Jun 23, 2024

How to Conduct Your Own NYC Apartment Inspection

How to Conduct Your Own NYC Apartment Inspection

Get in touch

Your message has been submitted.
We will get back to you within 24-48 hours.
Oops! Something went wrong.
Green Box | Capital City Bins

You no longer need to worry about the challenging tasks when it comes to packing and organizing your moving process. With our premium plastic moving bins and green storage bins, this is no longer a concern.

Rent Our Bins

There’s something exciting about finally finding the right apartment in New York. The rental process in big cities can be long, tedious, and disappointing. As you narrow your list of must-haves to fit what’s available within your location and budget, competing against other would-be tenants adds additional pressure. It’s tempting to jump straight into the first ideal place, sign a lease and pay the deposit.

An important step that shouldn’t be overlooked is conducting an inspection before signing the lease. This ensures not only that the apartment meets your immediate needs but also that it will be a safe and comfortable home for the duration of your lease.

AlwaysHave an Inspection Checklist

From structural integrity to the functionality of appliances, an inspection provides insight into the apartment's condition. Similar to a home buyer’s inspection, a thorough walkthrough can identify potential issues early on. In a city known for its diverse architecture and older buildings, such diligence can save you from unforeseen expenses and inconveniences down the road.

Structural and Exterior Inspection

For apartments with external features like balconies or fire escapes, checking their structural integrity is vital for your safety and peace of mind.

Walls and Ceilings

  • Check for cracks, water stains, or signs of mold
  • Ensure walls are straight and ceilings are even

Windows and Doors

  • Test functionality (open/close, lock)
  • Check for drafts or gaps that could affect heating/cooling

Exterior (if applicable)

  • Look for signs of water damage, loose bricks, or deteriorating materials
  • Assess the condition of any balconies or fire escapes.

Plumbing System

The plumbing system is a fundamental aspect of any apartment in New York City, affecting daily comfort and functionality. From water pressure and drainage to detecting leaks and assessing the condition of fixtures, this inspection helps you analyze the quality of the apartment's plumbing infrastructure.

Water Pressure and Temperature

  • Turn on faucets and shower to check pressure and temperature consistency
  • Look for signs of leaks under sinks and around toilets


  • Ensure sinks, tubs, and toilets drain properly without backing up
  • Check for signs of water damage or mold in bathrooms and kitchen.

Electrical System

This inspection focuses on assessing the condition and functionality of outlets, switches, and the breaker box, providing insights into potential electrical hazards and the overall maintenance of the apartment.

Testing outlets for functionality and ensuring proper grounding helps prevent potential fire hazards and ensures compatibility with modern appliances.

Outlets and Switches

  • Test all outlets with a simple plug-in device
  • Check light switches for functionality

Breaker Box

  • Ensure it's easily accessible and labeled correctly
  • Note any signs of overheating or outdated wiring.

Heating and Ventilation

In many older buildings, heating is often provided through radiator systems. During the inspection, assess the condition and functionality of radiators, checking for leaks, proper heating output, and any signs of maintenance issues. Understanding how these systems are regulated and maintained can provide insights into potential heating costs and comfort levels during colder months.

Ventilation is another critical aspect, especially in older buildings where air circulation may rely on windows or older mechanical ventilation systems. Evaluate how well the apartment maintains air quality and regulates humidity, as these factors contribute to overall comfort and health.


  • Test the thermostat and ensure both heating and cooling systems work
  • Inquire about energy efficiency and average utility costs.

Appliances (if included)

Many apartments come equipped with essential appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, and possibly dishwashers and laundry machines. Inspecting kitchen appliances involves testing each appliance's functionality, checking for signs of wear and cleanliness, and ensuring they meet your cooking and storage needs.

Kitchen Appliances

  • Check stove, refrigerator, dishwasher (if present) for functionality
  • Look for signs of wear and cleanliness.

Safety and Security Features

Assess the measures in place to protect residents and their belongings, providing peace of mind in a bustling urban environment.

Entrances and Exits

Assess the security of main entrances and emergency exits, ensuring they are well-maintained, properly lit, and equipped with reliable locks or access control systems. Inquire about security measures such as cameras, intercom systems, and access control policies.

Locks and Windows

Inspect the condition and functionality of locks on doors and windows to prevent unauthorized access and enhance personal safety.

Safety Equipment

Verify the presence and functionality of smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems to ensure early detection and response to emergencies.


Urban living often comes with ambient noise from neighbors, street traffic, and other sources. Understanding the noise environment both within the apartment and its surroundings, will give an idea of how comfortable a living experience can be expected.


Pay attention to the type of flooring in the apartment. Hardwood floors can transmit more noise to downstairs neighbors compared to carpeting or soundproofed materials. If the apartment has hardwood floors, inquire about the building's noise insulation policies or if rugs are required to reduce noise transmission.

Neighborhood Noise

Beyond interior noise, evaluate external factors such as street noise, nearby construction sites, or proximity to nightlife venues. Visiting the apartment during different times of day, especially during peak traffic or nightlife hours, can provide valuable insights into noise levels that may impact your daily life.

Common Areas

Common areas include hallways, stairwells, elevators, and entryways. Look for cleanliness, maintenance, and functionality. Well-maintained common areas indicate a proactive management approach and can enhance your comfort and convenience as a resident.

Check For Any Signs of Damage

During the inspection, pay attention to lighting in hallways and stairwells. Check for any signs of damage, clutter, or pest infestations that could indicate maintenance issues or impact your quality of life.

Elevator and Stairs

  • Test the functionality and cleanliness of elevators, noting any unusual noises or delays.
  • Inspect stairwells for adequate lighting, security, and maintenance. Staircases should be well-maintained and free of hazards.

Hallways and Entryways

  • Check for signs of cleanliness and maintenance in common hallways and entry points.
  • Note any odors, clutter, or signs of pests that could indicate building upkeep issues.

Building Amenities and Infrastructure

Building amenities may include laundry facilities, trash disposal areas, recreational spaces, and communal areas such as rooftops or gardens. Evaluate the condition and accessibility of these amenities to ensure they meet your needs and expectations. For example, check the condition of laundry machines, inquire about maintenance schedules, and understand any associated costs or usage policies.

Laundry Facilities

  • If the building has shared laundry facilities, inspect the condition and cleanliness of the machines.
  • Inquire about availability, usage rules, and any associated costs.

Trash Disposal

  • Check where trash is stored and collected. Ensure bins are clean, properly covered, and not overflowing.
  • Ask about recycling facilities and guidelines.

Key Takeaways

Conducting a thorough inspection before renting an apartment in New York City is not just advisable—it's essential for ensuring your new home meets your expectations and lifestyle needs. Understanding the safety and security features of an apartment building helps renters assess the reliability and responsiveness of building management in maintaining a secure environment.

During your inspection, don't hesitate to delve into the details. Test appliances like ovens and faucets to ensure they work properly. Open doors and windows to gauge noise levels and ventilation. Assess building amenities and common areas to see if they align with your daily routines and preferences.

Take notes and photos to capture any concerns or areas of interest. Discuss these findings openly with the landlord or property manager. Addressing questions about noise levels, building maintenance, or any needed repairs upfront can prevent surprises later on.

By expanding your inspection to include apartment-specific considerations such as heating systems, ventilation, and safety features, you equip yourself with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision. This proactive approach ensures that your new apartment not only meets but exceeds your expectations, providing a comfortable and enjoyable living experience in the vibrant city of New York.

Moving Into a New Apartment?

Contact Capital City Movers for all your moving needs at (718) 619-4881.