Renting an Apartment

Required Documentation

Proof of income:

  • Employer verification letter – Make sure it is on company letterhead, signed by supervisor stating the following:
    • Position
    • Length of employment
    • Total compensation
  • Two (2) recent pay stubs
  • First two (2) pages of last year’s tax returns
  • Most recent bank and investment statements if any
  • Copy of driver’s license, passport or other legal identification
  • Names, phone numbers and addresses of the following for the apartment application:
    • Employer
    • Banker
    • Accountant
    • Prior landlord
    • Guarantor (if required)

Money Required:

  • First month’s rent
  • Security deposit (usually equivalent to 1 – 2 months rent)
  • Application fees ($50 – $350)
  • Criminal and Credit Check Fee ($50 – $150)
  • Brokerage fee, if applicable. (15% of the annual rent)

Rent, security and the broker’s fee are generally due in the form of certified checks at lease signing.

Financial Guidelines

Most landlords require that you make 40 times the amount of monthly rent. For example if your rent were $3500/month, your salary would need to be $140,000/year in order to rent the apartment by yourself. Outstanding loans, assets liquidation, credit and rent history are also taken into consideration. If you do not meet this criterion, a guarantor may be required.


If you do not meet the financial requirements of the landlord, you may be required to have a lease guarantor. The guarantor must be financially able and qualified to pay your rent as well as comfortably carry his financial responsibilities in case you default on the lease (generally 80 times one month’s rent).

Many landlords require a tri-state (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) guarantor and prefer a relative. If you are being relocated by your company and need a guarantor, you should check with Human Resources to see if the company is willing to provide one.


If you are a first time renter in New York and do not have a credit history in the United States, landlords might require an extra security deposit, a guarantor or rent paid up front. Procedures and requirements may vary from one building to another, so you may want to use a broker in order to guide you through this process.

Board Approvals

If you are subleasing a co-op or leasing a condominium, board approval will be required. Condominiums are very easy and almost never reject renters. Co-ops are stricter and may require a personal interview. Some co-op boards may only meet once a month or even once every 2 months.