Things to Know When Renting an Apartment in the Winter - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jan 14, 2022

Things to Know When Renting an Apartment in the Winter


Winter in New York State can bring a slew of situations with your apartment that you might not think about during the warmer months of the year. When the snow falls and the temperature drops, questions about things like snow removal, heating, property maintenance, and parking may come to mind. Continue reading for things to know when renting an apartment in the winter.

 

Snow Removal

 

When renting an apartment, snow removal arrangements are generally disclosed in your lease. Usually the property owner is responsible for shoveling the sidewalk, but in some cases, these tasks can be delegated to the tenant in the lease agreement. Snow removal laws vary from city to city, but there are often ordinances in place requiring a property owner to remove any snow from a public sidewalk within 24 hours of snowfall. If the snow is not removed within this timeframe, some municipalities reserve the right to hire someone to remove the snow and charge the property owner with the bill, as well as any applicable fines.

 

You should carefully review your lease to see if there are any specifications about snow removal for your apartment. If shoveling responsibilities were delegated to you in your lease, you should familiarize yourself with your local ordinance for snow removal so that you can stay in compliance and avoid any potential consequences.

 

If snow removal responsibilities were not mentioned in your lease and your walks aren’t being shoveled, contact your landlord to arrange a plan. In some cases, you may be able to save a few extra bucks on your rent if you agree to take over the shoveling duties.

 

Heating

 

Heating your apartment is something you might not think about during the warmer months and it can be hard to know how well your apartment will hold heat before the time comes to turn that thermostat up. If you find your apartment isn’t holding enough heat, contact your landlord to ensure the heat is on and everything is functioning as intended.

 

If everything is up to par but you are still chilly, you can experiment with adding things like thermal curtains, weather stripping, and rugs to warm up your space. Space heaters are also an option for adding additional heat into your apartment, however they can pose fire risks. Make sure to read this article to understand how to safely use a space heater. 

 

New York State law requires landlords to supply heat to tenants from October 1 to May 31. According to the NYS Attorney General’s Office, if the outdoor temperature falls below 55°F between six a.m. and ten p.m., your apartment’s temperature must be heated to at least 68°F, and if the outdoor temperature falls below 40°F between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m., your apartment must be heated to at least 55°F.

 

Property Maintenance

 

Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can all bring different hazards to the property you’re renting. Generally speaking, your landlord is responsible to repair damages to a rental property unless you are deemed solely responsible for the damage. Even so, it’s a good idea to be prepared to respond to situations like frozen pipes and damage from snow plows or ice before they occur.

 

Familiarize yourself with the plumbing in your apartment, including how to turn off the water in the event of a frozen or burst pipe. You can take preventative measures to keep your pipes from freezing by regulating the temperature in your apartment. While you may be tempted to save a few extra bucks on heating, a pipe burst can cause thousands of dollars in damages.

 

Avoid parking your vehicle under areas where icicles may form, and safely remove any icicles using a ladder and roof rake. If you’re finding icicles are frequently forming outside your apartment, you may want to alert your landlord as this may be evidence of an ice dam on your roof, which could lead to roof or wall damage.

 

Street Parking

 

Keep updated on local parking regulations around your unit. Most municipalities have seasonal rules in place prohibiting overnight street parking - either during winter months or directly following a certain amount of snowfall - to allow snowplows to fully clear the roads. If you frequently park on the street, you may need to find another long-term parking option to avoid any tickets and allow workers to fully plow your street.

 

If you opt for street parking and your city only prohibits street parking after a certain amount of snowfall, stay updated on the weather forecast and be prepared to move your vehicle in case the snow accumulates overnight.

 

As a matter of convenience, finding a long-term parking solution away from the street is preferable and can protect your vehicle against potential damage from snowplows or other vehicles on the road.

 

Studies have found winter may be the best time to rent a new apartment due to lower demand. Check out our Tips for Renting an Apartment below!