If you want to get the scoop about a building from a prior occupant (and learn what it’ll really be like to live there), you might have to do some harmless snooping. Those lucky enough to find a rent-controlled apartment can dig through the records that the New York State Division of Housing Community and Renewal (25 Beaver St between Broad and New Sts; 866-275-3427, dhcr.state.ny.us) maintains for such units. For the rest of us, there’s the Internet: PropertyShark allows you to type in an address and perform a property-report search, which includes an ownership summary and any phone records they have from previous tenants. Of course, you can always go the more direct route: “Ask the neighbors on either side of the apartment,” says Barak Realty agent James Miller. Once you have the name, you’re a few clicks away from being Facebook friends.
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