Rental FAQs

No one likes a surprise (except maybe a marriage proposal or a birthday present). For some, renting an apartment in Manhattan can be a complex, time-consuming, frustrating and expensive process. Approval procedures and timelines vary from landlord to landlord. The market can be unforgiving in its pace. And add all that to the headache of dealing with a traditional broker in this city.

You deserve better.

At Cooper & Cooper, our mission is to make the entire rental experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. Let us empower you. We hope the following Rental FAQs will help align your expectations with the realities of the market, and will provide you with an introduction so that you can feel more comfortable as you begin your search with us. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and the entire rental process in more detail.

We want to be your real estate professional.
Q: When should I begin my search?

A: A little planning can go a long way. We generally recommend that our clients start looking for an apartment 30 to 45 days before their desired move-in date – though we have certainly helped many folks find an apartment in 1 day or 1 week. Most landlords find out about their upcoming vacancies only within a month or two (and sometimes days) of the leases expiring for the current tenants, hence the suggested time frame. For example, if you are looking for a May 1st lease, it may make sense to beginning looking at the end of March and beginning of April. And, if an apartment is already vacant, the owner will likely want to rent the apartment sooner than later. If your travels bring you to NYC earlier, we would be happy to show you places to give you a preliminary sense for various apartment sizes and prices ranges.

Not currently in NYC? No problem. We can certainly discuss your needs, send you pictures, floorplans and descriptions, and stay in touch until you arrive. Or, we can even help you rent an apartment sight unseen. Ask us how.

Q: What paperwork do I need to bring?

A: Paperwork preparedness can help expedite the rental of an apartment. When applying for an apartment, landlords will typically ask each applicant to furnish the following supporting documents:

  • > Employment verification letter on company letterhead stating position, salary and bonus, if any.
        If you are starting a new job, bring your offer letter.
  • > Most recent pay stubs, if applicable
  • > Copy of your most recent bank statement
  • > Photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport)

If you are self-employed, landlords may want to see a CPA letter and prior year tax returns. For guarantors, landlords may also require prior year tax returns. You can potentially strengthen your application by providing documentation for any other verifiable sources of income and additional assets (i.e. brokerage account, money market fund).

Q: What is a guarantor?

A: A guarantor, or "co-signer", is an individual who guarantees payment of the rent. It is very common to have a guarantor – especially for first-time renters, clients moving to NYC or for prospective tenants who are starting a new job. Guarantors typically need to earn 75 to 90 times the monthly rent in income. Depending on the landlord, multiple guarantors can be used. Guarantors are often parents, but can be siblings, friends or co-workers – as long as they live in the U.S. We would be happy to coordinate with your guarantor.

Q: What is the first step to securing an apartment I want to rent?

A: The first step is to submit a completed rental application, along with an application fee (typically $50-$100 per applicant). We can provide you with the appropriate, building-specific form. The application fee, which differs from landlord to landlord, pays for running your credit and processing your application. In many cases, submitting the application and fee will put the apartment "on hold" for you. However, some landlords will require all paperwork up front and may take multiple applications. Good credit is an important requirement for most New York landlords, but we can certainly pursue several options should your credit be impaired.

Q: What are the financial requirements for renting an apartment?

A: Landlords review credit, income and assets in evaluating a prospective tenant. Most landlords require applicants to demonstrate income of approximately 40 to 50 times the monthly rent. Combined incomes are almost always considered for roommates and couples. If an applicant is shy of the income requirement, or has unsatisfactory credit, a guarantor may often be used. The guarantor must have good credit and earn income of approximately 75 to 90 times the monthly rent.

Q: How long does it take to get approved?

A: In short, it depends. Some buildings can approve you on the spot, while others may take a day or two – or upwards of a week. Having your paperwork at the ready will surely help. Keep in mind that renting a condo or a co-op will often involve a longer time frame because the paperwork must be submitted for board approval.

Q: What monies are due and when?

A: At a minimum, landlords typically require 1 month rent and 1 month security. Some owners may want additional security and/or pre-paid rent after reviewing an applicant’s supporting paperwork and credit report. All monies, including the brokerage commission, are due at lease signing in the form of separate certified checks.

Do you have a question not addressed here? Call us! We’re at your service.