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Bona Tierra’s Guide to Renting in New York City 

Renting an apartment in New York City is like renting in no other place in the world.  The market here is fast and furious with low apartment availabilities (steady at an average vacancy rate of 1%) and strict qualifying requirements from landlords.  The best defense you have when apartment shopping is to be armed with the knowledge of how New York City rentals actually work.  Here’s a guide of the process to help you on your way.  Happy Hunting!

The New York Real Estate 5 Point Plan for renting an apartment:

  1. Arrange your wants and needs in order of importance.  List your neighborhood preferences, whether you need a doorman, elevator, modern kitchen, pet friendly building, etc.
  2. Discuss this list with your agent and they will guide you with their input of the realities of the market and match them up with the most essential variables in NYC which are SIZE, PRICE, LOCATION and DURATION OF LEASE.
  3. Review your current financial situation with your agent and see what you can actually qualify for.
    Financial Qualifying Requirements Typically asked by Landlords:
    a. Required annual gross income equaling 40-50 times the monthly rent.  For example if you are applying for a $2000/Month apartment you’ll need to earn no less than $80,000.00 a year.
    Most landlords require that you’ve been at your current job for at least 6 months.
    You must have good credit.

If you don’t qualify with any of these factors you may be asked to provide extra months’ worth of Security or find a Guarantor who will guaranty your lease.  They will have to meet the same requirements as above with the exception of income.  They will have show proof of earning 80 to 100 times the monthly rent.

       4. Gather all of your financial documents and have them ready for you to jump when you walk into your prospective new home!  Here’s what is typically required:

          a. Copy of last two tax returns
Copy of three most recent paystub 
Copy of three most recent bank statements 
Landlord Contact information and/or Reference Letter
Copy of Photo ID
Verification of other assets (Varies from application to application
Letter of Employment stating position, salary, length of employment, etc.

5. Based on this information your agent can now scour the market to find options for you to see and you’re ready to start shopping!  It’s best to start looking about 30 to 45 days before you need to move to maximize the best of what is available for your lease start date.



Renters Insurance Information 

With renters insurance, you will be able to replace what is damaged or stolen.

Renters insurance covers your possessions against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, and water damage from plumbing. 
However, renters insurance does not cover floods, earthquakes or routine wear and tear. You can, however, buy separate policies for flood and earthquake damage.

If you are forced out of your home because of a disaster in your building or in the area, your additional living expenses will be covered. 

Renters insurance pays the reasonable additional costs of temporarily living away from your home if you can't live in it due to a fire, severe storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt. Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Decide How Much Renters Insurance You Need. 

Add up the cost of everything you would want to replace if it were damaged or stolen. This could also serve as the basis for an inventory that will make filing a claim easier. For an inventory, also record model numbers, dates and places of purchase. Take photographs or make a video of these items and place a copy of the inventory in safe place away from your home. If you rent a condo, a coop, an apartment or a house you need insurance to protect your belongings. While your landlord might have insurance, the landlord insurance only protects the building. Your belongings and your responsibility to others are not covered under those policies.