Finding Student Apartments in New York City is HARD, so we've put together a NYC Student Housing Guide.
Where to begin?
So you’re ready to get out into the world – where do you start? New York City is a jungle, but luckily for you there are tons of resources to help you navigate it. Start your search about four weeks before your expected move-in date; you can start earlier, but many renters don't tell their landlords they’re moving until the last minute. Scour the web, newspapers, and your school’s database for available apartments. Set up viewings (on day one, with landlords directly; on day two, with a broker who can show you apartments you wouldn't have been able to see on your own). Other options are to sublet or find a roommate. Bottom line: act fast, because the best apartments are seldom on the market for more than a few days.
Fee vs No Fee
The rental market in NYC is very different from that in other parts of the nation. To find your dream apartment here, you may have to pay a broker’s fee (12-15% of a year’s rent). No doubt the cost is steep, but brokers have access to listings you don’t, get keys to prime units more readily, and can assist you with all the necessary paperwork.
In the last five years, many “no-fee” (no-broker-fee) websites have popped up where landlords list their properties directly to the public. Not all landlords can be found online, though, which is why we recommend that you check out the no-fee websites first to see if you can find a great deal, and then enlist the help of a broker to get access to the listings you wouldn't have been able to see on your own.
Sublets and Shares
If you’re interested in living in the New York City area and can’t afford the cost of an apartment of your own, living with a roommate may be an ideal situation. You can share the cost of the rent, and split common expenses and chores. It’s important to compare your needs and preferences with those of a potential roommate to minimize the likelihood of problems. Sublet.com, backpage.com and craigslist.com are great resources if you’re looking for a roommate or sublet. Finally, you can use a site like padmapper.com to help you visualize the many listings on Craigslist.com.
What Do I Need?
You’ve found the perfect apartment, and you can’t wait to move in. Before you sign on that dotted line, your going to have to jump through some hoops first. In Manhattan, most landlords will require that you earn 40 to 50 times the amount of the monthly rent. As a student or a recent graduate, this may be a roadblock. In that instance it’s important that you be able to have someone act as a guarantor.
Here is some of the more common paperwork you may be required to hand in (or your guarantor since you most likely do not qualify to rent on your own while being a student!):
· Make sure you have access to first month’s rent and one month security deposit in your bank account. When a landlord approves you they will want a certified bank check to seal the deal within 24 hours.
· First two pages of last year’s tax returns;
· Employment letter (if you are employed) stating length of employment and salary;
· Copy of your photo ID
· 1-2 bank statements;
· 1-2 pay stubs ;
· Copy of student ID or admittance letter (if you’re a student). If you’re using a guarantor, the landlord will probably only be running your credit score and want to see that you are in fact in school. If you can get a past landlord’s recommendation letter, that’s great, but it’s usually not a requirement.
The Management Company or landlord may ask you to provide some additional paperwork depending on their policies and procedures.
What is a Guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who is willing to take on the financial responsibility of your lease if you are unable to fulfill it. A guarantor can be your parent, uncle or cousin; some landlords will require that they reside in the tri-state area where as others are more lenient. Usually the guarantor must make 80 times the monthly rent in income to qualify.
Meeting the income and credit qualifications is often the most difficult part of getting the apartment you want; you may want to consider using a lease guaranty service such as Insurent.com. They will act as a co-signer on your lease and are accepted by over 150,000 units in NYC. You can also talk to your broker- they may be able to provide you with a list of landlords who are more flexible with their requirements.
As a potential renter in NYC, it’s important to be cautious. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the scams that take place on Craigslist.
It’s very important to be careful whenever dealing with someone online. Never send them money for an “application fee” or sign a lease before viewing the apartment.
Scams to be aware of:
· Craigslist.com (Many scam postings; better for sublets/shares)
· The Affordable Equity Project