Renter's Guide

Rental Requirements

Found your dream apartment in the area that fits your lifestyle? Ready to move in? Before you do, you need to meet rental requirements. Since New York City has the hardest rental requirements in the nation, you should know what to expect.

What Landlords require

Many renters are shocked to find how strict the financial requirements for most Manhattan rental apartments can be. If you don't have a rental history, these requirements can become even more stringent.

In Manhattan, most landlords require new tenants have yearly salaries of at least 35 to 50 times the monthly rent. They will also look at your credit history, occupation status, and debt including student loans, auto loans, credit cards and more.

Credit Check & Guarantors

In order to see if you will be a good tenant, landlords will ask you for your financial and personal information. This will include a credit application, pay stubs, copies of tax returns, letters of recommendations and more.

Using the information obtained above, landlords will run a credit on every applicant. This can cost anywhere between $50 and $150. Most decisions on whether you will get the apartment are based on the credit report. Landlords will look to see if you have late payments, outstanding past due payments, delinquencies, collections and Landlord-Tenant records.

If your credit report does not meet the credit requirements, landlords will treat your application differently. Some will reject your application all together. Some will allow you to pay a higher security deposit and some will allow you to use a guarantor.

A guarantor, or a co-signor, is someone who is willing to guarantee that they will pay your rent if you cannot pay. The guarantor is accountable for all terms of your lease. If you do not meet the credit obligations a guarantor may be the option for you. Most landlords require the guarantor to live in New York City, Connecticut or New Jersey, have good credit, show annual income of 80 to 100 times the rent and provide proof of income.


Once you have found an apartment there are number of fees that you must pay to apply. Most landlords will require all payments to be in the form of separate certified check, cashier's check or money order. Fees can include:

  • First month's rent and a security deposit to hold the apartment. Security deposits can be anywhere from 1 to 4 months of rent
  • Credit check and application fees. These can be anywhere between $50 and $150.
  • Broker fees. If you work with a real estate broker you can expect to pay up to 15% of the first year's rent.


In addition the fees, you will have to fill out and provide paperwork to your landlord. Each landlords will have a different application process. Typical paperwork requirements you can expect include:

  • Application Form
  • Letter of employment
  • Pay stubs
  • Tax Returns
  • Landlord letter of reference
  • Bank statement
  • References
  • Identification