If you’re a freelancer, a foreigner, a full-time student—or anyone else without a regular, dependable income— you’re probably going to have a hard time finding a landlord willing to take a chance on you in NYC. But it’s not impossible. Here are some tips for making landlords love you:
- Be extra prepared: Gather all relevant paperwork—including two years of tax returns, three months of bank statements and your last two pay stubs if you have them— together before embarking on your search. Freelancers should get a letter from an accountant stating their projected income for the year. Students should produce copies of their course schedules and a letter of enrollment. Show a prospective landlord that you’re responsible from the very beginning.
- Secure a guarantor: Don’t make 40 to 50 times the monthly rent, which is the bar most landlords require for renters? You’re going to need a guarantor to co-sign the lease and promise to make rent payments if you default. Make sure it’s someone local (in the tri-state area), who has good credit, earns an annual income of 80 times the monthly rent, and is willing to fill out the extensive paperwork required for the application. (You can also pay about a month's rent for Insurent--full disclosure, the company's a Brick sponsor--to be your guarantor, an especially helpful option if you happen to be foreign, a full-time student, or self-employed.)
- Pay more upfront: Show a landlord that you’re good for the money by offering to pony up more rent or extra security from the get-go.
- Get a roomie: You’ll get more bang for your buck if you and a pal search for, say, a $3,000-a-month one-bedroom that you can convert to a two-bedroom (versus you searching by yourself for a studio or one-bedroom that fits your $1,500 budget). Also, if your credit is less than perfect, a roommate can keep your name off the lease.
- Find the right type of unit: Small landlords tend to be more flexible than large doorman buildings run by major management companies. And remember, there’s more likely to be more wiggle room in slower rental seasons (like the winter) when fewer people are looking to move.
For more, read “6 Ways to Make Landlords Love You.”
In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.