.

“This has become an expectation of potential renters in common practice — especially for younger consumers,” Pepperney said. “This includes features like virtual property inspections and evaluations to document the condition of the property and the option to text your property manager/landlord as the primary form of communication.”

city downtown area

2. Location will become less important for job seekers

Cities that attracted a large number of new residents typically have been tech hubs such as Seattle, Denver, Raleigh, Austin and San Francisco. As more companies are allowing employees to work remotely through this fall and even into early 2021, moving for a job has become less of a priority for hiring managers. Many companies have adopted weekly Zoom or Skype calls to encourage teamwork and to build a sense of community.

Cities that have a large number of employees that work for tech companies have already seen rental prices decline as some employees have moved in with their friends or family members, while other people have moved because they have been laid off and have not been able to obtain another job yet.

Tech hubs are already seeing a decline in rental prices

Even in cities where rent has typically been more expensive, such as Mountain View, CA, where demand remains relatively stable, prices have declined. Apartment Guide’s data shows that rental prices have declined on average to $4,229 for a two-bedroom apartment and $3,285 for a one-bedroom unit as of May 2020. That’s a decrease of 19 percent and 12 percent, respectively, compared to May 2019.

In addition, the apartment vacancy rate in San Francisco, home to many Silicon Valley companies, has nearly doubled to 6.2 percent in May, compared to 3.9 percent three months ago, according to RealPage, a Richardson, TX-based apartment data company.

3. Demand for affordable housing will rise

A large number of companies have furloughed or laid off employees, prompting more people to seek more affordable housing such as cheaper rent.

The supply of affordable housing remains constrained in the U.S. and the number of available apartments or rental homes is “nowhere near where we once were in 2009 following the recession,” Pepperney said.

In some high-priced markets, such as Manhattan or San Francisco, there’s an expected shift to increase the supply of affordable rents.

“In these markets, the supply of affordable housing is constricted and the pressure is on to offer less expensive options, especially as we move forward and the need to accommodate for a remote workforce becomes more of a reality,” he said. “As far as the trickle down to middle America, it’s early to say, but it’s possible.”

Even owners of luxury apartment buildings, ones that offer valet parking or a doorman, will have to pivot to the rental housing trends caused by the pandemic and offer more incentives to draw more people in, such as free parking, a free month of rent and additional amenities.

house for sale

4. Rental housing trends up as home buying trends down

The number of homes sold in May declined, the third month of consecutive decline since the pandemic in March, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The number of homes sold declined by 10 percent compared to April and a whopping 27 percent from 2019 as potential homeowners are wary about the future of the economy and how fast employers will start hiring employees again.

The decline in home sales compared to 2019 is the largest dip since 1982 when mortgage rates were historically high at 17 percent or higher. In May, only 3.9 million homes in the U.S. were sold, the slowest month since 2010.

As consumers remain unemployed for more than 90 days, some have used their savings that could have been used as a down payment for a home to pay for rent, food and other necessities, as the federal stimulus payments and state unemployment funds were insufficient to cover their monthly bills.

The demand for renting, however, has not subsided and vacancies have remained steady with pre-pandemic levels. “The need and desire to rent aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Pepperney said.

A new rental housing trend that’s likely to emerge is how renters use the space in their apartments and homes. Creating an office in a bedroom or dining or living room often is not the “most productive option” because of noise and other factors, according to Pepperney.

As people’s leases are set to expire, many renters are likely to look for an apartment or house with more space, such as a second bedroom since working at cafes or libraries remains a rare option for the majority of U.S. cities.

“This could mean renting a larger home or a two-bedroom apartment where the second bedroom doubles as a guest room and an office room.”

Potential homebuyers are worried by the current economy

As the impact of the pandemic lingers, the number of people who believe it’s a good idea to purchase a house in a weak economy has declined. A Gallup poll conducted April 1-14 showed that only 50 percent of people believe it’s a good time to buy a home, compared to 61 percent who agreed with the sentiment during a survey conducted in April 2019 (actual dates: April 1-9).

rental housing trends chart about homebuyer sentiment

Homebuilding in May declined compared to expectations, as many companies halted or lowered the amount of construction, even though this sector was deemed an essential service. In May, housing starts increased to 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units last month, according to the Commerce Department, but declined by 23.2 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Housing starts dipped the most in April by 26.4 percent and by 19.0 percent in March.

However, applications for mortgages rose to almost an 11.5 year high in June as employers hired back 2.5 million workers in May.

New housing construction may be slower to rebound

Economists and other experts said a recovery in the housing industry could take several years and even up to a decade.

Both single-family and multi-family housing starts have fallen significantly from cyclical highs prior to the pandemic and total housing starts are now at levels last seen in late 2014/early 2015, said Brad Dillman, chief economist at Cortland, an Atlanta-based multifamily investment and management firm.

Since mortgage rates remain historically low and with an estimated shortage of housing, activity for housing starts activity will likely “resume to the degree builders are confident in a labor market recovery,” he said.

The number of people moving tends to slow down when labor markets weaken or the economy is in recession, Dillman said.

“However, with housing shortages and a potential labor market rebound, it’s difficult to say how much the pandemic will affect migration trends … There is evidence that the pandemic has contributed to marginal migrations out of COVID-19 hot spots, but how long-lived these will be is also open to question, especially as the cost of living adjusts.” – Brad Dillman, chief economist at Cortland

Since it’s less important for employees to live close to their offices, the number of people moving in 2020 or 2021 could decline.

“The idea of a remote workforce is becoming more common and studies have shown the trend is expected to continue rising post-pandemic, even at companies that did not offer remote work pre-pandemic,” Pepperney said.

5. High-end rental prices will continue to dip

As the economy remains on shaky footing, consumers are likely to remain renters because of the flexibility of the leases and the likelihood that rental prices will continue to dip. This is likely true not just in large cities that tend to attract tech and younger workers, but throughout the U.S., landlords and property managers will probably not only lower monthly rents on their more expensive units but will also provide other incentives to people to prevent them from moving to another location to nab a deal.

Employees remain concerned about the future of their jobs, whether companies will start another round of layoffs in the fall and if they might have to dip into their savings. Even historically low mortgage rates are not enough to attract people to buy their first home since getting approved for a mortgage could be challenging, especially in states like California and New York, where higher prices for homes require individuals to obtain jumbo loans.

Long-lasting effects of the coronavirus on rental housing trends

The impact of the coronavirus on the rental market and recession will be long-lasting and could push down rental prices past 2021 as consumers remain concerned about their future employment and financial futures. This will make renting an apartment an attractive option for people considering a housing or lifestyle change.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Published at Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:05:53 +0000

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life in New York City. The MTA system grapples with billions of dollars of deficits with historically low ridership, and many people, who once called New York City home, are now breaking their leases and leaving the epicenter due to concerns over a potential second wave, burden of high living costs amplified by unemployment, and changes in company remote working policies.

After a few painful weeks with severe declines in leasing activities and high vacancy, the NYC rental market seems to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. While still slow compared to previous years, the rental market has shown some signs of recovery in the past month, including more inventory hitting the market. In this report, we will analyze the current state of the rental market and offer some insights for people who are looking to move in the coming weeks.

For the First Time in Years, Rents Are Dropping

Calculated using thousands of listings advertised in the past 30 days (May 12 to June 11), the median 1BR rent in New York City currently sits at $2,645.3, down 1.3% from $2,681 during the same period in 2019. This downward pressure is largely caused by reduced demand and an increasing amount of rental concessions offered by landlords grappling with tenant retention and high vacancies. The anemic demand and competition for tenants are forcing some landlords to double their incentives, going from 1 month free to 2 months free on certain units and lease terms.

We are also seeing a growing number of no-fee apartments on the market, whether advertised by rental agents or directly by landlords. Prior to the pandemic, around 58% of the listings on RentHop were no-fee. This number has since increased to 64%.

For those who are staying in the city with expiring leases, now might be a good time to start your apartment search. We expect that the rental trends will continue as New York City struggles with unprecedented job losses, an outflow of residents, and the economic turmoil due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Inventory Flows Back In, Approaching the Pre-Pandemic Level

While April has historically been the beginning of busy real estate sales and rental seasons, the market has been flat this year. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and pause of real estate showings, the number of active listings on RentHop dropped dramatically within a week after the start of the stay-at-home order. By mid-April, the number of active listings on RentHop had lowered 20% to just around 20,000 on average each week.

Since then, inventory has been growing steadily. The number of active listings first peaked the week of May 4 to May 10 since COVID-19 and has generally been trending upward. This implies that inventory is now flowing back, and renters now have more options to choose from.

Renter Inquiries Recovered to the Pre-Pandemic Level

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus outbreak exerted downward pressure on the rental market in the city of New York. Daily inquiry count started dropping exponentially in early March, and by March 20, the day when the PAUSE order was announced, the daily renter inquiry count had fallen over 60% below the pre-pandemic daily average.

But things quickly started to turnaround by early April. This upward trend continued through May, with May 12 being 26% higher than the daily average prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. And while the recent BLM protests have had an impact on market activities, generally speaking, the number of renter inquiries is reaching the pre-pandemic level. We expect this upward trend to continue in the coming months, driven by pent-up demand as people who have held off moving are now restarting their apartment search process.

Leads, however, seem to be shifting from Manhattan to Brooklyn. As shown in the chart below, the top 5 most inquired neighborhoods last year were all Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen, FiDi, and the East Village. The rankings changed drastically this year. Four out of the top five neighborhoods are located in Brooklyn, and the fifth one is Astoria, Queens. This shift might be evidence that the city may be seeing an outflow of residents from Manhattan to more affordable and less populated neighborhoods in outer boroughs.

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 14:00:37 +0000

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

If you’re getting ready to look for your first college apartment, you’re probably feeling a mix of joy, excitement and even a bit of stress at the task ahead of you. It’s only natural, as renting your first apartment will definitely require a little work. That’s why we put together the ultimate college apartment checklist, packed with everything you need to know to help you move into your first apartment quickly and easily. From establishing a budget to checking the place and watching out for scams, here’s how to find and lock in the perfect new home. 

Jump to:

What’s my moving and renting budget? 

College Apartment Checklist - Budget

The first step on your college apartment checklist is your budget, which you need to figure out before you begin your apartment search. That’s because most of the following steps will depend upon how much money you can and are willing to spend on your future rental. 

But, how do you establish a budget? First, consider all of the costs involved in securing and maintaining your new apartment, and separate your budget into two categories:

Upfront costs 

Upfront costs refer to one-time payments that you generally pay before you move into your new home. For example, landlords and property managers usually have:

  • Move-in fees: These fees cover the first and last month’s rents.
  • Security deposit: It covers any damage you may cause, and will be refunded if the apartment is in good condition when you move out.
  • Application fees: Some properties have an application fee to cover the cost of your background and credit checks. 
  • Holding fees: Landlords may charge this fee to hold your rental unit for a specific period of time prior to signing a lease.
  • Pet fees: Most properties will ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damage, while some will add an additional fee for pet rent.

At the same time, if you plan to use a moving company to transport your belongings to your new place, budget for these services, too.

Recurring costs

Recurring costs refer to the payments you will have to make on an ongoing basis, usually monthly. These largely depend on the amenities your building offers and the arrangement the property has in place regarding utilities. In this category, consider:

  • Rent: How much can you afford to spend on rent? If you have a regular income, establish your budget with a rent affordability calculator. If you don’t, you will also need a co-signer, like one of your parents. 
  • Utilities: Most likely, you’ll split these with the landlord. For instance, most buildings will include water, sewage and garbage in the cost of your rent, while you’ll be responsible for covering the electricity, gas and internet/cable bills. To get an idea of how much you should budget if you’re moving out of state, check out this utility cost breakdown by state
  • Amenities: While apartment buildings are offering an increasing number of amenities which are covered by rent, some buildings may also feature luxury services as add-ons. 

What are my needs as a renter? 

Once you’ve figured out your budget, it’s time to list your needs for your college apartment checklist. But, even before you consider your needs, do some research on the city you want to move to in order to see how much apartments usually go for and what amenities they include. For instance, on rentcafe.com, you can find average rents for each city, as well as use the filtering options in the search bar to look into different types of apartments, amenities and neighborhoods. 

After you get an idea of what the rental market looks like, answer the following questions to guide you in your apartment hunt:

What size apartment am I looking for? 

If you’re renting alone, consider whether you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment — which offers more space — or a studio apartment, which is more budget-friendly. Alternatively, if you’re moving in with roommates, determine how many bedrooms you’ll need. 

Renting Small: Main Differences Between Studios and One-Bedroom Apartments

How long will I be renting? 

Rental apartments are typically leased for a fixed period (usually one year) or on a month-to-month basis, and there are pros and cons to both. For example, a yearly lease will get you the best deal on rent. Fixed-term leases also ensure you’ll pay the same amount throughout your lease. Conversely, in monthly contracts, the rent can change each time you renew. What’s more, a one-year contract will protect you from undue evictions, while a monthly lease means your landlord could decide to end your contract from one month to the next. However, a month-to-month lease does offer more flexibility by allowing you to move out whenever you want to without penalty. 

Where will I be renting?

Do you have a car or will you be using public transportation to get to school? With a car, you can move anywhere. But, if you’re planning to use public transit, make sure your apartment is located near a bus, subway or train station.

Meanwhile, consider the type of neighborhood you want to live in. Are you looking for a quiet, residential spot, or do you want to live in the heart of the action? Do some research on the neighborhoods in the area to find the right fit for your needs. Also, remember to check how safe these neighborhoods are. 

What amenities do I need?

Buildings and apartments offer different amenities, and it’s up to you to decide which ones you really want. Below are some of the perks to consider when you’re looking for an apartment. Establish which amenities you absolutely need on your college apartment checklist, and which aren’t necessary, but would be nice to have. This will enable you to be more flexible in your search and to stay on budget. 

  • Appliances: Do you need an in-unit washer and dryer or a laundry room? Are you looking for an apartment with a dishwasher? 
  • Furnishing: Do you need a pre-furnished apartment? These rentals are certainly easier to move into, but they also come with more expensive rents. 
  • Pet friendliness: Do you plan to take a pet with you to college? If so, you’ll need to search for pet-friendly apartments.
  • Air conditioning: While you likely won’t need this one in colder areas, if you’re moving to an apartment in L.A., for example, you’ll definitely need an A/C unit.
  • Parking: If you plan on taking a car with you, try to find a place with a parking space. Street parking isn’t always available and, in some cities, it’s notoriously difficult to find a free spot. 
  • Outdoor spaces & swimming pools: This largely depends on your lifestyle preferences and if you can spare the extra budget for a rooftop garden, a communal terrace or a swimming pool. 
  • Fitness centers: Do you need to have quick access to the gym? Apartment buildings are increasingly offering gyms as an amenity, so you might want to take advantage of this. 

How do I find and assess an apartment?

College Apartment Checklist - Apartment Search

Searching for the perfect apartment is no easy feat. But, if you follow the steps above, you’ll find a great place faster than you might think. 

Furthermore, one of the most important rules in apartment-hunting is considering multiple options. So, make sure you check out a few places before making a final decision. This way, you’ll get to know the market better and get the best possible deal. 

When to start your apartment search

While you can find an apartment at any time of year, you’re much more likely to get a better deal on rent and to tick all the boxes on your college apartment checklist if you start your search early. To get the best possible price for your future apartment, begin your search at least 60 days prior to your move-in date. Also, note that Google Search data shows that May, June and July are peak months for renting — which means you’ll have more competition and prices will be higher during this period. 

How to choose the right apartment

Once you find an apartment that fits your budget and your needs, it’s time to see it in person. When you arrive, ask your guide about the history of the property, the neighborhood and the neighbors. 

Then, during your walkthrough, make sure everything is in working order. Thoroughly inspecting the unit will ensure that you get what you’re paying for and that you’re not moving into a place that will need extra work after you move in. In particular:

  • Examine the walls and floors to see if they have any cracks, holes or leaks. If you find any, take note of or photograph them so you can let the landlord know they were there prior to your occupancy. 
  • Make sure all the lights and light switches work and that they don’t have any burn marks around them.
  • Check to see if the thermostat works. Turn on both the heat and the A/C to confirm that they’re in proper working condition.
  • Monitor the windows and doors to check for drafts.
  • Look for any signs of mold in the apartment.
  • Take note of any smells and investigate the source. 
  • Make sure everything in the bathroom is in working condition. Turn on the faucets and shower to check the water pressure and the drains. 
  • Turn on appliances to make sure they work correctly. 
  • Check the cabinets for any squeaky or wobbly doors. 

While you’re there, take a walk through and around the building to get to know the property and the neighborhood. After all, you won’t be living in a vacuum.

How do I review and sign a lease?

College Apartment Checklist - Lease

When you find the perfect apartment, lock it in as soon as possible. You can opt to hold it for a while (as explained earlier), but when you’re ready to move in, you’ll have to provide certain documents and sign a lease agreement. 

What documents do I need?

Normally when renting an apartment, landlords will expect you to provide your rental and credit history. However, real estate professionals are aware that they’re managing apartments in a student area, and typically, when you have no or very limited credit history, a co-signer will be required.

Additionally, be prepared to provide your landlord with the following information: 

  • Your social security number and birthdate
  • Pay stubs or bank statements to prove your income if you have a job
  • A co-signer’s information if you don’t have a credit or rental history  
  • Personal references 

How do I review the lease?

Even if you think you’ve found your dream apartment, scrutinize the lease agreement so you know what you’re legally committing yourself to. Specifically, check the terms of the lease carefully and ensure the things you talked about with the property manager or landlord are included. Then, discuss the questions below with the person you’re signing the agreement to make sure they’re in line with your college apartment checklist:

  • How do I make the payments?
  • Are there late fees? If so, how and when are they charged?
  • Which utilities are included in my rent? 
  • Are there any circumstances under which you can enter my apartment without notifying me first? 
  • How do you manage repairs? Is there a separate process for emergency repairs?
  • How much advance notice do you need if I decide to move out?
  • Under which circumstances would my security deposit not be refunded? How long does it take to refund a security deposit?
  • Do you have a guest policy? What are the terms? 
  • Can I sublet the apartment outside of the school year? 
  • If I move out in the middle of the month, will you prorate my rent? 

The Nitty-Gritty of Paying the Fair Amount – Prorated Rent Explained

How do I get a roommate?

College Apartment Checklist - Rommates

If you plan to share your apartment with a roommate, do everything you can to pick one who you’ll be happy living with. While there’s no exact science to choosing the perfect roommate, consider the following to make sure you’ll live in harmony:

What type of relationship are you looking for? 

Do you just want someone to pay half the rent, or are you looking for a person you can become friends with? If it’s the latter, you might want to talk about your goals and interests to see if you have things in common to bond over. 

Do your personalities match? 

Even if you’re both fantastic people, certain personalities just don’t work well together, so try to find someone with a temperament similar to yours. For example, if you don’t like to party, you’re probably better off with someone similar. On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly, you might want to look for someone more extroverted and upbeat. 

Do you have similar cleaning habits? 

Some people are avid cleaners and organizers, while others care less about these things. You and your roommate should have similar expectations in this area. Otherwise, both of you might end up disgruntled. 

Do you have healthy communications with each other? 

We all have our quirks and anxieties, so it’s essential to find someone you can easily communicate with. Even if you end up being the best of friends, you still need to make sure you can talk about the good and the bad without fear or aggression. Because temperament defines communication more than your morals or values, this can be a problem even among the best of us. 

To find the perfect roommate, browse local Facebook groups and message boards. Or, check out these roommate apps, which can help you find your ideal match while taking the hassle out of the search. Then, once you’ve found a potential roommate, here are some questions to ask to see if you’re going to get along well.

How do I protect myself as a renter? 

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, as is the case with any housing option, you might run into scams or people who don’t have your best interests at heart. That’s why it’s important to learn how to avoid scams and protect yourself while renting.

Beware of scams

The first rule in avoiding scams is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why you should always use reputable websites like rentcafe.com, which has 100% verified listings. 

However, if you use websites that don’t verify their listings, get to know the area you’re renting in, especially when it comes to pricing. For instance, if the price of an apartment is much lower than you’d expect in a specific neighborhood, research it carefully. Below are a few scam-checking steps for your college apartment checklist:

  • Check the rental company and make sure it has a credible website. Google its name alongside keywords like “scam,” “review” or “complaint.” 
  • If you found the apartment on a listing website, make sure it’s also listed on the rental company’s website, if they have one. 
  • Ask for identification when touring to make sure you’re talking to a professional working at the company that manages the property. 
  • Never pay with cash or wire transfers. Only make payments to real entities that you can track and follow up with. 
  • Never give out your personal information to someone who hasn’t identified themselves.

If you come across a sketchy property or apartment and think it may be a scam, report it to the police to help others stay safe. 

Renter protection laws 

Know what your rights are so you can protect yourself in the event that anything happens. Each state has different rules regarding renter protections, so be sure to understand yours. 

On a federal level, you are protected against discrimination of any kind, and your landlord is obligated to make reasonable accommodations for you if you have a disability. You also have the right to safety. As such, your property manager or landlord must quickly make any repairs in the event that your home poses a danger to your health. 

When it comes to evictions, your landlord can only begin this process if you break the terms of the lease. In this scenario, they would have to inform you of your wrongdoing first and then offer you the opportunity to correct the issue. Only after you fail to do so can they file an eviction proceeding in court, while also giving you notice so you can participate. When you receive these notices depends upon the individual state laws. If your landlord wins the case, you will be evicted. You’ll also likely be ordered to pay any late fees and cover the costs to repair any damage you may have caused.  

Finally, your landlord cannot withhold your security deposit unless you break the terms of the lease and cause damage to the rental. Once again, each state has specific legislation as to how large this deposit can be and when it should be returned to you. 

How Not to Lose Your Deposit – The Superhero Edition

Renters insurance

Renters insurance is an added cost, but it should definitely go on your college apartment checklist. Just like any type of insurance, it will save you a lot of time and money if you need it. This is also why some buildings require you to have renters insurance before you move in. 

Renters insurance generally costs between $12 and $25 a month, but it compensates up to $30,000 in property damage and $100,000 in liability damage. Therefore, if disaster strikes, it will cover both your medical bills and the cost to replace your belongings. At the same time, if something happens to your apartment and you have to leave it, renters insurance typically covers a few nights in a hotel or the cost of a temporary rental. Finally, you’ll also be compensated even if you were responsible for the damage.

Next steps on your college apartment checklist  

Moving Out

Once you’ve found your new home and signed the lease agreement, it’s time to make a college apartment checklist for your move! To pack mindfully and have everything ready to go on moving day, follow the steps below:

  • Start getting the furniture and items your new apartment is missing. If you have one or more roommates, make sure you check with them first, so you don’t end up duplicating necessities.
  • Set up all the utilities you will manage — such as internet and cable — so you can use them as soon as you move in. 
  • If you have a car, ensure your insurance policy and check-ups are up-to-date, and change the oil if you haven’t in a while.  
  • Cancel any memberships and subscriptions you have in your old hometown, and look for alternatives near your new home.
  • Divide your belongings into essentials and nice-to-haves, and make a donation pile for the things you won’t need again. Pack up the essentials first, and then move on to the nice-to-haves. If you don’t have much space, consider leaving items that may be easily replaceable in your new town. 
  • Get packing supplies. To save time and money, buy these after you know what you’re taking with you.
  • Pack an essentials kit to get you through the first couple of days when you’re still unpacking your things. This should include any medications, personal care items, electronics and chargers you will need immediately. 
  • Get all the supplies you’ll need to clean your apartment and don’t forget trash bags and other home necessities. 
  • Make sure all of the important people in your life have your new address.

And, there you have it, the ultimate college apartment checklist to make your move a stress-free experience. Remember to carefully assess your needs, use reputable websites with verified listings and check out at least a few places before making a final decision. Now, go out there and find your new apartment!

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Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:30:02 +0000

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

If you own a dog in an apartment, you have surely run into the difficulty of combining adequate exercise with the space restrictions that come with apartment living. Especially during poor weather or long winter evenings, it can be tricky to get your dog tired enough.  

Unfortunately, lack of mental and physical stimulation not only results in a bored dog, but can actually create behavioral issues such as reactivity towards other dogs, frequent potty accidents or separation anxiety. 

It is much easier to prevent these than to fix them — which is why these indoor dog games are the perfect way to tire out your dogs and keep them happy and healthy. Even just five minutes of playing with your canine friends every day will make a noticeable difference in their behavior and focus. 

Jump The Leg 

Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you and put your foot against a couch or wall. Now toss treats to both sides of your leg, so that your dog has to jump over it to get them. This repeated bouncing motion is very tiring for dogs — akin to humans jumping straight up in the air over and over — and even a few minutes of this will leave your dog panting. Make sure that you only play this on a surface with good traction, to prevent any accidents. 

Crate Race 

training dogs inside

Put a treat in your dog’s crate. Show him and let him run into the crate to get the treat. Repeat this a couple times. Now you put the treat into the crate and walk a couple of steps away with your dog. Formulate a call like “Ready… steady… go!” and let him run into the crate. Repeat this a couple times. 

If your dog is good at the last step, you can move further and further away from the crate. Eventually you can let him race to his crate even from another room or the hallway. Running to his crate and eating the treat will become more challenging and fun the further you move away. 

This game is not just fun for your dog, but will also strengthen the positive association with the crate and make it a happy place for your dog. Especially for apartment dogs, it is very important to be able to settle quietly and happily in their place. 

Blanket Trick

dog games with blankets

Take a blanket or beach towel and put it on your floor. Now hide some treats underneath it and let your dog figure out how to get to them. Dogs are not naturally good at understanding that they have to lift one corner to gain access to the cookies underneath. Solving this food puzzle will really work your dog’s brain. If he solves it, repeat it a couple times. Repeating brain games will teach your dog to pay attention to his thinking process and strengthen his memory. Over time you will also see a positive effect on his overall obedience skills from this, because the better he can think and remember, the better he will behave overall. 

Pillow Tower 

Take several pillows. Start out by stacking two pillows and luring your dog up on them with a cookie. If this proves to be no challenge, take a third pillow! It is tricky for your dog to jump up and keep a proper balance, as the softness of the pillows will make the little tower unstable. In competitive dog sports, exercises on unstable surfaces like this are used frequently to increase the dog’s strength and coordination. By practicing your dog’s skills in these areas, you can challenge him in novel and creative ways.  And if your dog is successful with three pillows, try four or even five! 

Treat Burrito 

Take your blanket or beach towel again and put it on the floor in front of you. Distribute treats on it. Now take one end and roll up the blanket, just like a yoga mat. When you have it all rolled up, present it to your dog. Now it is her turn to figure out how to get all the treats inside the treat burrito. Again, unrolling it usually does not come to the dog’s mind right away, so the puzzle fun will keep her entertained for quite a while. 

Sniff Box 

dog searching box for treats

Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled-up newspapers. Now drop treats in there and let your dog use scent to find them. This is a great activity especially for anxious dogs, as sniffing is a very calming activity. In fact, just a few minutes of sniffing can significantly lower a dog’s heart rate and reduce stress. If your dog is afraid or nervous, daily sniffing can vastly improve the overall mood and behavior.  

Cookie Bopping 

Note: this might be a game that you only play in the bathroom, as it can get messy.

Take a salad bowl and fill it with water. Now put some treats in there, or even just your dog’s regular dry food. Let her dive in to get the goodies. This game can be a real thinking challenge and also strengthen your dog’s confidence. Many dogs start out not understanding how they can get the treats and only learn over time to effectively snatch them out of the water. 

How Often Should You Play? 

little games for dogs

You can play these games with your dog every single day. Your dog will let you know when it becomes too much: If he is noticeably unmotivated or slow, you should take a day off. Different dog breeds vary a lot in how much and how often they want to play and train. While some dogs from working breeds such as German Shepherds can play all day long, others — for example a Pug — want to have their well-deserved breaks. 

Just like people, dogs have a daily rhythm of activity and rest. They usually are most awake in the mornings and evenings. Especially at night, they can be pretty pushy and needy for attention. Try out the games above during this time and see if it makes your dog calmer and easier to manage.  

If you have more than one dog, you might need to separate them for the games so that they do not interfere and show resource guarding tendencies. If the dogs enjoy the games they might become pretty protective over the treats. It is best to be safe and not let them get into any struggles over whose turn it is. 

About the author: Steffi Trott is the founder of SpiritDog Training, an online dog training program. She strives to bring positive, science-based and fun training to dog owners all over the world. She lives with her own three dogs in Albuquerque, NM. They compete in the dog sport of agility and enjoy playing games together daily. 

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Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 08:30:02 +0000