The best websites for finding rental apartments in NYC

The PropertyClub Team
Feb 17th 2020
Searching for an apartment in NYC? Here’s our list of the best websites for NYC rentals, from no-fee apartments, sublets, & short term rentals to roommate sites and apps.

We know that finding a rental apartment in NYC can be tough, with many sites filled with fake, misleading, and duplicate listings, so we’ve come up with a list of the best websites and apps to find your next home. 

What are the best websites to find a NYC apartment for rent? 

PropertyClub: If you’re looking for transparency, with listings direct from the source, there’s no better site than our very own. That being said, as we are a newer player, we don’t have as many listings as some of the older sites out there, but the overall quality of our listings is better. You won’t have to worry about dealing with thousands of duplicate listings or numerous middlemen and extra fees. You’ll also find some great resources on our blog, from information on how to apply for an apartment in NYC, to our market reports and studies, to information on affordable housing, including rent-stabilized apartments and the NYC housing lottery.  

Localize.City: Another newer site that’s focused on providing New Yorkers with the best data and listings, Localize has a good deal of inventory, and really website modern design and user experience. That being said, it might take some experimenting to learn how to navigate their site as it’s not the most intuitive. For anyone who wants access to as much information as possible, Localize is a fantastic option, but if you happen to be less interested in all the available address and location data for each apartment, and prefer just to see listings, you might feel a bit of information overload.

Streeteasy: The grandaddy of NYC real estate sites, Streeteasy has a ton of listings, and is always a good starting place if you’re looking for quantity. That being said, be prepared to sacrifice a bit when it comes to quality. Streeteasy charges advertisers a variety of fees, and many no-fee buildings and landlords will not advertise on the platform. This means you won’t find all the inventory or even the best deals as it’s common for the website to sell ad space in no-fee buildings to brokers who might charge a fee or use a landlord concession like a free month of rent to cover their fee. Streeteasy also recently became a brokerage, so their listing quality will likely continue to decline. 

What is the best site to find a no-fee apartment in NYC?

Any of the three sites mentioned above (PropertyClub, Localize, and Streeteasy) are great places to look for NYC no-fee rentals, but there are also a few other websites out there that deserve mention as well. You can certainly find a diamond in the rough as all of the below sites have some unique inventory, including for rent by owner listings, but make sure you’re prepared to do a little extra legwork sifting through listings.

Apartments.com: If you’re looking for a no-fee apartment in a full-service, luxury building, Apartments.com will be a good place to start your search. The site puts an emphasis on larger properties and has relationships with many of the city’s biggest developers and landlords, so you’ll find some of the most up-to-date listings and pricing for luxury buildings here. Many of their featured buildings also have 3D floor plans and virtual tours of the apartments and property amenities. While the site’s forte is luxury rental listings, it still lacks inventory when it comes to affordable apartments for rent. 

Facebook: There are some fantastic groups for apartment hunting on Facebook. One of the best and oldest is Ghostlight Housing (formerly Gypsy Housing), where you’ll find tons of apartments and rooms for rent. While the group is meant to be peer to peer with only no-fee listings, you’ll also find some broker listings on there. You also won’t be able to set advanced search filters, so be prepared to do quite a bit of browsing. That being said, you’ll find an incredible amount of unique inventory. There are plenty of other Facebook groups out there, including ones focused on housing in Brooklyn, finding roommates in NYC, student housing, furnished apartments, and short-term sublets. 

What are the best websites for short term rentals and summer sublets in NYC?

There isn’t really "a best" site for finding a short term rental as most sites have a small amount of unique inventory. For example, you can always search for sublets on Craigslist or Facebook groups like Ghostlight Housing, but you’ll need to dig through a lot of junk to find anything. Below are a few sites that are more focused on short-term apartment rentals.

Flip lease: If you’re looking for short term housing, Flip is a good option as it’s a peer to peer rental marketplace, and most of the apartments on there are lease breaks, lease assignments or subleases. Naturally, this also makes the site an excellent place for finding a summer sublet. One of the best things about Flip is that you’ll often find subsidized apartments on there so you can score a great deal. This usually happens when someone is in a crunch, either needing to sublet their apartment while they’re traveling or needing to assign their lease or sublease for the remainder of their lease if they get relocated or move away from the city. As it’s tough to find tenants for such limited terms, the listers will often subsidize the rent or offer a concession like a free month, which can be significant on a short 3 or 4-month lease term. Flip also tries to streamline the process, as subletting an apartment in NYC can be quite tricky. 

Leasebreak: Similar to Flip, Leasebreak started as a peer to peer marketplace, so it has numerous short-term rentals and sublets. As it’s the older of the two sites, it often has a decent amount of unique inventory. That being said, Leasebreak has tried to become a jack of all trades recently, integrating thousands of broker listings, so you should be prepared to do a bit of filtering. It’s also an older site that is lacking in terms of design and user experience. 

What are the best sites for finding furnished apartments in NYC?

If you’re looking for long-term furnished housing, you’ll typically find the best deals on sites like PropertyClub and Streeteasy. You might also benefit from hiring a real estate broker to represent you as oftentimes agents will be able to negotiate a better deal on a furnished apartment.

If you’re looking for short term furnished housing, we’d recommend starting on a site like Flip or Leasebreak, as you’ll find the best pricing there, albeit availability may be limited. You can also try various Facebook groups, especially if you’re trying to avoid a more formal rental application. Below are a few other websites where you can search for short-term furnished housing. 

Craigslist: Craigslist gets a bad reputation for good reason. There are tons of fake listings, duplicate listings, and scams on the site, but when it comes to sublets and furnished housing, it’s not half bad. Just make sure you navigate to their “sublets & temporary” housing directory and filter for only furnished apartments. You’ll find hundreds of furnished rooms and apartments for rent throughout NYC. The main thing to remember when it comes to Craigslist is that if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. And be sure to guard yourself against scams that ask for you to submit a deposit or rental application prior to seeing a property in person. 

Airbnb- When it comes to inventory, Airbnb reigns supreme. You'll find listings in all corners of New York City, and the Airbnb website and app are well-designed and very user-friendly. Terms are also super-flexible, so if you need something for 45 days or starting in the middle of the month, it won't be a problem. The main drawback of renting through the website is that the pricing is typically higher than elsewhere, and that's before the service fees that Airbnb tacks on.

Apt212: Although Apt212 is an agency, meaning that most of its listings will be a bit pricier than if you found them directly, you’ll enjoy better service and a seamless experience when you rent one of their apartments. They offer a good selection of furnished rooms and apartments throughout the city and are a great option if you’re looking for convenience. 

What are the best sites for finding roommates in NYC?

Finding a room or roommate used to be very tricky, but as coliving has become a popular trend, more and more companies are starting to offer rooms for rent and roommate matching services. Besides checking out the sites below, you can also try Facebook, with groups like Ghostlight Housing being good starting points. Nowadays, what's harder than finding a roommate is qualifying for an apartment and understanding the nuances of living with a roommate. The real challenges are related to tasks like drafting a roommate agreement to finding a lease guarantor or even figuring out how to build a temporary wall to flex your apartment. 

Nooklyn: As a Brooklyn based real estate brokerage, you wouldn't necessarily expect to see Nooklyn at the top of a list for best websites to find roommates in NYC, but the fact of the matter is that they have an excellent roommate matching service. Their agents are also highly experienced in finding apartments that work well for roommates, as well as walking roommates through the rental process and ensuring they are qualified before they apply. 

Perfect Strangers of NYC: Another brokerage, Perfect Strangers, is exclusively focused on rooms and roommates. You can expect them to be very involved throughout the process as they're more reminiscent of a matchmaking service than a brokerage, putting a focus on trying to find the perfect roommate for you. They're pretty good at what they do, as referenced by their dozens of glowing reviews on Yelp. 

Roommate Websites and Apps: There are a number of roommate websites and apps out there you can also try. Roomi is the most well-known roommate app, and they've been around for a few years, but they seem to be shrinking. Other options include Diggz and Roomzoom.