Searching for an apartment in NYC requires answering a lot of questions and when you add a kid or three to the mix those questions begin to multiply. Is it a safe neighborhood for children? What is the school zone? Does your chosen building have any rules regarding children? These and more will help point you in the right direction for a new home and keep you clear of those areas to avoid. Whether you already have children or plan on having one in the future, you’ll need to be very specific about what your needs are and how they might change over the years. Here’s what you should consider when looking for a child-friendly apartment in NYC.
How secure are the windows and balcony?
By law, landlords in NYC are required to provide window safety bars for any household that has a child aged under ten. That includes even first-floor apartments. When inspecting an apartment, whether through a private showing or open house, note the condition of the window guards to see if they’re fitted properly. Also, if there’s a balcony, check that it’s stable and secure. If you’re unsure of anything, ask the listing agent.
How secure is the building?
As well as checking the crime rate in the area, you should carefully evaluate how safe the building is. Check that the front door can be locked securely, and whether or not there’s a 24-hour doorman. Make sure to ask about other entrances to the building. If there are then who has access to them? Simply knowing the security and layout of a building will help you sleep better at night.
Are there any building rules regarding children?
By the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for any building to have rules which discriminate against you or your kids. But buildings can still have rules which will impact those with families. Most of these are to do with public safety (not leaving strollers, bicycles or tricycle’s in the hallways) or supervision (requiring any child under 12 to be supervised by an adult). However, some rules can be outright discriminatory, usually through poor wording choice. Know your rights and check this booklet by the National Multifamily Housing Council on the types of rules you might encounter.
What school zone are you in?
While there are options for non-zoned schools, you can still face some tough choices depending on the local school. It’s really worth putting some time into this and enquiring about the quality of the local school. Do parents like it? Do they allow their kids to walk home after school? Are there any parks nearby where your children can play? Your chosen school zone can mean all the difference between your child going to a great school or one well below the average.
Does the building have children close to your child’s age?
Knowing that the building houses other families with young children can be a source of encouragement. It doesn’t just give you a neighbor you can bond with but also a playmate for your child. Not to mention a potential babysitter when the need arises.
How thick are the walls and floors?
Despite their small size, kids can cause quite a ruckus. If you don’t want to constantly receive noise complaints from neighbor’s test how thick the walls and floors are. Or better yet, ask for a ground floor apartment.
Will the apartment meet you’re changing needs?
What are your long-term plans? If you’re buying, then you should already be expecting to stay a minimum of five years. As such your chosen apartment should meet your changing needs over those coming years. Your six-month-old daughter might not require much space now but soon enough she’ll need her own room. Then there’s all the space you’ll need for storing all the stuff that parenthood causes you to build up. Try to think as far ahead as you can and plan for a changing future.