Renting How-To

It’s no secret that the rental market in New York moves fast. Use our guide to find out what it takes to rent and apartment in New York City.
We’ve broken down some things to keep in mind as well as what to expect during the rental process.
Also check out our FAQ’s. For any further questions, do not hesitate to ask one of our experienced agents.

  1. Determine your budget. Most landlord/management companies require tenants make 40-50x the rent in annual income.
  2. Make a list of your “must haves” and “wants”. Every apartment is unique and knowing what you really need is essential.
  3. Have the proper paperwork ready. Sometimes it is advisable to take your supporting documents with you on apartment showings so you can submit your application quickly.
  4. Be aware of the initial funds needed to rent an apartment.
    • Many rentals require one or two months rent as a security deposit.
    • Funds to cover the broker’s fee
    • Credit check funds
    • Move in/Move out fees

What you’ll need to be prepared and submit your application in a smooth and timely fashion.

  1. Letter of employment on company letterhead. The letter must state your position, length of employment or start date, your annual income and must be signed by an authorized employee.
  2. Copy of your last three most recent pay stubs.
  3. Three most recent bank statements.
  4. Last two years of federal tax returns.
  5. Photo identification such as Driver’s License or Passport.
  6. Letter of landlord reference.

If a guarantor is required, documents required are similar to an applicant’s:

  • Qualifications of a guarantor or co-signer: documents required from a guarantor are similar to applicant(s):
    • Application Form: Same form as the applicant fills out.
    • Credit Report: A guarantor’s credit report must be in good standing.
    • Federal Tax Returns: A guarantor is required to submit federal tax returns as proof of income.
    • Guarantor must show annual income of 80-100 times monthly rent.
    • A Guarantor is not required to be present at lease signing.
    • In some cases, landlords/management companies require a guarantor to reside in the tri- state area (New York, New Jersey or Connecticut).


Frequently Asked Questions

When should I begin searching?

You should begin your search 30 – 45 days before your desired lease start date.

Why choose GPMG?

Prospective renters choose GPMG because they understand GPMG will save them considerable time and money in the long run. There is a lot of paperwork and assessment of your finances to be done even with renting. GPMG agents not only work with our clients to find them the best deals but also understand how frustrating the real estate market can be and work hard to achieve results.

Our agents work hard to negotiate the lowest possible monthly rent payments. And also offer a variety of services covering all aspects of property search. With a management team that offers over 30 years of experience in real estate, GPMG saves our clients time, money, and effort.

How do I determine my budget?

As a general rule, landlords typically require a tenant make 40x the rent (or a combined income of 40x the rent for roommates). To calculate this, take your annual income and divide it by 40.

Expect to pay 25% of your gross annual income in rent.

If you do not make 40x the rent in annual income, you need to have an guarantor. Landlords require guarantors to make 80x the rent in annual income.

A general price guideline for apartments in Manhattan:

  • Studios range from $1,800 to $2,500 per month
  • One bedroom range from $2,200 to $3,700 per month
  • Two bedrooms range from $3,500 to $6,500 per month
  • Three bedrooms range from $4,500 to $10,000 per month.

What is a broker's fee?

The rental market in New York City is different from many areas of the country for one reason: Brokerage fees are customarily paid by the tenant, instead of the landlord or building owner. This is due to the fact there is less than 1% vacancy rate in the city.

Broker fees are often 15 percent of a year’s rent.

If a property is No Fee, that means you will not incur a Broker’s fee.


What does "no fee" mean?

Sometimes landlords/management companies or brokers offer rental properties for ‘No fee’ (meaning no broker fees or rental application fees).

Working with a broker, “no fee” listings are very rare. They are typically found in buildings that are new construction and are looking to fill units quickly. These listings are also listed at a higher price point.

Keep in mind that the buildings you can walk in to without a broker and rent a “no fee” apartment pay an on-site leasing fee to their leasing staff , so while you may save money upfront, you are still paying the fee throughout the course of your lease in the rent premiums.

How long is a lease?

A typical lease is one year. Although some landlords/management companies will offer a two year lease. A two year lease is ideal for people who do not want to move as often or would like to lock in a rent price for the second year.

Landlords will not typically offer a lease for shorter than one year, although taking over a sublease is always an option.

What are the different types of buildings?

There are rental buildings, co-ops, and condo buildings.

  • Rental buildings: Usually full service, modern, doorman buildings; rents are generally high but are at market level. Annual rent increases might be considerable, depending on market conditions. A rental building is made up of renters and owned by a landlord.
  • Co-op and condo buildings: These are also usually full service buildings. Units have individual owners and there are fewer renters in these buildings. These individual owners may not be familiar with market conditions and usually utilize brokers to market their units.  This means units are typically listed as “exclusive” but it possible to get good deals in co-ops or a condo building. New tenants must complete a board package and the application/approval process could take over a month and require rigorous screening.  Although fees may be higher, these buildings are usually more well-maintained than rental buildings.

What does rent stabilized mean?

Rent stabilized buildings and/or apartments are buildings whose rent is regulated by the City of New York and State of New York.

Rent increases are only about 2-4% annually. Once a renter secures a rent stabilized apartment, they have a right to renew a lease agreement indefinitely.

A lot of brownstones, townhouses with more than 4 units and older tenement/elevator buildings in NYC fall into this category. These types of building are owned and operated by small to medium size landlords/management companies.

How do I calculate income?

Landlords require tenants to make 40x to 50x the rent in annual income.

In order to calculate this, take the rent and multiply it by 40. If the total is equal to or under your annual income, then you qualify for that apartment.

For example, $3,000 (apartment rent) x 40 = $120,000 (annual income)

If you do not make 40x the annual rent, you may need to consider getting a roommate or a guarantor.

What if I do not make 40x the rent?

If you do not make 40x the annual rent, you will need to have a guarantor that makes 80x the annual rent.

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor, also known as a co-signer, is someone willing to guarantee your lease.

If you do not meet the income requirements (annual income of 40x the rent), you can use a guarantor to meet the income requirements. A guarantor must show they make 80x the rent as well as fill out an application for the apartment, along with a credit report and supporting documents.

If you think you need a guarantor, it is good to make sure they know and are able to act quickly to gather the supporting documents.

Can I have a pet?

Unfortunately, having a dog narrows the selection of properties by 15%. Luckily, usually having a cat isn’t a problem.

Many places require approval from the management for a pet and typically require a pet deposit.

Speak to a GPMG agent to learn more about pet ownership and renting.