Rental Guide for International Students Moving to New York City

the openigloo team

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6 Things You Need To Know About Renting as An International Student:

So you just found out you’ll be moving to NYC as an international student! One of the things on your checklist is to figure out housing. Sometimes campus housing offices are helpful, but in a lot of cases you’ll be on your own. This is what you should keep in mind about renting in NYC as an international student.

Do not send money to anyone until you’ve verified the apartment is real

Beware of rental scams.

Rental scammers prey on international students. This is because typically you’ll be searching from abroad. These scams can come in many forms; perhaps they rent you an apartment that doesn’t exist or ask you to pay a high application fee to book an appointment. A good rule of thumb is to not send money to anyone until you’ve verified the apartment is real and until you’ve verified that you are speaking with a licensed real estate agent or the landlord.

Read more about avoiding rental scams here.

International students need a US-based guarantor (preferably from the tri-state).

Requirements to rent an apartment in NYC are strict. Typically, renters need to make 40x the monthly rent and have a US credit score of over 700. Obviously, international students wouldn’t be able to meet either of these requirements! Luckily, most landlords will consider your application if you have a guarantor. This is a person who will be financially and legally responsible for your lease agreement. They need to have a very strong financial profile to be eligible (80x the rent and 800+ credit). They also need to be a US resident, preferably from the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). If you don’t know anyone that can guarantee a lease for you, there are third-party guarantor services. They are essentially insurance companies that will back your lease in exchange for a fee.

Check out other things you’ll need for your application here.

Landlords are not allowed to accept rent payments upfront.

Paying up front is not allowed.

You may be thinking, “why can’t I just pay the landlord upfront and avoid all this hassle of applying and finding a guarantor?”  Well, paying upfront in NYC is illegal. Landlords are not allowed to accept rent payments upfront. They are also not allowed to collect more than 1 month’s security deposit.

Foreign bank accounts won’t be considered on your rental application.

Maybe you have a million dollars in a foreign bank account. You should be able to get an apartment right? Wrong. Even if this money were in a US bank account, you’d still have a hard time getting approved without US credit and an active salary.

in-unit washer and dryer will cost you

The more requirements you have for an apartment, the more expensive it will be.

Keep in mind that 80% of buildings in NYC were built before 1973. That means, modern style amenities and features are not super common here. Doorman buildings with in-unit washer and dryer will cost you – especially in Manhattan. 

Most landlords don’t have furnished apartments or help you find roommates.

Generally, landlords are pretty hands-off when it comes to helping new renters settle in. If you need roommates to split the rent with, you have to find them before you start applying to places. You and your roommates will be responsible for the rent together. If a roommate drops out or doesn’t pay their portion, you’ll still be on the hook for the rent in your landlord’s eyes.

Moving and renting in New York is stressful! Avoid rental scams and poorly-managed buildings by browsing verified listings on openigloo