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How can I qualify for a short-term rental in NYC?

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Q: I'm moving to the city for six months for work. I've heard how hard it is to qualify for a standard rental in NYC, but is the same true for shorter-term leases, or is the process different? How should I prepare?


Application requirements will vary a great deal depending on who you're renting from, but in general, say our experts, you're likely to face somewhat less scrutiny than you would for a standard year-long lease.

"The application process for short-term rentals varies—most large landlords don't do them," explains TripleMint co-founder Philip Lang. "For the larger landlords that do allow short-term rentals, typically landlords are asking for the same information that they would of a long-term renter. Most of these short-term landlords still want to make sure that the renter is qualified for the apartment, regardless of lease term."

But for companies that specialize in short-term housing, the answer can be different. "For us, it's a very different process," says Gary Brown, co-founder of short-term rental company Furnished Quarters. "If you have good credit, you can get in pretty easily. The process is much easier than it is for a typical one-year rental in New York."

As a rule, says Brown, his company will run a credit check on a potential short-term renter, and conduct an interview to get a sense of their reasons for the move and identify any potential red flags (such as not having a steady full-time source of income).

"If everything checks out, we'll leave it at that, but if there are problems [like a low credit score], we'll ask for bank statements, and every once in a while, a tax return," says Brown. (Unlike a standard rental that requires an applicant earn 40 times the annual rent, Furnished Quarters doesn't use a set formula.) They also run names through a terror watchlist to ensure against renting to someone who might want temporary housing for more sinister reasons. 

The bottom line, though, is that with certain short-term rental companies, you'll have to jump through far fewer hoops than you would for a standard rental, and if your credit is good, you might not even have to put down a security deposit. "Unless there's a credit issue, we waive security," says Brown, though policies about this vary from company to company.

"If you have good credit, you can get into a short-term rental pretty easily," he adds. And if you're not confident you'll qualify, Lang notes, many landlords will accept a guarantor for a short-term rental just as they would for a longer lease. (Though if you're hiring an institutional guarantor like Insurent—fyi, a Brick sponsor—keep in mind that the cost would be similar to what you'd pay to guarantee a year-long rental, making it a relatively more expensive proposition.) And as always, you can try to throw cash at the problem, by paying several months of rent (or rent for the entirety of your short stay) up front.

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