Upper West Side Story: 5 Tips for Renting on the UWS

Filled with great schools and top restaurants, the Upper West Side is an extremely popular neighborhood in Manhattan, a favorite of both singles and families alike. These tips for renting in the neighborhood will come in handy for newcomers to the area.

The Upper West Side is a very popular neighborhood with families and singles alike. From top schools to great nightlife, the area has something to offer everyone. If you’re planning on renting here, these tips can help ensure that you start out your Upper West Side rental life on the right foot.

1. Study up on the local schools

The Upper West Side is big with families, and education is a top priority here. Parents looking to go the public school route should look into schools like P.S. 87 or P.S. 344. P.S. 344, also known as The Anderson School, is a citywide gifted and talented school — which means that interested parties should make sure to get their wee ones prepped for the G&T tests since the top students from around the city will all be vying for a seat here. You’ll also find no shortage of private school options, with schools like the Collegiate School, Trinity School, and Bank Street heading up many wish lists.

2. Figure out what type of rental you want

The Upper West Side is like a dessert sampler of architectural styles. From prewar tenement-style buildings to 19th-century brownstones to towering contemporary high-rises, you’ve got many options to choose from. Do you yearn for the convenience and amenities that come with a doorman building? Do you prefer to work out in your own apartment building’s gym instead of having to hoof it over to the nearest fitness club? Do you love the nooks, crannies, moldings and other classic details that come with brownstone living? Make a checklist of what features appeal to you most, and go from there.

3. Get your financials in order

When you’re ready to pull the trigger on an apartment, make sure that you’ve got the financial requirements ready to go. Generally speaking, landlords want tenants who earn at least 40 times the monthly rent of the apartment. This means that if you find a two-bedroom apartment for $3,500 a month, multiply that number by 40, and that’s what you’ll need to earn on a yearly basis to qualify. Some landlords will allow guarantors, which could include anyone from the Bank of Ma and Pa to an insurer — essentially, anyone who will guarantee that they’ll pay the rent on the apartment if you default.

4. Get to know your neighborhood merchants

One of the best things about the Upper West Side is the sheer number of places that pick up and/or deliver. Whether you want someone to collect your dirty laundry and return it fresh and clean within hours, or deliver steaming bowls of spicy Vietnamese pho to your door on a cold winter night, your heart’s desire is likely a mere cell phone call or website visit away. Familiarize yourself with the merchants in your neighborhood and what their hours are.

5. Estimate your cost of living

Creating a financial breakdown of things like how often you eat out, how many times a week you take a cab, how much you pay in school tuition, and what your entertainment budget looks like can help you get a realistic view of how much it will cost you to rent in the area. Calculate your budget accordingly to help make sure that your Upper West Side story is a great one.


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