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.
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.
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.