Looking for your first apartment in New York? You probably have many questions and possibly some apprehension as you begin your search. There are ways, however, to make the search a little easier.
It helps to understand the types of issues you may be facing in your apartment search. Below are some of the problems and questions first-time renters have.
Do you have the appropriate documents?
Obviously, landlords do not just hand over the keys without vetting a new renter. They will want to see documents such as photo ID, and employment and financial documents. If this is not your first apartment, they will likely want to see references from previous landlords. If you do not have landlord references, make sure your communications with the potential landlord are professional, and consider writing a letter detailing why you would be a good tenant.
What if you are not currently employed?
It can be difficult to rent an apartment if you do not have a job. You may need to get a guarantor. Guarantors are responsible for paying the rent if you cannot. You may also want to consider getting roommates to help divide the rent.
Is your credit good, bad or nonexistent?
Landlords often will take renters who have no credit history versus those who have poor credit. No credit doesn't mean that you are irresponsible; it just means you haven't built a credit history yet. This is another situation in which getting a guarantor can help.
Are you on the tenant blacklist?
Renters who are searching for an apartment on their own for the first time may have ended up on the tenant blacklist while living with roommates. This can be a difficult situation, but it can be overcome. Find out what you can do if you are on this list.
Don't give up
Finding an apartment in NYC is rarely a simple process, but tenacity can pay off. You may need to amend your initial expectations a little, but taking the search seriously and working hard at it can help you become a renter. You can always speak with a tenants' rights attorney if you have questions or need representation.