Renting an apartment in Westchester

Renting in New York is unlike most other areas in the world! Primarily because the rental process itself is not standardized. Meaning, the requirements will vary slightly from landlord to landlord. Below is the step-by-step, easy to follow outline of the entire process and typical requirements to successfully rent an apartment.

The Basic Steps

  1. Call Douglas Elliman's Global Relocation Division at 212.350.5250, to begin your process. On this call we will review:
    • Your housing needs (search criteria) and timing
    • The Market
    • The application process and requirements
    • Any additional items and questions specific to your move
    • Funding
  2. Upon conclusion of this call, your Douglas Elliman move consultant will assign the best agent to work with you to find your new home
  3. Your agent will search for properties based on your search criteria and budget
  4. Your agent will schedule viewings and accompany you to each apartment based on your availability
  5. Once you find an apartment, your agent will walk you through the entire application process and requirements

The Application Requirements

Most landlords will require proof of sufficient income to satisfactorily cover the monthly rent as determined by the landlord and applicable law. Please keep in mind the requirements are not standardized so requirements can vary. Historically property management companies have asked for the following documents to the extent applicable. The requirements for your lease will be specified by the landlord at the time of application and are not the requirements of Douglas Elliman. If you have any questions regarding a landlord's requirement, you are encouraged to ask your assigned agent.

  1. Income of 40X the monthly rent, or other proof of source(s) of income or ability to pay rent
  2. Employment letter
  3. Fully completed and signed application
  4. Bank account information (checking/savings)– 3 statements
  5. Letter or names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlord. If applicable, include the same for your accountant
  6. Names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references
  7. Tax returns (first two pages) – last 2 returns
  8. Personal identification with photograph – e.g., driver's license or passport

Upon receipt and review of the documents, the landlord will review the details and determine if the application will be accepted. Once it is accepted, they will outline the final payments due at lease signing. The approval process can vary from a few days to over a month, with the approval for a Co-op or Condominium taking the most time.


It's important to prepare the necessary funds before coming to New York. Landlords will not accept personal or out-of-state checks. They require certified funds. With this in mind, you should:

  1. Try to establish a New York bank account before you begin your search so you can get funds easily
  2. If this is not possible, landlords typically request that you have available funds with you to cover first month’s rent and one month security
  3. Bring funds to cover the other costs in leasing an apartment which can include:
    • Broker's fee 12-15% of the first years rent (paid by the tenant)
    • Application fee
    • Credit check fee
    • Possible move-in/move-out fees (See Co-op/Condo Funds needed).

Note: Renting a condominium or Co-op can mean higher application fees and possibly a board approval process

If your salary level or available source(s) of income 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 tri-state guarantor.

Guarantors - Typical Landlord Requirements

(Subject to change based on each management company's requirement):

  1. Income of 80X the monthly rent, or other proof of source(s) of income or ability to pay rent
  2. Fully completed and signed application.
  3. Bank account information (checking/savings) – 3 statements
  4. Tax return (First 2 pages)– last 2 returns
  5. Personal identification with photograph – e.g., driver's license or passport
  6. Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlord, or if applicable, accountant, or proof of ownership

Upon Acceptance, at lease signing you will need the following funds:

  1. First months rent
  2. Security deposit
  3. Brokers' commission
  4. Co-op’s or Condominiums will typically require additional fees such as a move-in or move-out fee. Pets may also require additional security or insurance

Types of Rental Buildings

In addition to buildings that cater solely to the rental community, there are opportunities for you to rent co-operative (Co-op) and condominium (Condo) apartments in the city, as referenced in the previously. The conditions attached to the leasing of these types of units are totally determined by the building and vary considerably. Your Douglas Elliman agent can guide you through that process.