Guide for Renters

In New York City, renters begin their search only 30 to 45 days before the intended move-in date. In Manhattan, unlike other cities or countries, availabilities come on the market only 1 or 2 months in advance.

Typically landlords require a tenant to earn between 40-50 times the monthly rent on an annual basis. Most people spend about 25 % of their monthly gross income (pre-taxes) on their rent.


Organizing + preparing the necessary information


Here is a CHECKLIST of the documents you should gather in preparation of renting an apartment in New York City:

  • Letter of employment and salary verification (including hiring date if not yet employed)

  • Bank letter and/or two months of bank statements (checking and savings), credit card numbers

  • Letter from current landlord stating length of occupancy and history of paying rent on time.

  • Names, addresses and telephone of accountant and attorney, if applicable

  • Names addresses and telephone of 2 personal and 2 business references (preferably 2 business and 2 personal letters of reference)

  • Tax returns (typically 2 years prior)

  • Pay stubs (copy of the most recent ones)

  • Proof of income separate from bonus (verification from employer)

  • Additional sources of income with verification

  • Copy of personal identification with photograph (driver’s license or passport)


If  relocating:

  • Try to establish a New York bank account before coming as landlords will not accept personal or out-of-state checks. They will require certified funds.

  • Bring enough traveler’s checks to cover the cost of 2 month’s rent (which must be converted to “certified checks”: 1st month rent + 1 month security)

  • Bring funds to cover the “processing fee” of your lease application payable to the management company by personal check (a total of $500 to $1,000 according to the management companies)

  • Bring funds to cover the “credit report” (part of your application): $20 for each applicant (personal check).

  • Bring funds to cover the broker’s fees: typically 15% of the first year rent and one month’s rent for a short term lease of 3-6 months. These fees (payable by “certified check”) are due by the renter upon signing of the leases.