Realty Bites

My daughter's starting grad school this fall. How early can I rent an apartment for her?

By Virginia K. Smith  | July 22, 2014 - 1:59PM

We often receive emails from readers asking for help in navigating their own real estate crises. In Realty Bites, we try to get them answers.

The Problem:

A reader recently wrote in hoping to rent an apartment for her daughter, who's moving here in a month and a half to study music. 

"My daughter will be a grad student at Juilliard in the fall, and she will be away all summer. Is it possible for me to come to New York, work with a broker, apply for an apartment, pay the deposit, then overnight the lease to her for signing? If this is possible, when should I come to New York to find an apartment for a September 1st move-in date? I will be her guarantor, and I have already gone through this process with a previous New York apartment."

The Solution:

It's definitely possible to find your daughter an apartment with or without her in town, says Philip Lang, co-founder of  Suitey, a high-tech sales and rentals brokerage that, among other things, has helped students and post-grads find their first NYC digs.

Since it's always best to start your search three or four weeks before the move-in date, says Lang, "I would recommend coming to the city the first week of August and starting the search with a broker."  

(Note: BrickUndergrounders who sign up here to work with Suitey, a BrickUnderground partner, will pay a broker's fee of around 10 percent of a year's rent on most apartments, versus the standard 12 to 15 percent.) 

And be sure to come prepared: you'll need guarantor information including an application, two months' worth of bank statements, your most recent tax return, pay stubs, photo ID, and a letter stating the terms of your employment. You'll also need to come armed with all your daughter's paperwork, including an application, photo ID, a bank statement, and verification that she's a student, either a transcript or an acceptance letter. 

"Apartments rent very quickly in the summer and most landlords will not take the apartment off the market unless they have a completed application" in hand, says Lang. As you likely know from your last time renting, you'll need to sign a special guarantor rider, as well.

"Although a few landlords will not allow their tenants to rent apartments site unseen," Lang adds, "most will be fine with your daughter's absence and sending the leases to be signed by her." Just be sure she gets her signatures notarized before she sends them back your way, and you'll have saved your daughter the headache of an apartment search!


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