Renting an Apartment in Manhattan

July 1st, 2011

Renting an apartment in Manhattan isn’t like it used to be. In the old days, you would see a few apartments, give the landlord one month rent and one month security, signed the lease and moved in.

Not today!

Should you rent in a rental building, a coop or condo?

Today’s renting rules in Manhattan can be daunting, but don’t have to be if you work with a good broker, you’re qualified and organized.

To make finding that perfect rental hassle-free it’s best to work with a broker. Why? You can find hundreds of rentals online, but most of them are already rented, and on some of these sites the information is not accurate.

While it’s not necessary to work with a broker, it is better for you – especially if you’re busy and new to Manhattan. And in today’s rental market you need to decide on an apartment fast. Apartments are being rented quickly these days.

By working with a broker you’ll learn which apartments are for rent and which have already been rented. Your broker can also weed out the type of apartments you don’t want because they’ve likely seen all or most of the rental buildings in the city. They will ensure that the lease is correct and that you have all of the necessary paper work – making your move as seamless as possible.

Whether you find an apartment on your own or work with a broker, make sure you read all documents before entering into any contract. Most leases contain predominantly boilerplate language, but in many cases there are riders to the lease which contain clauses that are added to the lease that changes the lease agreement

And type of leases will vary. A Standard Form of Lease may differ greatly from a Rent Stabilized Lease Agreement or a Cooperative or Condominium Sublease Agreement. Read the language of all documents and always ask questions should it contain something you don’t understand.

Make a check list of information to bring with you in order to finalize your lease agreement. In Manhattan you will almost always need all of the following:

1. A letter of employment and salary verification

2. Bank account numbers (checking and savings), as well as any credit card numbers

3. Current bank statements

4. Contact information (names, addresses, phone numbers) of previous landlords

5. Contact information of your personal accountant or attorney, if applicable

6. Contact information of any personal or professional references

7. Tax returns from the last two years

8. Recent (current) pay stubs, usually from the last two pay periods

9. Two forms of personal identification (driver’s license, passport, etc)†††

10. 40-45x the rent in annual income is required. And in some building 80X the rent in†annual income is required.

11. If the landlord accepts guarantors and you have a guarantor, your guarantor will likely†need to supply the same information as above.

If you are relocating from outside of New York, prepare your funds ahead of time. Landlords will not accept personal out-of-state checks. Bring traveler’s checks or certified bank checks in amounts sufficient to cover two months rent, any brokerage fees, a credit check fee, and any additional fees such as a move-in/move-out fee or building application fee.

Once you have all of your personal and financial documentation in order, you can begin viewing apartments. Do remember that your broker can provide you with a wealth of information to assist you in making an informed decision. Ask a lot of questions about neighborhoods, building types, public transportation access, or anything else that might be of interest to you.

Once you have found an apartment you love, you will then fill out a rental application, or other applicable documents. You or your agent will negotiate agreeable lease terms and then a credit report and reference check will be done.

The last step is to sign the lease and pay all applicable fees. Then it’s move-in day!!!

For more information or a consultation feel free to email me at Halstead Property

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Ross Ellis is a proud member of the Real Estate Board of New York