Before coming, make sure you are in contact with your broker. You may need to prepare documents ahead of time - especially if you are using a guarantor (explained below). If possible, come before you know you are moving to the city to learn about neighborhoods to get an idea of where you would like to live.
Here is some information to prepare you for the rental process in order to secure a long term lease. We want to make the process as smooth as possible for you.
Open a Bank Account:
The first thing a prospective renter needs to do is open a US bank account. By opening a bank account in the US the renter is establishing a presence in the US – landlords want to see this presence showing that you will be in New York for a while. Start by transferring money into the account as soon as possible; you will need this money when you sign the lease. At the lease signing you will need to supply bank certified checks as not every landlord will take a money wire. Bank certified checks are checks where funds are guaranteed and are backed by money in your bank account.
Securing the Apartment:
For international clientele, every situation is different for each apartment – even within the same building. Landlords require that the prospective renter earns between 40 and 50 times the monthly rent. If the apartment is $4,000 a month, the income required is at least $160,000 ($4,000 x 40). In order to prove that you earn the requirements you will need to supply supporting documentation.
Supporting documentation needed:
*Letter of employment stating income and bonus (if applicable)
*Housing Allowance – states how much money the company will pay towards the apartment (if applicable).
*Photocopy of Passport
Considering that you as a prospective renter have no credit established here, landlords typically want additional security and / or prepayment of rent of 6 to 12 months. This money will guarantee that the rent is paid.
Another option is to have a relative or close friend in the United States who can act as guarantor. By using a US guarantor, the amount of upfront money needed to secure an apartment is minimized to one or two months’ security. US guarantors need to earn 80 times the rent – if the apartment is $3000 a month, the guarantors income needs to be $240,000 ($3000 x 80).
The guarantor will need to supply the following supporting documentation:
*Letter of employment stating income and bonus (if applicable) or letter from accountant stating income.
*Most Recent Tax Return
*Two Most Recent Pay Stubs
*Two Most Recent Bank Statements
*Photocopy of ID
There are also third party guarantors which are companies that act as guarantors. For a fee, they will guarantee the apartment. There are many different third party guarantors – different buildings use different companies. Not every landlord accepts third party guarantors.
Now that you have found your apartment you will need to submit an application along with your supporting documentation. For rental buildings there is a typical application fee of $50 - $200. The application approval process will take 1-7 days to get the approval.
For condominiums, there is a typical application fee of $500 - $2000. The approval process will take 15-30 days.
The broker’s fee in New York is typically 15% of the annual rent. This is a onetime payment paid at the lease signing. If the rent is $4,000 a month the broker’s fee will be $7,200 (12months x $4000 x 15% = $7,200).
The lease signing is the last part of securing the apartment. At the lease signing you will sign the lease for the lease term that was previously negotiated. You will also need to bring with you separate bank certified checks for security, rent and the broker’s commission.
Congratulations! Welcome to your new home in New York!