NYC Guarantor Service Insurent says "2012 NYC Renter Should be Qualified, Prepared or be Frustrated!

February 29, 2012


NYC Rental Guarantor Service: Insurent Lease Guaranty says "2012 Rental Season will be the Toughest in Years"

The NYC apartment renter will be facing tough market conditions which will make it especially challenging to rent an apartment this upcoming rental season. Insurent Lease Guaranty states that the challenges for renters are: high demand from many who prefer to rent, very high prices, low vacancies, occasional above ask bids, multiple applications, very tough qualification standards, short window of opportunity or time on the market, waiting lists for apartments before they are listed which limit the number of apartments actually reaching the market, and less supply due to fewer new luxury rental buildings opening in 2012. All in all, renters are facing a very difficult market in 2012 and will have to be fully qualified, totally prepared, and capable of deciding quickly want a particular apartment.

Shai Gruber, head of Caliber Associates New York office, concisely explains the dramatic reversal of conditions of the rental market during 2011 and the very challenging 2012 market conditions: “At the very beginning of 2011, the rental market was very much in the favor of the renter: vacancy rates were much higher than they are in February 2012, and the prices of apartments were much lower. Therefore, in 2010 and in January 2011, owners were still offering OP (to pay brokerage fees) and also offering rent concessions to attract renters. The conditions changed during 2011 season and now in February 2012, it is a very strong landlord market as the conditions are completely different from January 2011: prices are higher, vacancies are lower, OP has disappeared, and rent concessions are rare. It is now a much more difficult market for the renter.”

The higher prices and other factors are often undermining the plans of many renters who unexpectedly discover that they cannot quite qualify for their apartment because they do not earn at least 40-45x the monthly rent or their guarantor does not earn 80-85 times the monthly rent or their guarantor is not acceptable due to the fact that he/she lives outside of NY or the NY area. Internationals, working or students, almost always struggle because they do not have US credit or a domestic guarantor. Even wealthy US retirees and others with significant cash liquid assets, who are out of the work force, are often unable to qualify. Self-employed persons with variable income also have numerous problems as well.

NYC Rental Guarantor Service Managing Director Charles Schoenau adds:

“Many renters are not aware how the market conditions have changed dramatically in the last 13 months, and some mistakenly believe that the economic turmoil on Wall Street and worldwide has kept the NYC rental market in check. Most renters are in for a shock when they see how fast apartments rent, how high prices are, how difficult it is to qualify in many cases, and how quickly they have to decide about an apartment if they are qualified. One renter told me this week that he finally found 3 apartments that he would consider, but when he called the next day, they all were gone in less than 24 hours. Another renter from overseas was making periodic trips to NYC, and every apartment he liked became problematic and he lost it, often before he could even present all his documents. Renters, who are not fully prepared and qualified or hesitate, are having to spend a long frustrating time trying to nail down the apartment that they want in 2012.”

In 2012, renters must be sure that look early enough and can be decisive about the apartment. Equally important, the renter and their broker must be sure that the renter has all the renter’s paperwork in order, as well as their guarantor’s paperwork in perfect shape, or be prequalified by Insurent, before they apply for the apartment. Renters who have any flaws in their application or qualifications will be at risk of losing their rental apartment to a qualified competitive renter and destined to spend a longer and frustrating period of time finding their apartment.

The Insurent Lease Guaranty Program can solve all of these problems for the renter.


The Insurent Lease Guaranty Program was created to serve renters, landlords, condo/coop owners, and brokers and relocation specialists by offering the first institutional guarantor of residential leases. The Insurent Lease Guaranty Program has been featured in the New York Times, The Real Deal, The New York Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Weekly and Multi-Housing News.

The Insurent Lease Guaranty Program is underwritten and issued by Argonaut Insurance Company, a property and casualty insurance company rated A (Excellent) by A. M. Best. Instead of looking for an individual guarantor or co-signer, or having to pay a significantly larger security deposit or prepaid rent, a renter may utilize the Insurent Lease Guaranty to satisfy the landlord’s financial and credit requirements.

Happy Valentines Day: The 5 hazards of living (and dating) in NYC!

February 13, 2012

1. You have a kick ass bachelor pad, but the rents so high that you can't afford to go out.

Solution: Why pay $5,000 a month for it if you can't flaunt it? Invite that special someone over for a special meal for 2, go that extra step and create a "signature" cocktail just for them.

2.  Your apartment is so small/cluttered/messy you dont want anyone else to see the inside of it.

Solution: hopefully with all that money your saving on rent and cleaning services you were able to put some away for a night on the town. Treat her (and yourself) to a night of dinner and dancing.

3.  Roommate is a buzz kill.

Solution: yeah we've been there. You wanna celebrate your everlasting love for each other. But your roommate just got dumped and has been moping around on the couch in a bathrobe. With no end in sight. Take this as an opportunity to explore NYC. Besides what's the point of living in the greatest city in the world if your just gonna stay in?

4. You love curry, you love your neighbors but not when the two are responsible for that funky smell in your hallway.

Solution: Well this might be a question best handled by Dr. Phil. Or your real estate agent. But in the meantime, sushi anyone?

5. You somehow got stuck with the lucky combination of: All of the above.

Solution:  Go out too the local neighborhood dive bar to show her how unpretentious you are, for drinks only! You know that the tuna tartar and sushi is what will really cost a pretty penny.

Bonus: You still live with your parents.

Solution: We know times are tough and so should your significant other. But if you want to avoid an awkward morning after, splurge for a hotel room for the night. Room service is much more pleasant when it's not your little sister knocking on your door.

NYC Rent Control for the 99%

February 08, 2012

By Kelley Boyd (@msksboyd)

NYC Rent Control: Overpriced Apartments

Why are rents really so out of control for supposedly rent controlled apartments in NYC and what can tenants do to protect their rights as renters when landlords raise rents illegally, fail to maintain their units, or generally behave badly?

The current wave of “we're not going to take it anymore” protests groups is encouraging. We could talk about change, talk about budgets and taxes, and linear relationships and non-linear relationships to understand all the implications of rent prices in NYC - BUT we can’t do that all today. Let’s focus today on the tools we already have to work with in the current New York City rental system.

Enforcement of Rent Control in NYC

So why ARE the rents in NYC so out of control? It’s simple: the rental laws on the books are not being enforced. Really? Yep - both landlords and tenants commit fraud on the system. Part of the issue is that there are different agencies for different problems. They span local, city and state agencies - and they don't talk to each other. The difference is that landlords are in the business of understanding and maximizing the rent laws - even if it means strategically making decisions to violate the laws that would be the biggest burden to enforce (currently thought to be apartment improvements). Tenants, for the most part, are ignorant of what the rules are and how to improve their circumstances. That is the focus of this column - to challenge you to be responsible for holding bad landlords accountable and to give you the tools to do so.

Rent Controlled Apartments NYC: When to File a Complaint

So when do you file a complaint? Since there are different agencies to report different things to - but the most important thing is to know what you are complaining about and that you are talking to the right agency.  If there are problems with heat, hot water, trash, bedbugs or snow removal, mold, leaks etc. you should call 311 and report there. To see past history of issues with a building go to the HPD website.  If you are at odds on the terms of the lease (either way), you would be going to City Court - at 111 Centre St. I have some tips in an upcoming column to help shortcut some issues you may have there.  Last, and the black hole of housing in NY State, is the Division of Housing (and Community) Renewal. Insight into the workings of the DHCR, and the other avenues for help, will be the focus of future column(s) -- and are sure to be crowd pleasers!

So that's the who / where of filing a complaint, but what about the when? You should file a complaint when your landlord fails to follow the rules, even seemingly insignificant rules, and you haven't been able to get a remedy. Before you file a complaint with an agency, first ask for what you want from the landlord or management company -- and document those requests. Keep copies of maintenance requests, etc. Actually, you should document anytime the terms of the lease and/or rider are violated.  For example, you would be surprised how important it is that you get copies of your signed lease or that you get statements accounting for your deposit and the interest and fees you pay.

Rent Controlled Apartments Manhattan: Protect Your Renter Rights and Obtain Your Apartment's Rental History

Even if you've got a copy of your lease and all associated documents, how do you know if it's right, and how do you know if you're paying too much in rent? Each lease has to conform to State apartment lease standards and may even have unique provisions.

To protect your rights, you should, at a minimum, do these two things:

1. Read your lease to find out which set of rules applies to you.

Seriously - read your lease and all the papers attached - riders, etc. If you don’t you will certainly not catch that tiny box that may be buried in a section, top of page 5 by the staple, so faint that it is almost impossible to see, and could be the difference between you paying your landlord to illegally evict you or not getting evicted. Find the box - check the box!!

2. Request your rent history as soon as you move into a new apartment.

How do you find out what previous tenants paid to rent your apartment?

Just phone the DHCR (718-739-6400) and request that your apartment's rent history be sent to you. (Expect to wait on hold approximately 20 minutes.) You must be able to receive mail at the precise address you are inquiring about - thus, you generally have to live there. But that seems to be the only requirement for obtaining the apartment's rent history. Look for large jumps in rent not associated with a change in status - meaning going from rent controlled to rent stabilized - or a Major Capital Improvement.

The big picture about rental real estate is this - there’s lots of instructional or piecemeal information available - this column is not about linking to those stores of websites - it is about helping to illuminate the purpose of the requirements and how to participate in the system that has been set to protect you though oftentimes seems to be working against you.

Next time in this space - the big decisions and the changes in rent laws that may soon roll back rents in NYC, and...

"What is rent control exactly?"

Disclaimer: Kelley Boyd is not a lawyer nor has she played one on TV - though she does represent herself in her own rent-related court-room dramas! (Cue Law and Order music). The references and details shared in these posts are from direct experience as a pro-se complainant / respondent in City Civil Court and the NY State Supreme Court on landlord / tenant law.

Kelley Boyd is a serial entrepreneur who is not afraid to tackle the really hard things. Three years into the abyss of the DHCR with a rent overcharge claim, this column is a conduit for all that is crazy about NY Rental Board Guidelines. Get connected at or at

No-Fee NYC Apartment of the Day: East Village's "The Skyeast" at 636 East 11th Street

January 31, 2012

The Skyeast at 636 East 11th Street

Avg Rental Prices:

  • Studio - $1,796

  • 1-Bedroom - $2,724

  • 2-Bedroom - $3,294

Features & Amenities:

  • Laundry in Building

  • Full-time Doorman

  • Elevator

  • dogs okay

  • cats okay

Why you’re going to love living here:

  • 2 blocks away from Tompkins Square Park

  • The famous East Village nightlife

  • Morning jogs along the FDR

Hostel Living in NYC!

January 25, 2012

By: Jessica Festa

Depending on how much time you have, sometimes you may need to arrive in New York before you secure your dream NYC apartment. Instead of splurging on an expensive hotel while you conduct your apartment search, why not stay in a hostel?

While hostels sometimes get a bad reputation thanks to poorly made, outlandish Hollywood films, they are actually an inexpensive and fun type of accommodation that can actually help you get to the know the city through tours, activities, workshops, and a social atmosphere. Many also offer free breakfasts, plan events, private rooms, and have friendly staff that will show you around the city themselves when they’re not working. Here are some top hostel choices for someone who has moved to New York but has not yet secured an apartment:

NY Moore Hostel

The NY Moore Hostel is a brand new hostel located just outside of the hip and trendy Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. The space is impeccably clean, and the rooms are more like penthouse suites than dorms. In the warmer months, guests can relax in their outdoor terrace area. Another perk? Free Wi-Fi means you don’t have to worry about racking up charges will you search for your perfect New York apartment.

Hostelling International- New York

Hostelling International- New York is located in the Upper West Side, right in the heart of some of the city’s best nightlife and restaurants. The hostel is enormous, featuring a ballroom that often holds parties and events,  game room, lounge, cafe, theater, art gallery, kitchen/dining area, and the largest private patio and garden in Manhattan. And for those who want to help the environment, the accommodation is an eco-friendly property, taking part in recycling programs and using 100% energy-star approved appliances and electronics as well as 100% fluorescent lightbulbs. Moreover, to aid in the search for the dream apartment, internet access and free Wi-Fi are available.

Chelsea International Hostel 

Located in the famous historic and art-gallery rich area of Chelsea, this hostel is in the safest area of the city. Moreover, if you’re into exploring New York’s nightlife, it is close to an array of Chelsea venues as well as adjacent to the hip and lively Greenwich Village. Activities and events like pub crawls, city tours, pizza parties, movie nights, and cookouts will allow you to explore the Big Apple while making new friends. And don’t worry, computer and wireless connection is available to help you in your apartment search

Bio: "Jessica Festa is team member at WeHostels, the First Social Booking site for Hostels, Beds and Couches. With profiles for travelers the world over, and relationships with hostels, beds and couches in over 700 cities across the globe, WeHostels offers travelers of all stripes the opportunity to connect with fellow wanderers and find their ideal accommodations before their trip even starts."