This guide provides you with a step-by-step, easy to follow outline of the entire process of renting an apartment in New York City. The rules are different here. The items which we categorize as "necessary" in this guide are in fact crucial. We can guarantee that if you do your homework, the process will flow smoothly for you.
1. Speak to your rental agent. If you are relocating, call for counseling and to determine when to come to New York to begin your search. At that time, schedule your appointment. Your needs will be discussed, questions will be answered about the process, and you will be assigned to an agent best matched to your needs and budget.
2. Organize and prepare the necessary information to bring with you, including:
Letter of employment and salary verification (include start date if not yet employed)
Bank account numbers (checking and savings), credit card numbers
Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlords
Names, addresses and phone numbers of accountant and attorney, if applicable
Names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references
Expected bonus (verification from employer)
Additional sources of income with verification
Personal identification with photograph - driver's license or passport
3. If relocating, prepare the necessary funds before coming to New York. Landlords will not accept personal or out-of-state checks. They require certified funds. Anyone renting or relocating must:
Try to establish a New York bank account before you begin your search. If this is not possible, bring the necessary funds with you.
Bring enough traveler's checks to cover the cost of two (2) month's rent (which must be converted into CERTIFIED CHECKS). This comprises the first month's
rent and one (1) month's security deposit.
Bring funds to cover the broker's fees if your company is not paying covering that expense. Brokerage fees are paid by you, the tenant, in New York City. These fees are due upon signing of the lease unless your employer is paying the real estate commission for which they will be billed directly.
Bring funds to cover a Credit Check: $100 per person, which can be paid by certified check, cash or money order.
Bring funds to cover possible move-in/move-out fees if renting a co-op or condo.
4. The day of your appointment you will meet with the agent who will be working with you. Then you will be taken to each apartment that the agent has scheduled for you to see.
5. When you have made your apartment selection, you will be asked to fill out a rental application and one or more miscellaneous documents. Your agent will negotiate price and lease terms for you. Upon acceptance, a credit report will be done, and your references will be checked.
6. Leases will be signed and checks presented.
7. Your agent will assist you with settling in comfortably once the lease is signed and the move in date established.
Conditions for Renting an Apartment in New York City
As a guideline, you can expect to pay at least 25% of your gross annual salary for rent.
To qualify for tenancy, most landlords require that you annually earn 40 to 50 times the amount of the monthly rent. Remember to take into consideration outstanding loans and liquid assets. Landlords are rigid in New York City, and cooperative buildings can be even more demanding.
If your salary level and total financial picture does not meet the landlord's requirements, you will need a co-signor, or guarantor, to guarantee the lease. Landlords prefer a family member who lives and owns property in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. The guarantor must earn ample income. Extensive financial documentation may be required and paperwork cumbersome. Prepare your potential guarantor for this possibility in advance. Employers will seldom guarantee on behalf of employees.
If you pay taxes outside of the United States, or if you have a housing allowance from your employer, your eligibility is evaluated differently. Discuss these areas with your company's relocation department and with your agent.