The Best of Curbed's Renter's Week 2011

Published on Nov 16, 2011

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And now, some choice amusements and entertainments for New York City rental apartment seekers: a quick look at my favorite posts from Curbed's Renters Week 2011. Curbed is always a pleasure--well-informed and informative, lively and amusing--but they really seemed to enjoy their first-ever Renters Week, peppering their usual array of interesting real estate posts with terrific stories, maps and "listicles" on all things NYC-rental-apartment-y. So, as Curbed might say, let's get right to good stuff, shall we...?

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Although Curbed probably over-sensationalized their interview with a landlord with the whole "snakes in the toilet" angle in the headline (I was waiting for Samuel L. Jackson to make an appearance), I thought Gregory O'Connell, who manages around 150 properties, most of them Brooklyn rental apartments in the "brownstone Brooklyn" area of Carroll Gardens / Cobble Hill / Park Slope, acquitted himself well in this lengthy discussion with editor Sara Polsky.

My favorite line? O'Connell's answer to the question, What do you look for in a prospective tenant?  "Well first of all, financial stability," says O'Connell. "You always want to make sure that you will get reimbursed promptly each month. Other than that it's always nice to rent to someone that's sane. A big plus is when the tenant is rational and not easily rattled. When an emergency happens you want someone that will work with you and not completely freak out." Good to know.

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The Lifestyles of the Rent Stabilized column was pretty entertaining (and very 1980s), about how one anonymous renter landed a three-bedroom Soho loft for which, even thirty years later, he still only pays less than $1500 a month (spoiler: it involves a "paper bag stuffed with cash").

Better were the week-long NYC "Renter Horror Stories" which featured nightmare neighbors (hoarders; hookers), dirt floors and bloody handprints, a cocaine-laced rose, and the "scent of death".

And the Best and Worst NYC Airbnb listings was fun in that voyeuristic sort of way that any New York real estate lover can appreciate.

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A couple of Craigslist-related posts caught my eye: Kelsey Keith's "That's Rather Hideous" look at questionably staged NYC rental apartments on Craiglist (the one with the laundry on the bed and unpacked boxes in the kitchen was particularly good); and all of Craiglist's NYC rental apartments rendered as a word cloud (not surprisingly, "train" "location" and "fee" are all pretty huge).

The Curbed Heat Map: Where to Rent Right Now got an update last week as well, with a dozen of the hottest NYC rental apartment buildings right now, from The Addison in Downtown Brooklyn to the Columbus Square complex on the Upper West Side.

Last but not even close to being least, the Curbed staff took six of NYC's top rental-listings websites out for a "test drive", and then rated them for things like "website design", "listings found", and "strength of listings". I won't say who won the Best NYC Rental Apartment Listings Website trophy with an outstanding overall score of 8.5, but here's a hint: IT WAS URBAN EDGE!

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You can find ALL of the posts from Curbed's Renter's Week 2011 here.

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