Realty Bites

I need to find an apartment fast. Are there any downsides to submitting multiple applications at the same time?

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
October 28, 2021 - 3:30PM

One tip: Submit a recent credit or background check with your application to avoid paying multiple application fees.


I need to find an apartment fast and want to improve my chances. Are there any downsides to submitting applications for multiple apartments at the same time?

It makes sense to increase your odds of landing an apartment in NYC's competitive rental market—especially if you’re facing some kind of deadline.

It also helps that the 2019 rent reforms capped the fee for an application at $20, making it more affordable to apply to more than one apartment at the same time. Of course, you don’t get those fees back, however, there's a way of avoiding paying the fee multiple times. The fee covers the background and credit checks, so It is possible to use the background or credit check documents paid for as part of one application fee to waive the fee for another, if the documents are issued within the required 30-day time frame. 

Pro Tip:

To rent an apartment in New York City, most landlords require you to earn an annual salary of at least 40 to 45 times the monthly rent. If you don't—or if you’re an international employed person, self-employed, non-employed with assets, retired, or an international student or US student—you’ll need to find a guarantor for your lease who earns at least 80 times the monthly rent and lives in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. Or you can turn to Insurent Lease Guaranty. Accepted at more than9,000 buildings across the city representing over 825,000 apartments, Insurent Lease Guaranty is a quick and easy way to get the apartment you want. Click here to learn more.

Armen Stevens, a broker at Warburg Realty, says that the cap on the application fee makes it easier to submit multiple applications, but the main reason renters are doing so now is because the market is so competitive. “They are sick of losing out on apartment after apartment to other applicants,” he says.

[Editor's Note: Realty Bites tackles your NYC rental questions. Have a query for our experts? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

There’s no reason why a landlord or broker will know that you’re doing this, Stevens says. However, if they find out, they will likely continue to show the apartment to other renters until the deal is done, just in case you pick one of your other prospective rentals, he says. 

However, if you're applying for a rental in a co-op or condo building, a board can charge you higher application fees, says Victoria Vinokur, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens. Most brokers will only want to submit a qualified applicant who intends to be the tenant, Vinokur says. 

Another thing to consider: Multiple credit checks can impact your credit score, says Susan Abrams, a broker at Warburg Realty. So submitting a credit or background check from the last 30 days means you avoid having your credit checked more than once. 

You should also only apply to apartments that you really like. “When applicants try to juggle life, work, and keep up with two to three applications, it gets messy and they often lose out on their favorite because they weren't focused,” says Lucas Callejas, a broker at Triplemint. 

And what should you do if you’re approved for more than one? “Go with your gut and be decisive, so you're not living in regret for the next 12 months,” Callejas says.


Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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