Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sublets in New York

Sublets. Sublet. Subletting. This word is a trend in New York City. Everybody talks about it, writes about or lives in it! Subletting in NYC is both a social phenomenon and financial issue, becomes a cell phone conversation, an intimate relationship with New York and its people. Subletting inspired even theatrical writers: it’s now playing The Sublet Experiment, which is set entirely in a New York City apartment, different each weekend. As I am turning into a serial sublettor, I booked my ticket already!

Subletting in NYC is the outcome of various factors. One is the real estate situation of NYC. The relationship of New Yorkers with the loved city . And their financial situation.

New York City has plenty of apartments but also plenty of people who want to travel, relocate, live or temporarily stay in the Big Apple. With hotel prices going north at a minimum $70 a night (the cheapest), Local New Yorkers found out about it and take advantage. So, they can sublet their room in their apartment for one week, two weeks, six months or even two years, well, probably twice the price of their actual rent. So they actually make money. Isn’t that nice? They help and they make some cash, under the table (or even better under the bed). On top of that, there is something else you don’t know unless you come here: rental control. Although I am not 100% familiar with the history of it, if you keep the same apartment for numerous years, you control the rent and you avoid the increases. Needless to say that getting a proper lease it’s time consuming, expensive and a hassle: you go through credit checks, need referrals from previous rental properties, letters from your employer, your previous year tax forms, savings account and you have to pay the broker’s fee of about 15% of your annual rent. Ah, now SUBLETTING seems really attractive. As far as I know, in the rest of the world, estate agents get paid by the landlord not by poor tenants. I’d rather stay quiet, I might put ideas in various people’s mind…

And then you have New Yorkers and how they deal with money. Or rather how they want to make the most out of you. New Yorkers, from my experience so far, are the stingiest people I have ever met. I might sound mean or not particularly generous with them but they are not! They can rent their pillow case to make money! They rent their couch in their living room for $900 a month in Manhattan and if you don’t mind you can take it. It’s a bargain! I am now subletting at an amazing apartment from a girl who is actually subletting from someone else who lives in California! Isn’t that crazy? I am telling you, subletting is the word in the Big Apple. If you don’t know how to spell it, you have to find out.

But nothing would happen if New Yorkers were not in love with their city. No matter where they go, no matter what they do, they want to come back, here. And in order to come back, they keep their rental-controlled apartment by subletting it.

And as the girl whose apartment I am going to sublet soon said: if you stay in New York for such a long time, where else can you go?

That’s exactly what I am asking myself: where else in the USA I can go? How can I find a place where I won’t sublet, won’t pay broker’s fees, won't have to show tax forms or being X-rayed by real estate agents or renters who are ready to go and sublet?

In civilized countries or cities, people actually buy property. They don’t sublet. But again, those people have a different relationship with money. And also, are not in love with New York.

Events in NYC

Peter Hamlin "Energy" opens Sat. 12/9
The halcyon galleryinvites you to celebrate the opening of PETER HAMLIN"ENERGY" with music by DJ ENSTEREO
Visit his website at www.hambot.com to get a clue of what that means.

The Sublet Experiment
Visit the website www.thesubletexperiment.com for dates, locations and ticket prices.

Events in London

NetProZ Third Thursday Held each month in Central London, usually from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. Open to all on registration. To add your name to the mailing list, send a blank email to the list These events are a great opportunity to get to know the members better in an informal working gathering. It's also where we often innovate new formats. Visit http://www.netproz.net/events.html


Anonymous said...

I think New York is a huge city crammed into a tiny space, hence the rudeness sets in. Who wouldn't be rude if you don't even have room to stretch? Housing is always a big issue in big cities, I suppose different cultures have different ways of dealing with it. It sounds like it is much easier to rent in London, so subletting there only exists for council housing/ housing associations etc but most people rent legitimately.
In terms of where else to go...there are lots of places. I think big cities are like a vortex that sucks you in. Once you are there it is very difficult to leave and even if you do leave you still go back now and then. The force still pulls you in.... But life still exists outside the city, it's true.