Though they're receiving a strong challenge from larger apartment firms offering lease agreements for upscale high-rise apartments, a report says small-time landlords still dominate the rental scene in New York City.

The New York Times reported that in the past few yeas, brownstones suffered because larger rental property management companies were able to offer concessions and rental perks to lure tenants to luxury apartments. However with many of those units now filled up, concessions have dried up, meaning that brownstones have experienced a surge in new interest.

It's a different market among brownstones, the report added, because many of these landlords are less concerned with getting the right price as they are in finding the right tenant. Many live on-site, meaning they'll have to share space and services with their renter. For that reason, they tend to spend less time marketing their units widely and instead rely on word-of-mouth or relationships with local rental brokers.

At the same time, on-site landlords could benefit the most from tools such as online credit screening and criminal background checks. Their proximity to their tenants means they should be especially careful in picking out the right renter. A report in Apartments Magazine added that tenant screening can help small-time landlords avoid rental scams as well.