Once you've found an apartment, make sure you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Your rights are best protected if you have a written lease. If you have an oral lease, you may be subject to restrictions that you aren't aware of. For example, even month-to-month tenants with an oral lease must give 30 days notice before vacating an apartment; failure to do so may result in loss of your security deposit.

New York City has many laws protecting the rights of tenants. You may be entitled to interest on your rent security deposit. You may also be entitled to withhold rent if repairs aren't made in your apartment in a timely manner. You may want to contact the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (phone: 212-480-6444) if you have any questions. If you go to www.tenant.net/nyc.html, you can familiarize yourself with basic tenant rights, remedies and obligations.

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