The NYC rental market is one of the most dynamic in the world – there one minute, gone the next. When you see a home you like, you do not have the time to sleep on it if you intend to have it. Therefore, it is important to be prepared when you begin your search.

The rule of thumb to qualify for a rental apartment in NYC is for your annual income to be at least 40 x the monthly rent; in other words, if the rent is $2,000/month, your income needs to be min. $80,000 annually to qualify. If you are a student with little or no income, the majority of landlords accept guarantors who will be held responsible for the rent if you do not pay. The guarantors should preferably reside in the tri-state area, and their minimum annual income requirement is usually 75 x monthly rent. The other components of qualification are credit history and assets.

Because of the nature of the rental market, most apartments are available the minute they are vacated. Landlords do not want to have their apartments sitting empty any longer than necessary for renovation purposes, which means that leases are typically signed within a very short period of time from vacancy. What this means in reality is that you should start looking for a new place roughly 2-3 weeks before you are ready to sign a lease, because that apartment that you saw two months ago will most definitely no longer be there when you are ready.

TIP: If you are flexible about your move, try to schedule it to the winter months when there are less people looking, and therefore, more inventory available.

When you schedule your appointment to look at available properties, make sure you are prepared to submit an application as soon as you find a place you like. A complete application needs to be submitted by all adult applicants and their guarantor(s). Most landlords require the following documentation (some variation from landlord to landlord):

  • your most recent federal tax return with W-2/1099 forms
  • 2-3 most recent pay stubs
  • a recent employment letter on employer’s letterhead with position, salary, and length of employment
  • most recent bank and investment statement(s)
  • copy of picture ID
Please ask your agent if other paperwork is necessary.

At the time of submitting your application, we collect a deposit equal to one month’s rent. This deposit will be applied towards the broker’s fee, which is due and earned when your application has been approved by the landlord. Should the landlord reject your application, this deposit will be returned to you in full.

In addition to the deposit, we will collect an application fee from the applicant(s). Our application fee is $20/person, but some landlords collect their own application fees which vary from landlord to landlord. If so, we will waive our application fee.

Once your application is approved and you sign the lease, you owe the landlord the first month’s rent and (usually) a one-month security deposit, together with the balance of our broker’s fee. All fees must be paid in full at/by the time of lease signing, and all final payments are payable by bank check/money order only.