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Tips to make your New York City apartment rental search easier.
WHAT TO BRING PROCEDURES & REQUIREMENTS APARTMENT HUNTING TIPS
RENTAL CATEGORIES APARTMENT TERMINOLOGY BUILDING TERMINOLOGY

NEW YORK APARTMENT HUNTING TIPS


WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR SEARCH

The following list of documentation will help, so bring as much as possible:

MANHATTAN RENTAL PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS

INCOME

A lot of owners require that prospective tenants earn anywhere from 42 to 52 times the monthly rent. Combine income with spouse sometimes acceptable.
 

RENT 42 X 50 X 52 X
$800-$900 34K-38K 40K-45K 42K-47K
$1000-$1200 42K-50K 50K-60K 52K-62K
$1200-$1500 50K-63K 60K-75K 62K-78K
$1500-$1800 63K-75K 75K-90K 78K-94K
$1800-$2200 76K-92K 90K-110K 94K-114K
$2200-$2500 92K-105K 110K-125K 114K-130K

APPLICATION

Most applications require the following:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Current Address/Phone Number
  • Current Rent/Mortgage Payment
  • Previous Address
  • Current Landlord's Name/Phone Number
  • Occupation
  • Name of Employer, Address/Phone Number
  • Length of Employment
  • Annual Salary
  • Total Other Household Income
  • Names of Additional Residents
  • Bank Name, Address, Account Numbers
  • Accountant's Name/Phone Number

Income Verification - The landlord will want to check with a representative of your company, so you will need to give him the name of someone who can verify salary, employment history, and probability of future employment.The landlord will want this information in writing. If you own your own business, you may have to provide an accountant's or tax attorney's statement, and a copy of your most recent tax return.

Credit Check - Good credit is required: explanations for minor deviations will most probably be accepted. You will have to pay for the credit check yourself, which will probably be under $100. Anyone on the lease will have to have their credit checked, including spouses.

GUARANTORS

If for any reason, you cannot meet income, employment, or credit requirements, you may have a guarantor sign your lease with you, and that individual will be responsible for all aspects of the lease if you default. A guarantor will have to have an annual income requirement of at least 80X the monthly rent, and reside in the USA. Some landlords may require 100X the monthly rent and/or residency or business in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

SECURITY DEPOSIT

One month's rent is the usual amount for a security deposit payable at the signing of the lease with the first month's rent and fee. You will need a bank check, money order or certified check. Your security deposit will be held in an interest bearing account, with the total interest minus 1% payable to you annually. If you abide by the terms of the lease and leave the apartment in the same condition it was at the beginning of the lease period (excepting normal wear and tear) the total security deposit will be refunded.

LEASES AND LEASE TERMS

Most landlords and building owners use the standard form of apartment lease and if you rent an apartment that is "rent-stabilized" you are protected by New York City rent stabilization laws, (tenants have certain renewal options and increases are regulated by the city.) If you feel that there is a great likelihood that you will be transferred before your lease period expires, tell your agent BEFORE you begin your search, and it may be possible to negotiate a lease break clause allowing you to leave with minimum penalties. The chances of negotiating this clause are slim, but depend on the state of the rental market at the time.

SHARES

Two people sharing an apartment is acceptable and more may be allowed in a larger units. Roommate sharing services do exist to help find a share, but most people rely on personal contacts. There are companies that can divide an apartment using a temporary wall that is disassembled when you leave, some landlords will agree to this as long as the structural integrity of the apartment is not affected and the number of occupants is agreed upon.

PETS

Do not try to hide a pet. Most landlords have strict regulations regarding dogs, however cats are normally allowed. Check to see if the building you are considering allows your pet before you waste any time looking at apartments there.

MANHATTAN RENTAL APARTMENT CATEGORIES

RENTAL BUILDINGS

These are buildings totally owned by landlords and devoted strictly to rental apartments. You can expect to fill out an application, pay for a credit check, and your approval should come through as quickly as the same day, or no later than a week. One month's rent is usually all that is needed for a security deposit, refundable.

CONDOMINIUMS

In condominium buildings, the apartments are owned by individuals, not a single landlord. Apartments are occupied by residents who either live there full-time or part-time or apartments that have been purchased as investment properties, which are rented out for as long as the owner wishes. The owner has the right to decide the amount of rent and security, as well as the length of the lease. Expect that the security deposit could be more and that you may have to pay "move-in/move-out fees," which cover costs relative to your physical move in and out of the building.

COOPERATIVES (CO-OPS)

In cooperative buildings, individuals own shares in an overall corporation, the number of shares being based on the size and worth of their apartments. Since the building is technically owned by the corporation, there are likely to be many restrictions governing the usage of the apartments by the individual residents. It is unusual to find a cooperative that will allow rentals, (called "sublets") and if it does, then it requires a prospective tenant to apply to the co-op board agreeing to provide detailed financial information and a personal interview, before the sublet is approved. Obviously, the approval process will take longer than the normal condo or apartment, "move-in/move-out" fees still stand and the security deposit could be higher as well. It is extremely difficult for a new-hire or an expatriate to rent a co-op without some credit history.

FURNISHED APARTMENTS (SHORT AND LONG TERM)

Manhattan has furnished apartments available for as little as a few months up to a year. The shorter the lease period, the fewer to choose from. They are usually furnished very tastefully, but will be priced in the middle to luxury range. These apartments come with televisions, phones, linens and kitchen equipment, and are design especially for corporate clients. If you need a furnished apartment for a year and your budget does not allow a furnished apartment, consider an unfurnished apartment and rent furniture yourself.

MANHATTAN APARTMENT TERMINOLOGY

ALCOVE

An area adjoining the living room space which can be used for a dining area or be separated or closed off to make a bedroom, den or office.

CONVERTIBLE OR FLEX

An apartment with a larger alcove off the living room which can be converted to another bedroom or which can be used as a dining area. A "convertible two-bedroom" or "flex two" is a one bedroom with a large alcove and 1 or 2 bathrooms.

FURNISHED

Apartments which are fully equipped with furniture and amenities. Available for long and short term use.

JUNIOR

An apartment with a small alcove off the living room which can be converted to a small bedroom or used as a dining area. A "junior 4" would be a potential 4-room apartment: living room, bedroom, kitchen, and alcove area (bathroom is not counted as a room.)

LOFT AREA

Sometimes found in apartments with high ceilings. An upper area which has been built for storage or as an extra sleeping area or living area.

STUDIO

A studio is a two-room apartment (the kitchen is considered one room). An "alcove studio" is a studio with an alcove for dining or sleeping. A studio with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom can be referred to as a "junior one-bedroom" or "junior 3" (three rooms).

ONE-BEDROOM

A one-bedroom is a three-room apartment (kitchen, living room, bedroom). A one-bedroom with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom is called a "junior 4" (4 rooms), "flex 2" or "convertible 2" (convertible to two bedrooms).

TWO-BEDROOMS

A two-bedroom is a four-room apartment (kitchen, living room, two bedrooms). A "flex 3" or "convertible 3" is a two-bedroom apartment with space for an additional room (third bedroom, dining room, den, maid's room, etc.).

CLASSIC

A classic is an apartment in a pre-war building which has a formal dining room, 1 or 2 baths and in a larger apartment, 1 or 2 maid's rooms. A "classic 6" for example, is a 6-room apartment in a pre-war building that has a living room, formal dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, maid's room and 1 or 2 bathrooms. In the larger classics, it is common to find the smaller maids rooms combined into one larger room. Frequently, pre-war buildings have been gutted and renovated, but room counts and layouts will usually be listed according to their original configuration.

MANHATTAN BUILDING TERMINOLOGY

BROWNSTONE

One to six floors. No doorman. Built in the early 1900s as single family homes and many were converted during World War II to create multiple apartments (3-10 units per building.) Brownstones have "charm." Square footage is generally less than a similar room count would provide in a doorman building.

ELEVATOR BUILDING

Located mostly in the mid blocks. Six to twenty stories: many are found on side streets and are nine stories tall and have a laundry. Some pre-wars have an elevator attendant.

LOFT APARTMENT

Four to eleven or twelve story buildings. Former commercial buildings converted to apartments. Large open space. Usually elevator but no doorman service. Most are found in lower Manhattan in Soho, Tribeca or Chelsea. Most lofts are coo-ops. Some have restrictions regarding tenancy such as status as a certified artist.

LUXURY DOORMAN

Twenty to forty or more floors. Full or part-time doorman. The more luxurious buildings also have a concierge that provides services such as receiving laundry and packages. Some of these buildings have a health club and/or swimming pool.

PREWAR BUILDING

Ten to thirty floors. Doorman or non-doorman. Built in the late 1800s to 1940s. Exterior and interior architectural detailing. Common features include high-ceilings, hardwood floors, arched doorways or fireplaces. Most are co-ops.

POSTWAR BUILDING

Built from 1946 through today. Exteriors are usually white, red or brown brick. Most are cheaper than prewar. Laundry facilities are usually in the basement.

WALK-UP BUILDING

Up to five floors. No elevator or doorman. Originally built as multi-family housing. There are usually more apartments in this type of housing than in a brownstone. This is one of the cheapest apartment options. Originally built as tenements.

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All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Listed subject to errors, omissions, change in price, prior sale, rent and withdrawal without notice. Photographs, videos, description and information about the properties reflect conditions at the time the photographs and videos were taken. All dimensions and all square footage are approximate. For exact dimensions, you must hire your own architect or engineer. Copyright 1997-2013 Robert Hill. All rights reserved.

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