The Application Process
The application process for renting New York City apartments in the form of co-ops or condos is somewhat different than in many other cities. The process varies from building to building, of course, but it’s best to be over-prepared rather than caught off-guard with a lack of needed information and records.
Following are some general guidelines based on perhaps the strictest requirements you are likely to face.
- Proof of income: including 2 most recent pay stubs or a bank statement confirming direct deposit and last 2 years’ tax returns (must state gross income)
- Employer verification letter signed by your supervisor or HR, on company letterhead, and including your start date, title, a statement of your salary and any guaranteed bonus, and your housing allowance if applicable.
- Clear color copy of driver’s license or passport
- Information showing the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your employer, banker, previous landlords, and accountant and guarantor if applicable.
- Most recent 3 months of bank statements or stock portfolio
- First month’s rent, security deposit and application fee (which is usually $25-100).
NOTE: The rent and security deposit, usually in the form of cashier’s checks, are due at lease signing. In the absence of an established New York account, traveler’s checks are usually acceptable, as is a wire transfer to the appropriate account.
- The brokerage fee of 15% of the annual rent or less (which also applies to no-fee apartments)
- credit report
Most landlords require that tenants renting New York City apartments have annual income equaling 40 times the amount of the monthly rent. Also taken into consideration are outstanding loans, assets liquidation, credit, and rent history, etc.
The landlord may require a lease guarantor if the prospective tenant meets all qualifications other than the financial ones. In the case of a renter defaulting on the lease, the guarantor must be financially qualified to pay the lessee’s rent as well as comfortably meet the guarantor’s own financial responsibilities. A guarantor is typically required to have an annual income 80 times the amount of the lessee’s monthly rent.
Often, landlords require a Tri-state guarantor and prefer a relative. Renters being relocated by their company and needing a guarantor are usually able to have the company provide a guarantee.
The credit check fee is in the range of $25-100. There should be no delinquent or collection accounts, over 60% available credit, and no substantial amount of debt. Landlords will have different standards and tolerance levels related to credit.
First-time renters in New York City who do not have a credit history in the United States are often required to post a supplemental security deposit, pay additional rent up-front, or provide a local guarantor. As it is with credit, these things vary according to the requirements of the landlord or board. You may also be asked to show proof of legal status.
Leasing a co-op or sub-leasing a condominium will require board or association approval. Whereas condominiums are usually more lenient and almost never reject renters, co-ops are stricter and may even require a personal interview. It should be noted that some co-op boards meet only once a month or every two months.