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NYC Rental Guide For Medical Residents and Students

How much rent can I afford?

As a guideline in NYC, you need to earn approximately 35 – 50x the monthly rent. For example, if your rent was $2,000, you would need to earn $80,000 per year.  If you do not earn the minimum of 35 – 40x the rent, you are able to have a guarantor. If you are a couple or have a roommate, your stipends can be combined to create a higher annual income. Often times, abating the need for a guarantor. Because you are able to show more income with a partner or roommate, your chances of approval are easier.

What do landlords commonly require?

The basic requirement is that you earn 35 to 40 times annually the amount of the monthly rent. This varies by landlord. You also need to have a good credit rating. (See credit report paragraph below)

What is the time frame for finding a match for a NYC apartment?

Even though most medical residents find out about their match for a NYC hospital in March, typically, they do not need an apartment until June when their residency begins. It is obvious the months in between can lead to anticipation, doubt, concern and questions. The NYC housing market is very different in March, than it is in April or May. Prices in March can be 15-20% lower than what you would find in the summer months. In addition, incentives offered by landlord such as payment of the broker fee, or a free month of rent, are difficult if not impossible to find around the summer. This generally means that a commission must be paid by the renter. The commission varies from 1 month to 15% of the first years rent. However, we do specialize in helping find renters no fee apartments whenever possible. Typically looking any more than 45 days in advance is not advisable. The majority of apartments will be available within 30 days of your move-in date.

What if I am unable to visit NYC prior to my move-in date?

We provide live digital walk throughs for apartments here in New York, answering questions and concerns. So in the land of New York bait and switch apartment hunting, what you see is what you get with us. Even for more leases they can be either emailed or mailed to you without you having to step foot in New York. Typically the process takes between 48 hours to 1 week to complete from time of application to lease signing.

What paper work will I need?

  • Application form: The first step that will start the process once an apartment is found is filing out an application form. Most management companies have their own form that needs to be used.
  • Proof of residency: Must be on official hospital letterhead. The letter must state your position, place of residency, start date, and your annual stipend.  The letter must be signed by a person authorized to verify the information provided.
  • Tax return: Some management companies require a copy of your most recent federal tax return. Do not worry if you did not file taxes because you were a student.
  • Landlord reference: letter from your recent landlord can always help in the process and is often required. If you are unable to get a letter, have the name, address and phone numbers of your landlord ready.
  • Bank statements: Your three most recent statements from your checking account, savings account or any financial institution should do.
  • Bank account numbers: are often required on application forms. Have them ready just in case you need them.
  • Identification: Many landlords require a copy of a photo ID at lease

Credit reports

Credit reports are always run on every applicant and guarantor. The prices of credit reports / application fees range from $50-$125 depending on the management. Unfortunately credit reports obtained on your own are not accepted. A major part of the approval process is based on your credit report. So what is bad? A few old late payments are usually ok. A high revolving balance is not good. Past due payments that are still outstanding are bad. Delinquencies and collections are very bad. A public record (your day in court) is bad and a Landlord-Tenant record is the worst! If you think your credit is not good; it probably isn’t. Be sure to advise your agent of this. Doing so will allow your agent to properly prepare you for the process. Different landlords have different ways of dealing with “credit issues”. Some will allow you to increase the security deposit or to use a guarantor. Others may reject the application completely. We will guide you in a way that will save you time money and a lot of frustration.

What is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who is willing to guarantee your lease. The guarantor is responsible for all terms of your lease and guaranties not only your share of the rent but the entire lease – if in a share situation.

Do I need a Guarantor?

If you do not meet the financial or credit requirements, a guarantor might be your solution. Students or young individuals who do not meet the income requirements will usually need a guarantor. When bad credit is the reason, allowing a guarantor will depend on how bad the credit is and on how strict the management. Sometimes a combination of guarantor and extra security is needed. If you think you might need a guarantor please advise your agent of this so that together you can prepare yourself most efficiently.

Who can be a Guarantor?

A guarantor generally does not have to be a relative. Some landlords require the guarantor to live in the Tri-State area; New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. Try to prepare your potential guarantor by speaking with them and advising them of what they will be asked for. You might have to act quickly and their cooperation may be critical for your approval. A guarantor needs to fill out an application form and provide the required documents. The requirements are usually good credit and double the income requirements of an applicant. If an applicant is required to show an annual income of 35-50 times the monthly rent, a guarantor is required to show annual income of 60-90 times the monthly rent. The documents required are similar. Guarantors usually do not have to be present at lease signing.

What if I do not have a Guarantor?

There may be options to rent in NYC even without a traditional guarantor. For some international students or guarantors without a US based credit history, pre-payment of 6 months to a year upfront, may be an option. Alternatively, the company known as Insurent is becoming a popular option for renters. Insurent is a corporation that guarantees a lease when standard qualifications are not met.

Renting an apartment in NYC is an experience that can be stressful and frustrating if you are not prepared. Let us guide you through this process. Our experience and knowledge that has been established over the years, working side by side with the many landlords and management companies, will be an invaluable tool that will help make this experience as pleasant and painless as possible. You can help by being prepared with the necessary documents. Remember, finding a great apartment is only half the job, being able to get it is the other and more important half. Please feel free to ask us any question regarding your personal qualification concerns. We are here to assist you!