Do You Need a Guarantor to Rent an Apartment in NYC?
November 4th, 2019 | Posted in NYC Guide
There are many reasons you might need a guarantor to rent an apartment in NYC.
But first things first – Who is a guarantor? This is simply someone who, um, guarantees payment on a lease if, for one reason or another, you are unable to meet your rental payments.
A lease guarantor can be a family member (extended family included) but not necessarily.
Ideally, it needs to be someone within close proximity, especially if the guarantor is not a family member. The reason is that real estate agents want to be sure they can collect the money without too much hassle should the need arise.
How to know if you need a Guarantor to Rent an Apartment in NYC
Given the competitive nature of the real estate market in New York City, landlords can be a picky bunch sometimes. You could be having a million dollars in the bank but still get snubbed after applying for that one-bedroom you’ve been eyeing. True story.
Some of the reasons you might get turned down are logical, others intuitive, while in other instances, it’s because, well – they can. That’s what happens in a cut-throat market like the Big Apple.
Annoying? Yes – especially if you find yourself on the receiving end when there is no apparent reason at all for being rebuffed.
But that’s how some landlords and property managers with plenty of options can act sometimes.
We have pieced together some criteria to help you determine if you will need a guarantor to rent an apartment in NYC.
If any of the following applies to you, then yes, you may need to get yourself one:
- You do not meet the landlord’s rent-to-income ratio. Ideally, you should not use up more than 30% of your gross income on rent and utilities. More than this and you will be considered what is called “rent-burdened”. Meaning if you earn $60,000 a year, the maximum you should fork out for rent each month is $1,500 (that’s $18,000 annually (30/100 of $60,000)). As a general guideline, you need to be earning 40 times your monthly rent in New York to absolve you of the need to get a guarantor.
- You are self-employed or freelancing. The fluctuating income associated with these ventures can be perceived as a risk.
- You do not have an employment or rental history.
- You are relocating to the United States as a foreigner and do not boast a U.S.-based credit history.
- You are a non-resident in the US to study or work.
- You have recently graduated from college.
- You are a high net worth individual (HNWI) and you do not work – the hypothetical million dollars or a robust stock portfolio. Having liquid cash is not treated the same way as a steady stream that comes from having a job.
- You are retired. The same logic is applied in the case of retirees who may sit on a healthy nest egg, but the monthly income falls short of the ideal x40 the monthly rent.
Get a Guarantor
If you find you need a guarantor to rent an apartment in NYC, you have two options.
One is the old-fashioned option of having your parents acting as your guarantor.
Friends and other family members are also viable. However, they will need to show that in a year, they earn 80 times the monthly rent. Given the going rate in New York, the figures can be insane (think upwards of 6 figures).
The alternative is to hire a guarantor.
Many private equity and insurance firms have come up to cater to this growing need. Charges apply, of course, which can see you pay up as a percentage of one month’s rent (for example 80% of $1,500).
Others might require you to earn a certain amount of your monthly rent to qualify, although this will be much less than the 40 times required by landlords. Good credit history might also be a requirement, depending on the provider.