How can I *officially* get dibs on this NYC room share?
June 22, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Getting an room in NYC question...with a twist.

I'm currently deep in the throes of trying to find a room share situation in NYC while living in the midwest. I finally came across something that sounds really promising - the location is absolutely perfect, the price is right, the roommates are exactly the type of people I was hoping for, and the start date for the room's availability is exactly when I was hoping to move.

The bad news is that flights are freaking expensive right now and I really need my money for those first few months in New York. Also, I work long hours and many weekends and so it's really not going to be easy for me to take a trip to look at the place. I've seen a good number of pictures of it, however. I also have a good friend who lives in the neighborhood and knows it well, who is willing to go take a look at the apartment for me.

My question is this - the people living in the apt and I seem to have hit it off pretty well, and it seems like they want me there enough, based on our phone conversations, that they are willing to let me move in without interviewing in person. If this ends up working out, what is the safest way for me to send payment for a security deposit, guarantee that the room will be held for me, etc.? I would not be on the lease for the apartment. The people definitely seem trustworthy, but I want to cover all my bases and not put myself in a precarious situation financially.
posted by lxs to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Paypal is a safe way to transfer money and I wouldn't be concerned about them stealing it. I'm moving to NYC from LA and I have flown out there a couple of times to find a place. Everyone I have interacted with in the apartment-hunting process has been on the up-and-up.
posted by HotPatatta at 3:12 PM on June 22, 2008

If you're about to be willing to live with these people, why not just write a personal check? Or, for that matter, just ask them what they want/need to secure the place for you.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:13 PM on June 22, 2008

Even if you're not on the lease, ask them for a letter or something when you send in your check.
posted by awesomebrad at 4:30 PM on June 22, 2008

Put something in writing regarding them holding the room, and if you really want it to be solid, including paying you a penalty if they take it back (i.e. "lxs will pay $X for the security deposit, which will be returned to lxs if lxs does not end up residing in the apartment. If either side cancels the arrangements before move-in date, the canceler will owe the other side a penalty of $Y.") That way if they do screw you, you'll have some grounds to recover in small claims court the financial costs of making last-minute arrangements.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 6:10 PM on June 22, 2008

Have your friend visit the place. No work address, no "my friend's place". The actual place. Send him pictures of what it should look like, and have him check to make sure it seems ok. Then he can give them the security deposit.

It'll be okay, I promise.
posted by sondrialiac at 7:09 PM on June 22, 2008

Yeah, definitely have your friend visit the place in person and meet with at least one of the roommates face-to-face before you transfer any money. I've had only positive experiences finding housing in NYC on craigslist, but better safe than sorry.
posted by btkuhn at 10:07 PM on June 22, 2008

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