What to do after you sign your lease
Congratulations on your new home! There are a number of things you will want to do once you have signed your lease, and depending on how far out your Lease Start Date is will depend at what order and speed with which you do them. Let’s start with the basics.
Schedule Your Move In
At the end of your lease signing it is important to confirm with the owner (owner’s agent or your broker) what the exact policy is, and what restrictions there may be as far as moving in to your new home. For example, many buildings will not allow weekend or holiday move ins. Additionally some buildings have specific hours or time slots which must be scheduled in advance for you to reserve an elevator.
Tip – many buildings will not allow your mover to begin moving belongings into the building unless they have first sent a copy of their certificate of insurance to the managing agent ahead of their arrival. You don’t want the mover showing up only to find out they are not permitted entrance to the building, so be sure this is resolved ahead of time.
Schedule A Walk Through
Many property owners will want you to do a physical walk through of the property prior to moving in. This is done for both your and the owners benefit. It ensures that all necessary work, or minor fixes have been completed, and allows the property manager or superintendent to record any preexisting issues with the apartment which you should not be held responsible for at the end of your lease.
Tip – not all owners require a walk through prior to move in. Therefore, it is a good idea for you to do one yourself before the movers arrive, and take note (pictures) of anything you feel is amiss. Should you find any issues you feel need to be addressed, start by contacting your super to see if he can resolve them quickly. If this does not bring a satisfactory outcome, call your owner to discuss these issues, and make sure to email them the photos to prove they were preexisting before you arrived.
Change the Lock
Your apartment door should have 2 locks. One in the door knob itself, and a stronger lock above referred to as a “dead bolt”. Since you never know how many copies of keys the prior tenant may have made, I STRONGLY recommend to my clients that they at least change the dead bolt prior to moving their belongings into the apartment. In my own apartments, even when a property owner has told me that they have changed the lock cylinder for me, I personally have always felt more comfortable actually seeing the lock replaced with my own eyes.
Tip – Should you decide to change the lock, I recommend paying a locksmith to do the job right. Additionally, make sure you give a copy of the keys to either your doorman (if you have one) or superintendent. If you don’t and you either get accidentally locked out, or there is an emergency in your building and the property owner needs immediate access to your apartment, they will have to break the locks and replacing them will be at your own expense.
Renters Insurance – Though not required by every property owner, for approximately $200 a year it is a wise investment. Though it is hopefully something you will never need to use, should there be a leak, a fire, or god forbid you are robbed, it will reimburse you for any losses you might have.
Setting Up Utilities
Gas & Electric – Con Edison – 1-800-752-6633
ConEd is the utility company to the Five Boroughs and Westchester County. Once your lease is signed you will need to call or go online and have the electric bill put in your name beginning on the day your lease starts.
Tip – At lease signing make sure to get a copy of the front page of your lease as Con Edison and others may ask you for proof of your tenancy.
TV / Phone / Cable – The reason I lump all of these together is that virtually all of the companies offer bundled services. Also not all of the companies mentioned below are able to provide services to all buildings. To find out, ask your property manager, or call the company directly.
Time Warner Cable – Available in virtually all buildings.
Verizon – Just rolled out a new fiber optic network called FIOS.
RCN – Only available in a limited number of buildings.
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