Finding a rental in
in New York City
has never been easy

We’re here to make the process as effortless as possible.

In a rental market as competitive as ours, you need experienced local agents you can trust to guide you through the complex process. From identifying listings to scheduling appointments to preparing your application, we want to make sure you find your dream home.

Where do I begin?

Timing, determining your budget, and preparation—these are the first steps to securing a rental that’s right for you. If you’re not familiar with Brownstone Brooklyn or Manhattan, our agents have lived here for years and can provide you with valuable insights about the neighborhoods you’re considering.

What’s my ideal timing?

Ideally, you should begin looking at apartments 30-45 days prior to the date you want your lease to begin. If you begin looking too soon, there might not be enough inventory to meet your needs; too late, and the market will likely be too picked over.

How about my budget?

On average, New Yorkers spend roughly 30% of their annual salary on rent, meaning, if you earn $100,000 per year, you could expect to spend around $2500 in rent each month or $30,000 per year. Most landlords require annual income of between 40-50 times the monthly rent, along with exemplary credit histories. But don’t let any of that freak you out—New York is the biggest city in the nation and it’s full of wonderful neighborhoods, many of which our agents call home themselves.

What should I prepare ahead of time?

Most landlords request the following documentation in support of your rental application:

  • Photo ID
  • Employment Verification Letter – stating position, salary (including any bonuses) and length of employment. If self-employed, get a letter from a CPA stating the nature of your business and earnings over the past 2 years.
  • Paystubs – 2 most recent.
  • Tax Returns – 2 years most recent. If self-employed, include your schedule C.
  • Bank Statements – 2 most recent statements (checking & savings) with your name on the first page.
  • Landlord Reference Letter – not always required, but extremely helpful if you’re competing with other applicants.
  • Credit Report – there is no need to bring your own credit report. Most landlords will only accept a report run directly by the broker. The cost for the report can range between $50 – $250 (sometimes more if you are applying for a co-op or condo). Please let your agent know in advance of any issues that may appear on your credit report.

When should I use a guarantor?

In the event that you do not meet the landlord’s requirements based on income or credit, you might be able to enlist the help of a guarantor. A guarantor (often an immediate family member) is someone who will sign a legal notice guaranteeing payment and performance of your lease. Your guarantor is expected to submit the same application and supporting documentation noted above. Most landlords require guarantors to earn annual income between 80-100 times the monthly rent, or if retired, prove substantial assets or savings. Landlords prefer the guarantor reside within the tri-state area (NY, NJ or CT).

Alright, I’ve got all of that. Now how do I apply for an apartment?

Once you’ve found the perfect home, your agent will help you compile a thorough application for the landlord’s review. You will be required to pay credit check fees (typically $25 per applicant) and a refundable $500 good faith deposit. Should your application be denied for any reason, the $500 deposit will be returned to you.

Then I sign the lease?

Once the landlord has approved your application, a lease signing can be scheduled. Your agent will let you know all the payments required at the lease-signing; typically, a certified check for the first month’s rent, one month’s security deposit, and the broker’s fee. Here are standard riders and disclosures that accompany New York leases:

We also provide a Moving Checklist to help you prepare for your move.

How much is the broker’s fee?

When an agent successfully helps you secure a rental property and only then, the commission due is generally 15% of your first year’s rent. So if your monthly rent is $2000, you’ll be paying $24,000 for the year; 15% of $24,000 = $3600.

Can you tell me more about my rights as a renter in NYC?

We encourage you to read more about your rights as a tenant in New York. Knowing is half the battle!