So you think you have finally found the right apartment? Not so fast.
Many New York City landlords expect to see some hefty financial documentation from prospective tenants and their guarantors. To increase your chances of landing an apartment, brokers suggest collecting the following paperwork before even starting a search and, if possible, submitting it the same day you see an apartment.
Here is what you will need:
• Pay stubs, if you are already working, typically for the last two months
• Otherwise, a letter from an employer stating your position, salary, length of employment or anticipated start date
• Tax returns for at least two years
• Recent bank statements, typically for the last three months
• Proof of other income, like revenue from stocks, securities, real estate or trust funds
• Contact information for previous landlords
• Personal references
• Business references
• A credit report (many landlords require a score of at least 600 and would like to see 700; most will also do their own credit check, for which they charge a nonrefundable fee, usually included in the application fee)
• Enough money on hand to cover initial costs
For that ideal studio that rents for $2,300 a month, you will likely also need:
• A nonrefundable application fee of $50 to $150
• The first month’s rent of $2,300
• The last month’s rent of $2,300 (this is not always required, as some landlords don’t ask for it)
• A broker’s fee of 12 to 15 percent of the annual rent, or $3,312 to $4,140 (unless you get lucky and find an apartment without a broker)
The total: somewhere between $4,650 and $11,190.
What if you don’t have enough income or a guarantor? Here are a few options:
• Try renting a condo: Individual condo owners tend to be more lenient about paperwork; while management companies might ask for six months or a year of rent up front, an individual might want just one extra month (although there may be an additional condo board application fee).
• Work with a company like Rhino, Jetty or Insurent: For a fee, they offer guarantor services and money for things like security deposits.
• Find a room share or sublet: Jack Clausen, the creative marketing officer at Gypsy Housing, said that room shares posted on the Facebook site range from $650 to more than $1,500. But while potential roommates may not ask you to submit pay stubs, they can still be fussy about employment and references, and might grill you on your kitchen habits.
• Look for apartments in the city’s less expensive pockets and in no-frills buildings.
• Throw up a wall: In listing parlance, a “flex” one-bedroom means that the landlord will not mind if you put up a wall in a studio to create another bedroom. But check with building management before signing a lease to make sure this is allowed.