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Renting an Apartment

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.

  • Income of 35-50X the monthly rent, or other proof of source(s) of income or ability to pay rent
  • Fully completed and signed application
  • Proof of source(s) of income or ability to pay rent
  • Bank account information (checking/savings)
  • Letter or names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlord. If applicable, include the same for your accountant
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references
  • Tax returns (first two pages)
  • Personal identification with photograph – e.g., driver's license or passport

The requirements for your lease will be specified by the Landlord at the time of application

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 one (1) day to one (1) month.

Funding

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:

  • Try to establish a New York bank account before you begin your search. If this is not possible, landlords typically request that you have available funds with you as security in the U.S. equivalent to four (4) months' rent to cover rent and security, as well as to avoid collection issues.
  • 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
    • Bring funds to cover 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 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):

  • Income of 75-95X the monthly rent, or other proof of source(s) of income or ability to pay rent
  • Fully completed and signed application.
  • Proof of source(s) of income or ability to pay rent
  • Bank account information (checking/savings)
  • Tax return (First 2 pages)
  • Personal identification with photograph – e.g., driver's license or passport
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlord, or if applicable, accountant, or proof of ownership

There are many ways to prove your income, if you are working for a company, most landlords may require pay stubs, a Letter of employment on company letter-head: salary, position, & length of employment. If you are self-employed, most landlords may request a CPA letter stating: type, length of business, & annual income. In addition, whether or not if you do hold an employment position, additional proof of source(s) income (i.e., state or federal governmental subsidies, trust funds, stocks, bonds etc.) may be used to demonstrate ability to pay rent.

WE RECOMMEND HAVING ALL OF THE ABOVE DOCUMENTS PREPARED PRIOR TO INITIATING YOUR SEARCH. When you have made your apartment selection, time is of the essence. You will be asked to fill out a rental application and provide the above mentioned documentation. Your agent will negotiate price and lease terms for you.

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

  • First months rent
  • Security deposit
  • Brokers' commission.

Types of Rental Buildings

In addition to buildings that cater solely to the rental community, there are opportunities for you to rent co-operative and condominium apartments in the city. 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 and you can get further insights into these types of buildings by reading the buyer section of this guide.

575 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10022. 212. 891.7000 © 2017 DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE. ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WHILE, THIS INFORMATION IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, IT IS REPRESENTED SUBJECT TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ALL PROPERTY INFORMATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO SQUARE FOOTAGE, ROOM COUNT, NUMBER OF BEDROOMS AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN PROPERTY LISTINGS SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ARCHITECT OR ZONING EXPERT. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY. CalBRE# 01947727