The Search

Hey, renters with funky credit: One landlord apparently feels your pain

By Leigh Kamping-Carder  | October 2, 2014 - 9:59AM

No credit? Bad credit? No problem! We came across one potential solution for the would-be renter with a spotty credit history: a landlord in Carnegie Hill willing to take on tenants, so long as they cough up cash at the lease signing. “We accept no credit and bad credit with 4 months security, or prepaid rent with only 2 months security!” say several listings posted to StreetEasy. “Call or text Sol ... to see it today!”

Putting down three to six months' rent upfront, either as an advance on rent or as a deposit, is a fairly common way of getting around problems with credit (as is finding a guarantor, who agrees to cover your rent if you fail to pay it). But finding a landlord who advertises that they'll do this in a rental listing? That's rare. 

In any event, we called Sol, a broker who asked that we use only his first name, and here's what he had to say: "If the client doesn’t have credit [or has bad credit], we are able to do the deal with four month’s security,” but you’ll still need to have a “sufficient,” salaried income, meaning at least 40 times the monthly rent (a standard minimum in New York). Be prepared to submit the same kind of paperwork as a typical rental application, including pay stubs and tax returns, as well as undergo a standard credit check, he says. 

“That’s the way this landlord works,” Sol adds. “Other landlords are going to think the other way, but if you think about it logically, it makes sense.”

This two-bedroom, available for $2,795 a month, is in a building with laundry and a live-in super

According to Sol, this landlord would rather not turn away a good tenant just because of a lack of credit history, particularly with several months’ rent as an insurance policy. (Sol declined to name the landlord, though city property records show that the buildings are owned by several LLCs affiliated with Gatsby Realty, a Manhattan-based property owner.) So far, the strategy has yet to backfire for the landlord, which “just shows us that it’s the right thing to do,” Sol says.

Of course, there are a few caveats here for renters. Putting up four months of rent as a security is a big chunk of change to part with. And, while Sol says the money goes into escrow just like any deposit, if there’s an issue with the apartment when you move out, the landlord could presumably withhold all that cash until it gets sorted out.

The five apartments available when we last checked—which are all located in a block of six-story prewar walk-ups on East 92nd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues—ranged from two-bedrooms starting at $2,750 a month to a three-bedroom for $3,200 a month. The buildings are pet-friendly, and the landlord will also accept guarantors from across the U.S., as opposed to just the tri-state area.

Think you might be interested? Better call Sol.


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