Rental Guide to Manhattan Rentals and Leasing


If you are thinking about renting in New York City, there are a few things you should think about and prepare in order to secure an apartment.  Here’s a look at what you’ll need – and need to know – to get a great place in the Big Apple.

Consider Cost vs. Location

Cost is huge consideration when looking for a rental unit in New York City.  A large portion of your income is going to be used for your rent, there’s no escaping that fact.  New Yorkers spend up to 1/3 of their income just for rent. While you may wish to live in Manhattan, the reality is that it is extremely difficult to find an apartment under $1,000 in a good neighborhood – and that’s with roommates.  Living alone will cost you substantially more.

To keep costs down, consider looking at apartments in the other boroughs or even New Jersey.  In these neighborhoods you are more likely to find an affordable apartment, and the commute will still be fairly minimal.

Access to Transportation

When looking for an apartment, save yourself trouble down the line by looking at places near train stations.  You’ll also want to make sure the train line is one that is reliable – some run on time, and some just don’t.  Consider whether or not you are willing to walk ten minutes or more to the nearest train station.

Convenience is Key

You’ll also want to consider what kind of conveniences are located near your potential apartment.  Is it close to banks, shopping, restaurants, and Laundromats?  How far is it from your job?  The average commute time in New York City is about 40 minutes, so keep that in mind.  While you may want to be close to your job, sometimes it’s better to be near the necessities.

Also consider whether or not you want to be close to the nightlife, or if you want to live in a quiet neighborhood.  Does the neighborhood feel safe?  Would you feel comfortable walking back to your apartment alone at night?

Be Prepared for the Application

The New York City rental market is incredibly fast-paced.  Once you find an apartment you like, you must move quickly.  Apartments can go in the blink of an eye, don’t be left out in the cold by not being prepared for the application.  Here’s what you will need to have on hand:

  • Driver’s license or passport
  • Letter of employment on company letterhead, including your salary and start date
  • Letter of acceptance from your school if you are a student
  • Copies of pay stubs for the past three months
  • Reference letter from a previous landlord
  • Back-up letters of reference from people in your business and personal life who can speak highly of you
  • Your most recent tax returns
  • Bank statements from the last three months
  • Completed rental application
  • First and last month’s rent
  • Security deposit

If you are lacking any of these documents, you may still qualify for an apartment by securing a guarantor.  This is the designated person who will pay your rent if you do not.  The rule of thumb is that landlords want renters who make 40 times the rent; guarantors should make 80 times.  They should also live in the area.

While finding an apartment to rent in the city can be a daunting task, if you are prepared with information and the necessary paperwork, you’ll have a much easier time finding your new place.

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