In a city where the average rent is now $3,000, breaking up is especially hard to do.
Something about the hot summer months often signals the end of co-habitation for some couples and room-mates in New York City.
According to a study by Facebook, which tracked data from users that updated their “relationship status” section on the site, summertime is when most people split.
“Across age groups, the summer months are bad news for relationships,” the study reported.
Anthony Lolli, founder and CEO of Rapid Realty Franchise, said that what started out as a good idea — a bunch of friends sharing a place — can turn ugly during the dog days. And fights over air conditioning, cleaning, or even who sleeps where can and do lead to apartment breakups.
The New York Times reported last month that many couples move in together earlier than they normally would in a relationship and separate later because of the difficulty in not only finding an apartment, but an affordable one at that.
Brokers see a pattern as well — with coupling and splitting happening often after the holidays and in the early part of the summer.
Some married couples with kids hold off on a separation until after a school year is over.
Another variable is that summer months are typically the most active for renters, and when many leases start and end.
“Breakup season is usually twice a year, right after the holidays or the onset of summer,” said Douglas Elliman agent Heather McDonough.
“People who are young and single tend to break up this time of year and are kind of looking for summer romance. It’s fun to be single in the summer; you’re out and about meeting people.”
For those looking to get a place and get it fast, luxury rentals (if you can afford them) are often the best way to go.
“Usually a lot of luxury rental buildings are the easiest for quick situations,” said McDonough, adding that furnished apartments can also be helpful for someone needing to get out quick but who doesn’t have a lot of possessions.
“I think everyone, if you’re not married or in a committed relationship, should be careful and make sure your own interests are protected if anything goes south,” said McDonough. “The smartest thing is to break up amicably. Avoid the drama.”
Citi Habitats president Gary Malin, who is also a licensed attorney, says first and foremost; pick the right person to live with.
“Pick a room-mate you know, someone you rely on and trust won’t leave you in a bad situation,” said Malin.
“You’ll hope if someone needs to get out of their obligations, they’ll give you enough time to figure something out.”
Tenants should also reach out to the building owner for additional help marketing the room, said Malin.
“A lot of the time, owners would be more than happy to take back the lease because they can get more money from a future tenant,” he said. “Or they could just give you a fee.”
Jeffrey Schleider, managing director of Miron Properties, says in the busy summer months, his company sees 100 transactions per month for shared apartments.
Schleider sees most shares happening in typically more affordable areas like the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan and Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn.
“Most people who share apartments move to New York in the summer after college, so leases start between June and September,” he said. “Summertime is when people decide to live elsewhere. Sometimes they don’t agree and there are implications for that.”
“I think it’s really important that when roommates leave, they make sure they’re released from any responsibility from the apartment,” said Schleider.
His advice? Have an attorney write up a separate agreement between roommates and guarantors in the event that the living arrangement doesn’t work out.
That way, in case someone leaves and you are stuck with their half of the rent, “that’s the only source of recourse that someone might have,” he said.