Brick Underground

Anne Machalinski
Feb. 19, 2014

f you’ve ever rented--or attempted to rent--an apartment in New York City, you’re likely familiar with that Sisyphean frustration that takes hold of even the most dogged would-be renter.

Between the piles of paperwork (bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs), financial hurdles (most landlords require applicants to make 40 to 50 times the monthly rent and have a credit score above 720), and the always-churning system that requires would-be tenants to move quickly or move on, the prospect of signing a lease can seem impossible.

“It’s almost easier to purchase than it is to rent in this city," observes Ande Sedwick, an agent at Nest Seekers.

That said, it's important to understand where the landlord is coming from. New York State’s laws favor the tenant. It can take six months to a year (or longer) to evict a deliquent tenant, says Eric Hamm, the senior managing director of Citi Habitats’ Upper West Side office. Plus, the landlords will have to pay legal fees on top of losing rental income.

In short, a landlord wants to know that you can and will pay the rent on time, and “the only defense they have is that initial screening,” Hamm says.

And thus, the brutal gauntlet for renters hoping to qualify.

Some types of renters--including freelancers, foreigners, full-time students, retirees, those who have previously claimed bankruptcy, and those without credit or income--are difficult to approve because the assurance that they’ll pay isn’t there.

"It’s either a credit issue, an asset issue or an income issue,” says Gus Waite, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker AC Lawrence who’s specialized in rentals for 10 years.

Read more: 


Ande Sedwick Ande Sedwick
LIcensed Real Estate Salesperson l Licensed as Andrea Marie Sedwick