Essential Guide

for smart Renters


Prepare your application package...

The New York Metro area is a very tight real estate market. To be successful in your apartment search you need to be able to act swiftly on an apartment you like.

A typical application asks for your current address, personal data like social security number and date of birth, your rental history, your employment data and your financial situation. Answer all questions openly and honestly. You can find a sample application on here.

  1. 6. If you’re currently renting, have your current landlord prepare a letter to verify that you’re a tenant in good standing. A sample letter is on page 18.

  2. 7. Ask your supervisor or personnel department to prepare a letter on company stationary that verifies your job description, length of employment and income, including bonuses and commissions. A sample letter is found on page 19.

  3. 8. If you’re self-employed, have copies of your last two (2) year’s tax returns and a letter from your accountant that verifies your income. A sample letter is found on page 20.

  4. 9. If you have any investment accounts, 401(k), or IRA accounts, have a copy of the most recent statement.

  5. 10. Have a copy of a mortgage bill or statement if you own any real estate.

  6. 11. If you’re applying for a co-op or condo rental, prepare three letters of personal reference and three letters of professional reference.

TIP: Preparing your rental application package ahead of time will put you one step ahead of the other renters competing for the apartment you want.

Employment and income information is probably the most crucial information for the landlord. Here’s a list of the kind of information you should gather before you visit your first apartment. Make several copies of   this data to have on hand if you apply for more than one apartment:

  1. 1. Use the sample Rental Application Form to start your package. This is a good organizer because all applications will require the basically the same information asked on this form.

  2. 2. Have your two most recent pay stubs with year-to-date information.

  3. 3. Have a copy of your most current bank statement.

  4. 4. Have a driver’s license, passport, or any other state-issued photo ID.

  5. 5. Use the sample Guarantor Application Form on page 17 to organize the information about your guarantor, if you need one. Your guarantor will be included on your lease, so he/she must prove to the landlord that they can indeed cover your rent if you miss a rental payment. The landlord will ask them the same personal and financial questions asked of you. The information disclosed is treated with all respect to privacy and security. Information is never shared with state or federal tax authorities, or with any other governmental agency.

TIP: Guarantors should answer all the landlord’s application questions openly and honestly, even though the financial inquiries may seem intrusive or they may feel it’s awkward to share so much of their financial data with their children. Guarantors shouldn’t try to second-guess what the landlord will accept and understate their income as a way to preserve some degree of privacy.

TIP: Once you have prepared your application package, make two or three copies. You may discover that you want to apply for two or three apartments so that you are not left hanging if your first choice of apartment turns your application down.

Also, and this is important, bring your application package with you when you go to view apartments. If you see the right apartment, you need to act quickly. Having your paper work with you will show the landlord that you anticipated his needs and you have a “business-like approach” to your affairs.

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