Renting an apartment in New York is not easy. Housing is competitive, prices are volatile, and applications are invasive. First-time renters may be overwhelmed by how much information brokers and landlords ask for. At openigloo, we often get messages from renters asking us what’s normal for an NYC rental application checklist, as handing over dozens of personal documents to a stranger feels weird. But rest assured, these kinds of requests are very common.
Generally, landlords are looking to confirm 3 things: your income, your credit, and your rent payment history. In NYC, renters need to make 40x the rent and have credit of around 700 to be eligible for an apartment without a guarantor. The 40x rule means your annual gross household income needs to be 40x the rent (for example, if the apartment is $2000, your income needs to be $80,000 per year: 2000 x 40 = 80,000). If you want to prepare for your apartment hunt and get your application ready, this is what you’ll need:
1. 6 months bank statements.
Provide full PDF reports and not screenshots. Your name, address, starting and ending balance needs to be on the statements. Make sure these statements showcase bi-weekly deposits from an employer and rent withdrawals. Highlight these line items to make it easier for the application reviewer to identify. If you have multiple accounts, savings or investment accounts, you can include those as well.
2. Last 3 pay stubs.
These should be official receipts from an employer that showcase your gross and net income. Landlords want to see that you are working right now. Usually, they won’t take into consideration an offer letter for a job you haven’t started yet.
3. Employment Letter.
A short letter from your manager outlining your job title, salary, and how long you’ve been there will really help strengthen your application.
4. Last 2 tax returns.
This is another way for the landlord to confirm your income history. The income you declare should match the 40x rule. If it doesn’t (maybe you’ve since received a raise), explain that in your application.
5. Credit Report from the past 30 days.
Landlords may run your credit for you – this shouldn’t cost you more than $20. But if you have a valid report from the past 30 days, you can submit that. It needs to be the full credit report – not screenshots from Credit Karma or other websites. You can get a copy of your full credit report on Experian.
6. 6-Month Rent Payment History.
Landlords want to see that you pay rent on time. Show receipts, Venmo screenshots, or rent ledgers from your previous landlords, etc.
7. Landlord Reference.
While not mandatory, this will really help strengthen your application. Just a short letter from your past landlord that says you were a tenant in good standing with no issues.
8. Photocopy of your government-issued ID.
If you do not have all of the above, you may need a guarantor. A guarantor needs to make 80x the rent to have a credit score of around 800. Ideally, they should be US residents from the tri-state area. Double-check with the landlord or broker on whether guarantors are accepted. Your guarantor will need to provide tax returns, their credit report, and ID to confirm their eligibility. Get those items organized in advance to submit with your application. If you don’t know anyone that can guarantee a lease for you, there are third-party guarantor services you can pay to guarantee your lease.
Get your documents organized and in order on openigloo. You can use our applicant profile to send complete and strong applications to landlords and brokers across the 5 boroughs.