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Ultimate NYC Rental Checklist

NYC rental checklist

If you plan to rent an apartment in New York City, having an NYC rental checklist is an absolute essential. The New York City market is a fast-paced one that requires you to have all your ducks in a row if you are to take advantage of the many opportunities that abound.

An NYC rental checklist allows you to do that.

Here is a list of the things you need to have before renting an apartment in NYC.


Established Budget

Before you start searching, be sure about the much you will be comfortable shelling out in rent.

And as much as it is good to make savings, remember, in New York City, you get what you pay for.

But again, your current salary might dictate to a large extent how much you’ll be paying in rent, as we explain in the next point.


Earn 40 Times the Monthly Rent

You read that right! As insane as it may sound, renters in New York City have to put up with this income rule.

You need to be earning at least 40 times the amount you will be paying in rent each month. That means, if the apartment you are eyeing costs $2,500 to rent per month, you need to earn at least $100,000 a year.

The option is to use a guarantor.


Photo ID

You can use any government-issued identification card – driver’s license, passport, permanent resident card, etc.


Letter of Employment

Get a letter from your employer stating information that includes your position, length of time worked there or your future start date, salary and any commissions or bonuses.


One Month of Paystubs

If you are employed you will need to prove it by showing two paystubs.


Tax Returns

Copies of your tax returns from the past two years might be required.


Bank Statements/Savings/Reserve Funds

It can feel like an invasion of privacy, but most landlords and management companies want to be sure that you can meet your rental payments in the event you lose your job.

Cash rules in New York, so the more you’ve saved, the better.


Letter from your Previous Landlord

The next thing you will need in your NYC rental checklist is a letter from your past landlord.

This will vary from one landlord/manager to another. Some might want proof that you were a good tenant and always paid your rent on time.


Good Credit Score

If your credit is poor, renting an apartment in New York can be an uphill task. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Read: Is it Possible to Get an Apartment with Bad Credit in NYC


Three Months’ Rent

After submission and approval of all the necessary documentation, you will need to have a security deposit, the first month’s rent, and probably the last month’s rent.

Not everyone will ask for the last month’s rent, but it is important to be prepared.



If you plan to use a broker, then you need to factor a broker’s fee in your NYC rental checklist.

Brokers normally ask for 15% of the annual rent. So, if your rent is $2,500 a month, you will be required to fork out $4,500 in broker fees (15% of $2,500*12).

You don’t necessarily need a broker as you can go it DIY. Each approach has its own pros and cons.

Also See: Tips for Finding No Broker Fee Apartments in NYC.

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