Obligo Blog Post 3

How to Rent Apartment in New York City in 2018?

Renting in New York City can be very overwhelming for first-timers and veterans alike.

That’s why we put together a short guide to smoothen your process!

Documents to Prepare:


Paystubs (Last 2-3 months)

Tax Returns (First 2 Pages, Last 2 Years)

Employment Letter or Offer Letter Bank Statement or Proof of Saving (Last 2-3 Months)

Government Issued Photo ID (Driver’s license, passport, state ID, etc.)

Social Security Number Credit Score (Landlord will conduct their own credit check)

References (Some will request multiple references including professional, personal and previous landlords)

Facts You need to Know:

New York City landlords typically require tenants’ incomes to be 40x the Rent

$3,000/month apartment requires $120,000 annual income

If you do not meet the income requirement, the landlord may request one or combination of the following

Extra deposit securityRent upfront (typically 1 year upfront for no proof of income)

Guarantor (80x the Rent or expensive paid services)

Rental Apartments move very quickly in New York City, once you see something you like, you should act on it.

Median Days on Market for NYC is less than 3 weeks

If you like it, odds are, someone else also likes it!

Application Process

Always has application fee

Always require tenant credit and background checks

International students and foreign nationals do not have credit but still need to run it anyway

Credit score is used as an index for determining amount of security deposit to give

The applications and initial payments typically require Cashier’s checks or Money Order

Cashier’s checks are only available from Banks and Western Union.

They usually cost $8-$12 per check and the money is drafted directly from your bank account.
Some apartments will have broker fee and some will not, it’s always best to confirm


Please see below for detailed steps in each section

Understand your needs and budget

Define your desired location, apartment type, size, condition and budget

Prepare your material

Visit listings on Streeteasy or through trusted real estate agents

Ask how much the application fees are. The fees vary from building to building and the range can go from $250 to $2500.

Ask if they accept Obligo

Submit application

Negotiate Option to Renew (see below for more info)

Some landlords request a non-refundable “holder fee” to hold the apartment (could range from $150 to 1 month’s worth of rent)

Submit necessary documents listed above

Submit application fees (Usually landlords request cash or Cashier’s Checks)

Application Approved/ Move-in Process

Request COI Template from management or agent

Certificate of Insurance is a form movers company needs to provide before you are allowed to move in

If you do not using a mover, you need to ask the management for necessary deposit/fee/documents to move in.

Inspect and document all the damages and blemishes on the day of move-in

Email the management/agent/landlord and save the documentation for future references


Always ask for option to renew

Negotiate the rent ahead of time and lock it in the lease

This should be done during the negotiation not after

It’s always nice to reserve the right, if the landlord refuses, you should be wary that the landlord is looking to raise the rent drastically next year.

Inquire about the Obligo Service

Obligo allows tenants to rent without paying security deposit

It’s always nice to free up cash, especially at an extremely low cost

If landlord does not have Obligo, feel free to request it and connect the landlord with the Obligo Team!