Finding an affordable apartment in New York has never been easy.
But, with rents around 40% higher than the same time last year – and still rising – it’s harder than ever.
According to the New York Times, rent increases are having a particularly hard impact on New Yorkers, as two-thirds of residents rent their homes. This percentage is twice the national average.
With those kinds of numbers, someone looking for an apartment in New York should be ready to jump on a place that meets their needs. And that means having all your paperwork in order.
But what is needed for a rental application in new york, and is it hard to get approved? Whether you’re a first-time renter or someone looking for better digs in the Big Apple, this article offers an overview of what you need for the New York City rental process.
Although the rules may vary for individual owners and different buildings, most New York City owners require the following:
proof of income. It’s standard policy for New York landlords to apply “the 40x rule” to determine a potential tenant’s ability to pay rent. This rule means that an applicant’s annual gross income must be at least 40 times the monthly rental price.
For a one-bedroom apartment at the Spring 2022 median price in Manhattan, the 40x rule means a renter must have an income of at least $159,800. In Brooklyn, where the average one-bedroom apartment rental was $2,900 per month in mid-2022, an income of more than $116,000 is needed to qualify.
Steady employment history. In addition to your three most recent payment stubs, the landlord will be looking for a secure employment record. An employment verification letter, along with employer references, will show that you will be a reliable tenant. The letter should be written and signed on company letterhead and include your job title, title, salary, and length of employment.
Good credit score. The landlord will obtain your credit score and history from a third-party credit service to help determine if you will pay on time and for the full term of the lease.
Most New York City landlords are looking for a minimum credit score between 650 and 700. If you don’t have established credit or have a low score, you can provide a guarantor on your application. This person agrees to pay your rent if you are unable to do so.
Social Security number. You will need to provide your social security number (or, in some cases, a copy of your social security card) on the rental application. If you don’t have one, you will need a guarantor for your lease.
- Bank statements. As another way to check your ability to pay the rent, you will need to provide your last three bank statements.
- Tax returns. Be prepared to provide the owner with copies of your latest IRS statement, including Form W2 or 1099.
- ID photo. The owner may want copies of two pieces of photo ID. Your driver’s license, school or professional identity card or passport will suffice. However, by law, the landlord cannot require government-issued photo ID.
- Registration fees. By law, a New York City landlord can charge a fee of no more than $20 to cover the cost of background and credit checks that are part of the application process.
In the event that your application is approved quickly, it’s a good idea to have the first month’s rent and security deposit ready and available when you complete your application. New York landlords cannot charge more than one month’s rent as security deposit.
When you’re looking for an apartment in New York, the competition can be fierce. This is why it is essential that the elements of your request are ready to be offered to the owner at the time of the request. You don’t want to lose a great place to live because you forgot your photo ID or bank statements.
In many cases, you can complete the application process online. However, you still need to pay close attention to detail. For example, verify that all documents that require a signature are signed.
To protect yourself, confirm the identity of all recipients of your documents before sending them. You can remove your account number from your bank statements for added security.
Finally, it is just as important to know what a landlord cannot ask you as what he can ask you on a rental application. According to New York’s fair housing laws, it is discriminatory for a landlord to inquire about any of the following issues:
- Are you disabled?
- How old are you?
- What is your religion?
- Where were you born?
- What is your race?
- What is your sexual identity?
- Are you married?
If you suspect a violation of the right to fair housing in your application, you should contact the New York City Human Rights Commission.
“Dr. Harry Delany is a renowned surgeon born and raised in Harlem, the son of the great jurist and civil rights leader, Hubert Delany….” This monthly post is written in Partnership with Harlem Cultural Archives.