How Do I Rent?
A New Yorker’s guide to renting.
Feeless uses intimate market knowledge, data and analytics to create a guide for your entire rental process.
Simply put, renting made easy.
1. Prepare Yourself
Start Ahead of Time
Most NYC apartments are not listed until 1-2 months before the desired move-in day. As a result, the process moves very quickly and some apartments only last days on the market. Therefore, it is imperative to gather your necessary documents and establish your search criteria ahead of time. If you are traveling from outside of the city to view apartments, you should set up your appointments in advance and establish security with any agents you are working with.
Survey your Market
When establishing your search criteria, there are many things to consider.
Do you need roommates?
How is the commute to work?
Do you prefer the flexibility of a short-term lease or the security of a long-term lease?
The most crucial question that most people ask is, what can I realistically afford in an ideal situation?
Most New Yorkers spend about 20 to 33 percent of their income on an apartment. Whether you’d prefer a modest apartment in a nice neighborhood or a luxury high-rise, your budgeting will be key in making your decision. Another element to keep in mind is that not every neighborhood in New York offers the same lifestyle. Certain areas are better equipped for professionals, looking for a quiet getaway after a long day of work; other parts of NYC are built for night owls. If you are unsure which area is best for you, feel free to check out our neighborhood guide.
Most landlords require that any successful applicant must make 40x the monthly rent. That means that if you would like to rent an apartment that is $1,000/month, you should earn at least $40,000 annually. In the event you are applying with roommates, landlords will consider the aggregate income. For example, if you and your roommates are applying for an apartment that is $1,000/month, the combined income of all the applicants must be at least $40,000 annually. If you are unable to meet those salary requirements, you generally need to use a guarantor who earns
80x the monthly rent. A guarantor, is a person who guarantees the lease and is fully responsible if the lease terms are breached. Most landlords require that there be no more guarantors than number of applicants to a lease; however, there are exemptions. These rules are merely a guideline and are not set in stone. If an applicant has strong credit and earns close to income threshold, they may be accepted. Conversely, if an applicant has bad credit yet meets the income requirements, they may be rejected. It is important to tell your or whoever is handling your application, your financial situation so that they can best help you.
Get your Documents Together
Whenever you find the apartment that you are ready to rent, often you need to act quickly. Thus, it is good to bring your documents necessary to apply, with you during your search. Each landlord has their own checklist, but the standard is as follows:
– Government Issued Photo ID
– Two Tax Returns (first two pages)
– Two Recent W2 Forms
– Two Recent Pay Stabs
– Letter of Employment
– Two Bank Statements
– Guarantor Paperwork (same as above)
– Letter from Previous Landlord
o Application Fees
Generally, between $50 and $100 per applicant
o Good Faith Deposit
Refundable deposit that is applied to your balance once you are approved; generally, $500 to one full month’s rent to take an apartment off the market.
o First Month’s Rent
o Last Month’s Rent
o Security Deposit
2. Schedule and Search
The internet is a great way to find available apartments. When using feeless, you can filter thousands of listings by move-in date, price, number of bedrooms, and even specific amenities such as whether the buildings have outdoor space or a gym area.
Avoid Paying Broker Fees
For a long time, paying a broker fee seemed like a necessary evil when renting in New York City. Prior to the internet making information accessible to everyone, it made sense using a broker. Now, most brokers are privy to the same knowledge and listings as everyone else is. Instead of paying broker thousands of dollars, you can save that money with a click of a button by using feeless. Each listing on our site is free from broker fees.
On feeless, you can schedule showings with an agent instantly. If you are in the city, it might be difficult to view an apartment during the week after work hours if the apartment is occupied – some tenants do not like agents coming to their apartment at night. However, 5-7 PM are the most common hours to see apartments during the week. If you are coming from out of the city, try your best to schedule as many showings as possible while you are here because it would be a shame to make multiple trips. Make sure to clearly communicate with whenever is showing you around so that it is clear when and where you are meeting. Be sure to bring your paperwork! If you have roommates, you should try to see the apartment together. If one of your roommates cannot make it, you should take pictures or videos so that they can get a feel for the apartment. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to. Do not apply for an apartment unless you feel ready.
Decide on an Apartment
After weighing your options, conferring with your roommates, or consulting your guarantors, you should be ready to pick a place. Most landlords have similar applications in which they ask for your social security number, bank and contact information, and deposit of one month’s rent. Many people worry about giving their private information; however, it is very standard. The landlords need this information to do credit and background checks. Typically, the application process can take anywhere from 3 – 10 business days. If you are not approved, the landlord will refund your deposit but keep your application fees.
Pay your Balance
Once the landlord approves your application, you usually have up to 5 days to sign the lease and pay the rest of your balance. Usually, this means paying the first and last month of rent; the good faith deposit, typically goes towards your security deposit.
4. You are a New Yorker!
Once you have signed your lease and paid the reminder of your balance, you are officially a New Yorker. You will likely be given the information for the super of your building, whom will give you the keys and necessary information to move-in. This person will also be your go-to for any problems you may encounter during your stay, such as issues with gas, electric, or other household appliances. Celebrate your new apartment by checking out all that our amazing city has to offer and spread the news with your friends.
Congratulations you are a renter!