Q. Can the building management for my apartment keep insisting that I have a guarantor after seventeen years of good tenancy? If so, and if I can no longer use this guarantor, what are my options?
A. Anytime that your lease expires and you and your landlord wish to enter into a renewal lease, the landlord has the option of reassessing your creditworthiness in advance of extending the lease. If in the past you required a guarantor in order to qualify for the apartment, the landlord would be reasonable in insisting that they continue to guarantee the lease.
If you believe that your financial circumstances have changed such that you now may qualify on your own, you can ask the landlord for a new application and explain that you hope to qualify without relying upon a guarantor. In the event that you do not qualify (e.g. you do not meet the income metric or you have poor credit) and you do not have a guarantor, the landlord can refuse to continue to rent to you.
There are options for those that do not qualify to rent an apartment on their own and who do not have access to a personal guarantor. For example, Insurent is a for-profit company that guarantees leases in exchange for a fee of about a month's rent. The qualifications that they require are generally less than those that are customarily required by NYC landlords and management companies.
Another option, if your apartment could accommodate it, is to look for a roommate who could apply for the apartment with you. The landlord may consider your combined qualifications in determining whether or not he will rent to you.
Lastly, if you are unable to rely upon any of the preceding options, you can try writing a letter to your landlord and/or management company explaining your circumstances. If, for example, you do not meet their required income metric but have paid the rent on time for seventeen years, explain that fact and explain how it is that you manage to pay the rent with the income that you do have. You can also disclose other facts that may help you such as a substantial employment history and/or savings in the bank.
If necessary, you can also offer an additional security deposit (the amount to be negotiated) to further lower the risk of your tenancy. The landlord is certainly not be required to take your history and personal circumstances into consideration, but they may choose to do so if you present a coherent and respectful argument.
Renter's Survival Kit