The application process to rent a new place in New York City can be stressful, so it's best to be prepared, especially if you're in a competitive borough or neighborhood. As you might expect, Manhattan apartments for rent typically have the most stringent requirements and demand, but nowadays you'll also experience stricter applications and lots of competition from other prospective renters in Brooklyn and Queens.
COMPLETED RENTAL APPLICATION FORM
-Complete your rental application and make sure to pay all associated application fees as well as to sign the application and any background and credit check authorizations.
-Tenants and guarantors should be prepared to submit their individual, separate applications and application fees.
*Tip- make sure you use blue or black ink if you’re filling out a paper application.
REQUIRED SUPPORTING PAPERWORK
Proof of Employment
Letter of Employment / Offer Letter / CPA Letter (if self-employed)
-Must be on company letterhead including contact information for your supervisor / HR Manager.
-Many landlords will accept “the work number” forms, but some won't. Make sure to confirm with your real estate agent or the landlord's representative if using the work number.
-Your proof of employment should be dated no more than 60 days before the application date.
-Should include hire date and annual salary. Salary requirements are typically 40X monthly rent for tenants and 80X monthly rent for guarantors.
-CPA letters should consist of the previous year’s income and estimated income for the current year.
Proof of Income
-Copies of 2 most recent: Pay Stubs / W-2 Forms / Tax Returns
This depends on whether you're an employee, independent contractor or are self-employed.
Copy of 2 most recent Bank Statements (checking or savings)
-Be prepared to show at least 2-3 months rent in available funds if you’re applying as a tenant or 6 months rent as a guarantor.
-Bank statements should show account numbers and applicant’s name(s).
-Most landlords will require detailed bank statements that show every single page of the statement.
Proof of ID
Copy of your U.S. Government Issued Photo ID
-Student ID’s are typically not considered acceptable forms of ID.
-Internationals (those not holding a SSN) must provide a valid copy of Visa & Passport.
-If you have a pet, you may be asked to provide a picture and license number for your pet as well as breed and weight information. Additional pet application fees and pet rent may apply.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I prepay the lease in full if I don't meet the landlord's income requirements?
Yes, in most instances you can pay your lease up front if you don't otherwise qualify. Some buildings, however, are rent stabilized and cannot legally accept upfront payment. In these cases, you can still rent in those buildings by using a guarantor service like The Guarantors.
I do not currently meet the income requirements for the building/am unemployed/relocating, but have a signed offer letter with which I will. Will the landlord accept this?
It depends and you should ask the landlord as they will likely consider this on a case-by-case basis, but assuming your job offer is guaranteed and will start before or around the same time as your new lease would you'll probably be fine.
Can I put up extra rent or a larger security deposit if I don't meet the landlord's income requirements?
This is case-by-case as it depends on the landlord as well as your situation, but a good rule of thumb is that larger high-rise buildings will be less flexible and accommodating than smaller landlords who may be open to accepting something along the lines of first and last months rent plus a 1 or 1.5-month security deposit.
Is the application fee refunded if I don't get approved?
The application fee is non-refundable pretty much all the time.
Can I use one standard application for multiple buildings?
For the most part no you cannot. You'll need to pay and fill out separate applications for each building you apply at. There may however be some exceptions. For example, if you're applying to units in buildings owned by the same landlord. One way to try and mitigate rental application fees is to ask your agent for a refund, especially on smaller $50-100 fees. Most agents will be willing to offer a refund assuming you sign with them as they'd rather you not miss out on a place because you're worried about paying multiple application fees.