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6 Jun 2018

Sure, New York City apartments are tiny. However, there’s one awesome thing about living in an apartment building: Many of them have rooftops with stunning views, and you can escape to these rooftops during hot days to cool down, get some fresh air and relish the dazzling cityscape around you. If you’re not sure what you should do on your rooftop or need ways to take advantage of the space, check out some fun ideas below. Just make sure you have permission from your landlord to access and use the space before you go up there!

Set up a Garden

We all miss the greenery when we’re constantly surrounded by concrete sidewalks and steel skyscrapers. You can have a little patch of green of your own by starting a garden on the roof. Get large planters or a raised garden bed, fill it with soil, and plant seedlings. You can either tend to a garden of beautiful flowers, or you can grow fruits and vegetables of your own. Just make sure to add some chicken wire to keep out any unwanted pests. Ask your neighbors if they want to join you in planting or taking care of the garden. A shared rooftop garden is a great way to bond with and get to know the people who live around you.

Lounge in the Sun

If you’re someone who loves soaking up rays, get a lounge chair or two for your rooftop; then spend the hot days you have off work lounging in your swimwear or tank top, reading a book or magazine. Make sure you put on some sunscreen first, or get an umbrella so you can tuck away in the shade.

Add a Dining Table and Chairs

Sometimes the hot days are just too hot to spend outside in the sun. However, summer evenings in New York can be lovely and temperate. So, add a dining table and chairs to the roof. Cook dinner in your apartment, load up some trays, and enjoy it while you sit outside. Eating dinner outside on the roof is a great way to cool down after standing over a hot stove or oven cooking, and there’s no more romantic backdrop to a dinner than the twinkling lights of Manhattan, Brooklyn and beyond.

Screen Movies

Are you a movie buff? Consider setting up a projector screen — or using a big flat wall if your building has one on the roof. Bring up a project and an extension cord, and hook your computer up to project a movie onto your screen. Talk to your neighbors about joining you; you can have a regular weekly or monthly movie night for your community. Everyone who participates in the movie night can take turns picking movies, or you can theme your movie series by only showing movies of a certain genre or era — horror movies, film noir, 1990s rom-coms — whatever floats your boat!

If you are looking for an apartment in New York City with a rooftop you can enjoy, look no further than NoFee Rentals. Many of the apartment rentals from NoFee Rentals have roof spaces that are available to building tenants. In fact, many even have private roof decks that offer awesome views and great amenities like picnic tables, garden space and barbecue grills. Start your search now.

28 Mar 2018

Going to school in New York City can be a thrill for international students. Not only is NYC one of America’s greatest metro areas and an exciting introduction to the country, it’s also a mecca of blended cultures, cultural experiences and rich history — a great place to learn from your life outside the classroom (as well as the classes you take within). If you are planning to move to New York to go to school, the process may feel daunting. However, by doing some of the legwork in advance, you can ensure you find an apartment that suits your needs — and be certain that you end up living in an area you like. Learn more about how here.

Choosing a Neighborhood

New York City is a big place! Even though Manhattan itself is only 22.82 square miles, it has countless neighborhoods — and that doesn’t even include the rest of the boroughs. So how do you choose a neighborhood in a city that you’ve never even spent time in?

One of the best ways is to do research about the city. Our Leasing Agents can provide information about the flavor and vibe of the neighborhoods our buildings are in, what amenities they offer, and how easy it is to get around. Ask friends and family who live in the city what they like and dislike most about their neighborhood. Take to social media and ask your network – you’re sure to get some honest answers.

While you do research about different areas in New York, consider your own priorities. Do you have important classes and/or a job that you have to get to quickly and easily? If so, you’ll want to consider choosing a neighborhood near your work or school, or one that offers easy access to public transportation. Do you love trying new foods, checking out new restaurants or having fun nights out with your friends? If so, look at what restaurants, bars and entertainment options are located in each area.

Looking at Apartments

When you’re across the world and you still need to rent an apartment, you might feel daunted. After all, how can you make sure that the home really suits your needs? Luckily, technology can help with that. Find a friend in town who is willing to go look at apartments for you, and have that friend call you on Skype or FaceTime while they tour the apartment. This will give you a live, real look at what the space looks and feels like, and ensure that you don’t end up living somewhere that doesn’t feel right to you. Also, ask for pictures of the apartment (including closets, bathrooms, entryways and more) so you can think about your decision after your conversation is over.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Renting an Apartment Sight Unseen

If you don’t have a friend living in the city, consider getting in touch with a real estate agent who can also lead you on a FaceTime tour of potential apartments.

Finding a Roommate

If you are moving to New York as an international student, there’s a good chance you’ll want a roommate. Housing in New York City is expensive but becomes much more affordable when you can share the costs. The best option for finding a roommate is to tap into your network and ask whether anyone has a friend or family member looking for a roommate. Ask your parents to get social and talk to their friends. Other options for finding roommates in NYC include tools like Symbi or SpareRoom.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Living with Roommates Successfully in New York

We understand that moving to New York City as an international student is as exciting as it is daunting and we’re here to help. Let us find you the perfect apartment and answer all your questions about life in the greatest city on earth.

7 Feb 2018

It’s time to write the checks for your new rental apartment — the what and why of a security deposit

When completing the lease on your new Manhattan apartment rental, there’s one check you may have wondered about: the security deposit. You ask, “Why do I need to pay a security deposit?”  The answer is quite clear.

What is a security deposit?

A security deposit is money, aside from rent, that is kept in an escrow account. So along with the first month’s rent, renters need to write a second check for the security deposit, most often in the amount of one month’s rent at the time of signing the lease. In certain cases, the equivalent of 2 months rent may be requested. This added financial cushion allows No Fee Rentals greater flexibility to approve leases for those who may have difficulty renting, such as tenants or guarantors with limited credit history.

Why is a security deposit required?

A security deposit is used in case of damage to the rental apartment or other lease violations. Upon termination of the lease, if no damage has occurred to the apartment – just the normal wear and tear — the entire security deposit is returned plus any accrued interest. However, if there has been damage – let’s say someone makes a large hole in the wall when moving the couch — or leaves behind the couch OR moves out without paying the last month’s rent, money is taken out of the escrow account to cover the rent or cost of repairs; any remaining balance is returned to the renter.

How long does it take to get a security deposit returned?

A security deposit is returned relatively quickly, say 4-6 weeks.

What you can do to ensure your security deposit is returned

Of course, we recommend that you take care of your rental apartment. We also highly recommend that prior to moving in – whether to a picturesque studio near Waverly Place or a multibedroom share on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, that you do a careful walk through and let our building manager know of any pre-existing conditions. Your cellphone camera is perfect for documenting.  And while all apartments are thoroughly cleaned, inspected and painted before a new tenant moves in, No Fee Rentals/Jakobson Properties will take care of any of concerns if given notice prior to move in or within a couple of days thereafter.


24 Jan 2018

When you secure a new apartment, it’s easy to let your imagination run wild with all of the future possibilities for decor, parties and life changes on the horizon. But while you’re packing up your old place, it’s important to keep your mind focused on the here and now so you can create a useful first-night landing kit. Here’s what you’ll need.

Assembling Your Landing Kit

What is a landing kit? It’s everything you’ll need to have on hand to get comfortable and have a smooth transition for your first night in the new place. It’s the collection of things you’ll want to separate from all your various books, decorations, kitchen supplies and other odds and ends so you can take care of daily routine things like brushing your teeth and charging your phone. You can use a suitcase or a box to assemble your landing kit; the container isn’t as important as what you put in it.

As far as what goes inside, it’s a good idea to plan this in advance and make a list. You may even want to pack your landing kit before you start packing up the rest of the stuff in your old place so you don’t accidentally put important stuff like medications in a random place during the moving shuffle. If you’re using a cardboard box for your landing kit, make sure you mark it clearly. Be sure to bring it with you to your new place or have the movers pack it last so you know where it is and can set it aside so it doesn’t get mixed in with the other boxes, bags and containers that contain your life. You’ll want to have the landing kit on hand so you can get your new apartment liveable and comfortable as soon as possible.

Packing and Customizing For Your Needs

Before you start packing, remember that your landing kit should contain the essentials you’ll need for a day or two only. You can think of it like packing for a vacation, only with a few extra items that hotels usually provide for you. Double check your list and make sure everything you need is on there. Here are some suggestions for what a landing kit might look like:

  • Bedding (sheets, blankets and pillows so you can make the bed)
  • Bathroom supplies (toilet paper, towels, essential personal care items)
  • Electronics (phone charger, computer and charger)
  • Everyday essentials (phone, purse/wallet, keys, medications, glasses/contacts)
  • Kitchen basics (reusable water bottles, hand soap, paper towels)
  • Clothes (pajamas, clothes for the next day, outerwear if needed)
  • Pet supplies (bed, familiar toys, food, water bowl)

The suggestions above are general; everyone’s needs are different, and your landing kit should reflect what’s essential for your lifestyle and what’s available in your new place. For example, if you’re moving into an apartment with roommates, you might not need to bring toilet paper for the bathrooms or hand soap for the kitchen because there will probably already be some when you arrive.

20 Dec 2017

NYC can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. If you’re heading off to the big city or are the parent of someone who is, here are a few tips to help you find an apartment and start life off on the right foot.

Let’s do this!

Budgeting, Paying Rent on Time

First apartment? Create a budget early on so you’ll know how much you’ll be able to allocate to rent. Look for apps like Dave Ramsey or You Need a Budget for tips on rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, etc.

Roommate or Solo?

Ready for a culture shock? NY apartments can be really small and expensive. Studio apartments in New York City (rooms with kitchenette and bathroom) run $1,100 to $2,500/month. Expect 150-400 square feet. They’re dorm size. If you like privacy – awesome!


  • Check for deadbolt and chain locks, fire escapes, window locks, bars and gates if ground level.
  • Check for well-lit lobbies and stairs, inspected elevators, security doors with buzzers, secure locks, security cameras, etc.
  • Check online news for crime.
  • Look for laundromats, restaurants, bus stops and train stations, police stations, a library, shops, deli, hospital, houses of worship, gyms, bike paths, or parks.
  • View apartments when you’re ready to give a deposit. They go fast, but don’t pick the first place.
  • Visit at night. Is it safe? Are the walls thin? Ask building tenants about the area.


    • Create a written contract outlining terms including rent, utilities, phone, etc.
    • Outline communal spaces: the living room, kitchen and bath only.
    • Check for room door locks. Add one. If one already exists, change it.
    • Check roommate references. Ask neighbors. Confirm jobs. You don’t want them hitting you up for loans or hitting on you for favors.
    • Don’t give cash for utilities. Buy a Staples receipt book.
    • For strangers, run free background checks. Ask for ID. NYers have reported heavy drinkers, items stolen, drunk boyfriends popping up, hidden room cameras, etc.


When to Call Mom

You miss her cooking and family time.

You just wanted to say hi and that everything is okay.

You just saw the biggest water bug and he refuses to leave.

When It’s Better to Call the Super Instead

The water bug now has a friend.

You see a ceiling leak or the tub or toilet is flooding.

There’s a light out in the lobby, elevator, stairwell or elsewhere.

General safety tips include:

      • Blend: NYers dress down with inconspicuous over-shoulder bags and umbrellas, water, snacks, and IDs.
      • Don’t carry purses or wallets. Hide money on your person.
      • Don’t carry maps, cash or phones openly like tourists. Stay in groups.
      • Don’t walk while talking on your phone or with headphones on.
      • In bars, don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
      • Language barrier? Travel in groups.
      • Keep cash, ID, birth certificates, computers, electronics, passports and visas in safes.
      • New Yorkers can push. Don’t push back.
      • Research areas with maps and landmarks before visiting.
      • Walk away from strangers starting conversations.

What Is a Guarantor?

To rent one of our apartments, you’re going to need one of these. A guarantor can be a parent who can cosign your lease. They’ll backstop you in case you can’t (or don’t) pay the rent.

Whether you’re headed to NYC for a summer job, internship or just moving off campus, you’re going to want to look for an apartment that’s walking distance or an easy commute. Search our listings of available apartments or give us a call and speak with a Leasing Associate. We’ll help you find the perfect apartment that works within your budget and meets all your other requirements. IT ALL STARTS HERE.

6 Dec 2017

NYC is one of the most magical places in the world during the holidays. From the tree at Rockefeller Center to the latkes at the 2nd Avenue Deli to all of the beloved sites made famous in Home Alone 2, there is a certain spirit that takes over the city when the end of the year rolls around, and that spirit touches everyone who lives there.

If you’re new to NYC, one of the most important city customs to learn as the holidays roll around is tipping the people who work for you and around you. Tipping people in your daily life during the holidays can help them feel noticed and appreciated, and it can help solidify good relationships for you in the year to come.

Here is a helpful guide to tipping in NYC around the holidays so you can make sure you give a token to the people who matter but don’t spend any extra dollars on people who don’t need to be tipped.

Who You Should Tip During the Holidays

Door Attendant

If you live in a building with a door attendant, it’s customary to give a tip as a gift for the holidays. The amount that you give can range from $25-$125. According to a recent survey, many door attendants receive $25-$75 per apartment. Think generously when you’re tipping your door attendant, but stay within your means.


Many rental buildings have a superintendent (or super) who takes care of maintenance issues, oversees the building and so on. If you have a super in your building, consider tipping at the holidays. You can tip a super a similar amount to a door attendant — or less, depending on how involved they are. If you never see your super, consider simply tipping $20-$25 to express thanks for their work and maintain a good rapport.

Maintenance People

Sometimes, we may send a staff member or maintenance person into your place to do the manual work of making a repair. You can tip that person for their work at the end of the year. You only need to give a small token, between $20 and $50.

Dog Walker

Don’t forget to tip the person who walks your beloved furry friend while you’re at work. You can give your dog walker a small token, like $25, or up to an amount equal to a week’s worth of payments.

Who You Don’t Need to Tip During the Holidays

Your Postal Delivery Person

By law, postal delivery people cannot receive any gift greater than $20. However, if you feel like your mail carrier has done a great job and deserves a gift, consider also getting them a token that costs less than $20, like a bottle of wine or a gift card to a favorite coffee shop.

Living in the city can be delightful around the holiday season, so don’t forget to spread a little bit of your cheer in the form of a small tip. By showing how much you appreciate everything that they do, you can help ensure that the people around you also get to have a lovely NYC holiday season.