Renter's Guide

What to bring on your apartment search

In the New York City real estate market, time is of the essence if you want to guarantee that your dream home is yours to rent. That means having all the necessary paperwork and materials ready and available before you begin your apartment quest. We recommends that you bring the following items with you:

  • Letter of employment (should be on company letterhead, signed by a supervisor, and include the following items: salary, guaranteed bonus, title, start date and housing allowance, if any.)
  • Two recent pay stubs.
  • Bank account numbers and verification contact information.
  • Investment account numbers and verification contact information.
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlords.
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references.
  • A copy of your past one to two years federal income tax returns.
  • Additional sources of income, if any, with verification.
  • Personal ID with photo, e.g. driver's license and/or passport.

We also recommends that you line up necessary funds particularly if you are relocating from out-of-town since landlords often require bank funds and will not accept a personal check out of the Tri-state area:

If you can't open a New York bank account before you begin your apartment hunt, bring the necessary funds with you. Bring enough travelers' checks to cover the cost of 2 months' rent. (This comprises the required first month's rent and one month security.) Bring funds to cover the broker's fees. These fees are due upon signing of the lease Bring funds to cover a credit check. (Usually this amounts to $25-$50 and can usually be paid by personal check.) Bring funds to cover possible move-in/move-out fees.

If your salary level and financial picture does not meet the landlord's minimum requirement, be prepared to line up a guarantor who will guarantee your lease. The guarantor will need to live in the New York tri-state area, have an income of twice that required by the landlord and to produce financial documentation to prove it.