Renter FAQ

A Good Guide To Common Questions

About Renting

What does my budget have to be?

For rentals, landlords generally look for you to make 40x the monthly rent, so your maximum budget should be your yearly salary divided by 40. If you can’t afford a place on your own, you can consider moving in with a roommate or applying with a guarantor. Budgets will depend on the client, their individual situation, and their desired neighborhoods, number of bedrooms, and amenities.

When should I start looking?

We recommend starting your search about a month ahead of your move-in date. In New York City, the market moves extremely quickly. Apartments tend to hit the market about 3-4 weeks ahead of their move-in date. Many landlords will even wait until the previous tenant has vacated to put the apartment on the market, and then it would be ready for immediate move-in. Starting too early will result in either paying rent for time you aren't in the apartment or an inefficient search process.

Where can I search for apartments?

You can start with Our Team and its internal brokerage database, ensuring that every apartment you see is coming directly from verified brokers or landlords. Our team recommends NOT searching on Craigslist or other listing aggregation sites where the listings are ads placed by brokers. Unfortunately, there is no regulation on these sites and unscrupulous brokers at other firms often post fake or unavailable listings in a “bait and switch” strategy. For that reason, we have found that people have the most success going directly to a trusted broker.

What is an “exclusive” listing?

An exclusive apartment is one in which the landlord has hired a specific broker to rent out and represent their best interests in the transaction for that apartment, effectively setting the fee at 15% of the annual rent for the tenant.

What is an “open listing?”

An open listing is an apartment where Ny Rent Own Sell is helping you rent directly from the landlord. We are able to lower the fee to 10% for our clients.

What is a no-fee apartment?

The overall vacancy rate in New York City is 1%, so the vast majority of landlords do not pay fees. When working with a broker, “no-fee” listings are very rare. These are listings (typically found in new construction buildings) which the landlord is trying to fill quickly, so they will pay the fee on your behalf. These listings are extremely uncommon in New York, and tend to only be found on apartments that fall into a higher than average price point.

When this happens, the building management company needs to make back the money on the fees they’ve been paying on behalf of their tenants so they rent units at a more expensive rate than similar listings in the area. Keep in mind that the buildings you can walk into without a broker and rent a “no-fee” apartment pay an on-site leasing staff to rent the apartments, so while you may save on the upfront costs you are still paying that fee over the course of the lease in the rent premiums.

Over time, you end up paying much more in rent on a “no-fee” apartment than you would by committing to a one-time broker fee, working with an expert in the field, and seeing the market’s best inventory. Beware of brokers who advertise “no-fee” on ad sites like Craigslist, because there are very few buildings willing to pay broker fees (especially in the summer).

I want a no-fee apartment. Can You help me?

As it’s rare to see no-fee listings with a broker, Ny Rent Own Sell cannot help clients who are only looking for no-fee options. However, if you are open to a fee and there are no-fee listings that match your criteria, we will absolutely include them in your search.

How long does it take to rent?

The process of finding an apartment can take anywhere from an hour to several days. At Ny Rent Own Sell, we make the process as efficient as possible. Once we have spoken with you about your preferences and made your appointment, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours viewing apartments that would be a good fit for you.

Once you have found the right one, it is best to put in an application right away as the market is very competitive. The first prospective tenants to submit a completed application to the landlord will get the apartment. Being prepared with your paperwork will make the application process much easier. Landlord approval can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You will then sign your lease and move in!

I don’t make 40x the monthly rent. What do I do?

You will need a guarantor. This is someone who will co-sign your lease and agree to pay your rent if you cannot. If you do not have a guarantor, you can offer to pay the landlord six months to a year of rent upfront.

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor, sometimes called a co-signer, is a person willing to guarantee your lease. If you do not meet the income requirements for your apartment (typically 40x the monthly rent), you can use a guarantor to qualify for the apartment. A guarantor must show an annual income of 80x the monthly rent and will also have to fill out an application for the apartment, along with a credit report and supporting documents. Some landlords require that the guarantor live in the tri-state area. If you think you may need a guarantor, it is best to prepare them in advance of your appointment because you may need to act quickly in getting their application.

What can I expect to pay?

As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend about 25-30% of your income on rent. For budgeting help, consult our rent budget calculator or reach out to a member of the Ny Rent Own Sell Team team. The least expensive studios in the city tend to rent for around $1,800 and the sky is the limit for the most expensive rentals. It is a good idea to have four months’ of rent in liquid funds available when you start your search. At lease signing, you will need to pay the first month's rent, security (generally one month of rent), and any broker fees, all in certified checks.

What is the difference between a rental building and a co-op/condo?

A rental building is entirely renters and owned by a landlord, while in a co-op or condo all of the units are individually owned and there are fewer renters. Co-ops and condos tend to be exclusive listings because the owners utilize a broker to help them rent out the apartment. To rent a co-op, you need to be interviewed and approved by the board so the approval process could take several weeks. Though fees can be higher for condo and co-op rentals, the buildings are usually very well-maintained and can be better quality than a rental building.

Can I rent without being present?

Absolutely! Though it is always easiest to view apartments in person, Triplemint has helped many renters find their apartments remotely. We can send pictures or videos of the space, however, you will need to provide all necessary application documents before we start a remote search.

What is included in the rent?

Generally heat and hot water are included in your rent. Electricity and cable are billed separately.

How long is a lease?

The standard lease in New York City is one year. Some landlords are willing to sign two-year leases, though there may be a price increase the second year. This can be a good deal for people who want to lock in a rent price for the second year of their lease. Landlords typically will not offer leases shorter than one year because of the expense associated with turnover.

Do I need a doorman?

A doorman can be great for convenience and safety. Doormen will take your packages and dry cleaning/laundry deliveries, which can be very convenient if you work late hours. Doormen can also hold spare keys for you, so you are never locked out of your apartment. Doorman buildings also generally have maintenance staff who are always available for any issues in your apartment. Finally, a doorman restricts access to the building so that only authorized people can come in and out, adding an element of safety.