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The top reason renters break their lease – and why it’s not necessarily a disaster

Source: BrickUnderground BY: Leigh Kamping-Carder

 

It’s the kind of dilemma that plagues renters in a pricey city like New York: a plum job on the West Coast lands in your lap, but you’ve still got time left on your lease. You can’t miss the opportunity, but you definitely can’t foot the bill for those extra months of rent.

Well, you’re not alone. It turns out that most people who are breaking their leases are doing it because of their jobs, at least among users of Leasebreak, a listings website for short- to mid-term rentals.

Leasebreak polled users about why they had to cut their leases short, finding that about 40 percent were advertising their apartments because of “job relocation.” Less than half as many respondents listed “purchasing a home” as the reason to move, while less popular answers included “personal reasons,” “moving in with a partner,” and a “growing family.” Almost 12 percent wrote in their own responses, which ranged from decamping to Chicago for school to needing a bigger apartment. The site also asked users about where they were moving, finding that almost half (47.8 percent) were relocating within the city, while 36.7 percent were headed someplace else in the country and 15.5 percent were moving overseas.

The good news is that your landlord may very well be sympathetic to your need to relocate for a new gig. In fact, if you’re upfront with your landlord about why you need to leave, you’re more likely to get their cooperation, as we’ve reported previously. And under New York State law, landlords are required to let tenants out of leases within 30 days if you can find a “qualified” replacement.

Leasebreak, dubbed “the marketplace for misfit leases” by founder Phil Horigan, aims to fill the gap between sites like Airbnb that offer weekly or monthly rentals and the regular one- or two-year leases that most landlords want, says Horigan. A broker at the Corcoran Group, he launched a beta version of the site in October. It’s free to list and browse apartments, and some controls are in place to preserve the quality of the listings. For example, each posting includes the real address (to cut down on fake or duplicate listings) and a green checkmark if a tenant has already secured the approval of her landlord to break the lease.

Here’s how the data break down:

Why are you breaking your lease?

  1. Job relocation: 40.2 percent
  2. Purchasing a home: 18.2 percent
  3. Personal reasons: 15.5 percent
  4. Moving in with partner: 5.9 percent
  5. Growing family: 5.3 percent
  6. Relationship break-up: 2.1 percent
  7. Job loss: 0.6 percent
  8. Medical reasons: 0.6 percent
  9. Other: 11.7 percent

(The data, collected between April 1 and Aug. 31, are based on the responses of 341 users who were breaking their leases and had listed their apartments on the site. It doesn’t include responses from users who weren’t breaking their leases, such as apartment owners or landlords with short-term rentals.)

Living in Long Island City, The Manhattan Suburb with a 3-minute Commute

Source: Brick Underground By: Alyse Whitney

 

The first few stops on the 7 train in Queens let you off in Long Island City, a formerly industrial neighborhood that’s luring more and more residents. The buildings are a mix of old walk-ups, family homes, and brownstones in the center of LIC, but once you walk out to the water, a handful of large luxury towers and condos have popped up, much like what happened to Williamsburg over the past few years. The neighborhood hasn’t quite become the next up-and-coming place to live, with most of the “entertainment” focused around dining out on the weekend at a mix of old-school and new spots. Still, we chatted with some residents and business owners in the area to find out what they love about the neighborhood—and what they desperately wish it had. (Hint: more shopping.)

A small town in the shadow of the city: “It’s a quiet, family-focused neighborhood. Older people live here for years and now younger people are moving in. You go to the same restaurants and see the same people, so it starts to feel like a small town. When you move to this neighborhood, you stay here.” - Luis, who has managed Cafe Henri in LIC for 11 years and rents a two-bedroom “A lot of people move here, but a lot of people just sleep here. The rest of their entire life is in Manhattan. One of the downsides of the neighborhood is the residents haven’t realized that they’re in a neighborhood. It’s still so new. It doesn’t have its own identity yet. There’s no ‘let’s go walk around in the neighborhood.’” - Nick, who owns restaurant Open Door and has a three-minute commute from a loft in Greenpoint “People told me that moving from the Upper East Side, they find there’s more room and the best view of Manhattan.” - Valery, who also commutes in from a two-bedroom in Greenpoint

 

Call it South Beach North: ”The middle of Midtown Manhattan is two minutes and 35 seconds away at Grand Central Station. If you walk down to the water, there’s a breeze and space and baby carriages. You want to lie down in the grass, and if you do, there’s no one lying next to you. It’s crazy. Your entire life could exist in Manhattan, and two minutes later, you could feel like you’re down in South Beach before it was developed. That’s what it feels like down on the water; it feels like Miami. There’s all these glass buildings and all this space—well, at least in the summer. In the winter, it’s kind of cold.” - Nick

The food is the most exciting part: “It’s residents and restaurants. It’s good residents and good restaurants, but that’s it. I like Manetta’s, an Italian restaurant that’s been there for 30 years. There’s a lot of old school places that have been serving the locals for 30 to 50 years, and now [there are] new places serving the younger people in the neighborhood.” - Nick “Everyone’s going to be a regular in restaurants here. You get to know people. You can find any cuisine, too—Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, Italian. I like Casa Enriqueand Skinny’s Cantina for Mexican, Shi for Japanese, and Tournesol and Cafe Henri for French.” - Luis

Your life could be a TV show—seriously! “Sweetleaf is a coffee shop where they shoot some cop shows. They do a ridiculous amount of shooting on Long Island City because it has the urban vibe. Streets are blocked off for shows like Law and Order: SVU, The Good Wife, and White Collar. Silvercup Studios is right here and a lot of shooting happens there.” -Nick ”Jerry Seinfeld did a secret show two years ago at The Laughing Devil comedy club. That’s a good spot.” - Valery

You won’t shop ’til you drop: “I can’t find anything here. I go to Manhattan and go to Trader Joe’s and get on the subway, or I go over to Greenpoint or Williamsburg. There’s like one grocery store.” - Jessica, who has shared a one-bedroom with her sister for three years ”That’s one weird thing about this neighborhood. There’s no retail. If you have a dog or a baby, there’s a few places you can buy some stuff, but that’s it. There’s no book stores, record stores, clothing stores. People don’t come to Long Island City to shop.” - Nick

Weekends are the best time to be here: “There’s no nightlife, but eventually I think it will be at the riverside near the towers. The weekend here is the busiest time—from Friday to Sunday, everyone is out and about and eating at restaurants.” - Luis “I like to go to brunch in different places around here on the weekend, but during the week I usually stay in Manhattan for happy hour or dinner before coming home. … Once I saw Sarah Jessica Parker at MoMa PS1, but everyone knows about that, right? The SculptureCenter [museum] is also pretty cool, but both are kind of overrated.” - Jessica 

Transportation is a mixed bag: “Most people take the subway. You can see a few cabs going by, especially near subway stops, but it isn’t as much traffic as Manhattan. My friends on the water use Uber instead.” - Jessica “The 7 and G are close to the center of Long Island City, but it could be a 20-minute walk from the water front. It depends on where you live since the whole thing is centered around one subway stop.” - Nick