New York Apartment Rental Requirements

“When it comes to qua­li­fy­ing for your dream home, it doesn‘t hurt to get crea­ti­ve about your gua­ran­tor,” said Gary Malin, pre­si­dent of Citi Habi­tats. “A gua­ran­tor can be anyo­ne with whom you have built a rela­ti­ons­hip of trust. Our agents often work with cli­ents who use friends, their part­ner or even their boss to secu­re their lea­se. Unless the ani­mal can be con­si­de­red a “ser­vice ani­mal” used by peop­le who are blind, deaf or dis­ab­led, it is at the dis­cre­ti­on of the buil­ding owner and is gene­ral­ly spe­ci­fied in the lea­se. If a ten­ant keeps a pet in the apart­ment without the per­mis­si­on of the owner of the buil­ding, this can be con­si­de­red a serious bre­ach of the lea­se and can be a basis for ter­mi­na­ting the lea­se. In addi­ti­on, many ani­mals can­not be legal­ly kept as pets in New York City. For more infor­ma­ti­on on pet regu­la­ti­on, call 311. The law pro­hi­bits buil­ding owners from haras­sing ten­ants to for­ce them to lea­ve their homes. Examp­les of harass­ment inclu­de ver­bal or phy­si­cal abu­se, con­stant depri­va­ti­on of ser­vices, or pro­lon­ged phy­si­cal or men­tal intimidation.

May­be. Howe­ver, under the state­wi­de Housing Secu­ri­ty and Ten­ant Pro­tec­tion Act, 2019, housing app­li­ca­ti­on fees can­not exceed $20. If you use a per­so­nal gua­ran­tor, most landlords will only accept gua­ran­tors who live in the tri-bor­der regi­on (New York, New Jer­sey or Con­nec­ti­cut) and have an annu­al inco­me of 80 times or more than the mon­th­ly rent of the apart­ment you are asking for. Typi­cal­ly, your spon­sor will need to sub­mit the same docu­ments that the landlord requi­res from you (e.g. bank state­ments, tax returns, etc.). And if you have room­ma­tes, most landlords only accept one gua­ran­tor – so that per­son easi­ly has to gua­ran­tee the ent­i­re lea­se. Base­ments and base­ments are very dif­fe­rent spaces and the­re­fo­re have dif­fe­rent legal uses. A base­ment is the floor of a buil­ding that is par­ti­al­ly below side­walk level, but at least half of its height abo­ve side­walk level.

A base­ment is an enc­lo­sed space that is more than half its height below side­walk level. Base­ments and base­ments of apart­ment buil­dings may only be inha­bi­ted if the con­di­ti­ons meet the mini­mum requi­re­ments for ligh­t­ing, air, sani­ta­ry faci­li­ties and egress and have been appro­ved by the city‘s buil­ding depart­ment. The base­ments of sin­gle-fami­ly and two-fami­ly homes can NEVER be legal­ly ren­ted or used for resi­den­ti­al pur­po­ses. Base­ments in sin­gle-fami­ly and two-fami­ly homes can NEVER be legal­ly ren­ted or occu­p­ied for resi­den­ti­al pur­po­ses, unless the terms have been appro­ved by the Depart­ment of Buil­dings. Owners of ille­gal­ly con­ver­ted base­ments and base­ments can be pro­se­cu­t­ed under civil and cri­mi­nal law. Resi­dents of ille­gal base­ments and base­ments are expo­sed to poten­ti­al hazards such as car­bon mon­oxi­de poi­so­ning, ina­de­qua­te ligh­t­ing and ven­ti­la­ti­on, and ina­de­qua­te exit in the event of a fire. The city can order resi­dents of ille­gal base­ments and base­ment apart­ments to lea­ve or vaca­te tho­se apart­ments. Com­p­laints about ille­gal base­ments should be direc­ted to 311, which will for­ward them to the New York City Depart­ment of Buil­dings (DOB). For more infor­ma­ti­on, visit the date of birth to nyc.gov/buildings web­site. You can also try nego­tia­ting the fee for equip­ment or updating some­thing in the apartment.

For examp­le, check to see if the buil­ding for­goes gym or bicy­cle sto­rage cos­ts, or pays for a minor impro­ve­ment to the apart­ment, such as repla­cing equip­ment or repai­ring a worn floor. It‘s not a lower rent, but you get some­thing of value that can make your life more com­for­ta­ble. Even if you have your heart for a cer­tain type of apart­ment and loca­ti­on (don‘t we all dream of a Tri­Be­Ca loft or a Brook­lyn brown­stone?), you can‘t exact­ly satisfy your heart‘s desi­re. Be open to other neigh­bor­hoods and apart­ment sizes and amen­ities. What is most important? Do you live in New York or on a roof­top ter­race with a view? You should start loo­king for housing about 30 to 45 days befo­re your plan­ned move. It makes no sen­se for you to start sear­ching ahead of time as none of the apart­ments you see are avail­ab­le if you want to move. Of cour­se, the­re are excep­ti­ons for hard-to-rent apart­ments – landlords are likely to offer a more generous con­ces­si­on and are open to lea­se nego­tia­ti­ons for an apart­ment that is dif­fi­cult to rent for any rea­son – perhaps on the first floor of a noi­sy street or in a buil­ding with a histo­ry of bed bug pro­blems. In the­se situa­tions, you should be able to ask for some sort of agreement.

To do this, of cour­se, you need to have all your docu­ments rea­dy to sup­port your app­li­ca­ti­on befo­re you even show up at the apart­ment. If you don‘t meet a landlord‘s finan­cial or employ­ment requi­re­ments, you‘ll need to find a gua­ran­tor for your lea­se. A gua­ran­tor signs a con­tract that makes him liable if you fall behind in respec­ting your lea­se. For this rea­son, gua­ran­tors are usual­ly clo­se fami­ly mem­bers or insti­tu­tio­nal gua­ran­tors who will char­ge you a fee to secu­re your lea­se. The tax return is an important docu­ment for mea­su­ring your gross net worth. New York City homeow­ners are always inte­res­ted in your adjus­ted gross inco­me. The adjus­ted gross inco­me must be equal to 40 times the mon­th­ly rent. That said, if you look at an apart­ment worth $2,500 a mon­th, landlords want to see $90,000 in inco­me. Owners must ensu­re that buil­dings are safe, clean and well main­tai­ned, both in public spaces and in indi­vi­du­al apart­ments. Among other things, homeow­ners must pro­vi­de and main­tain safe­ty mea­su­res, hea­ting, hot and cold water and good ligh­t­ing. Landlords must regis­ter the pro­per­ty annu­al­ly with HPD, if rent is sta­bi­li­zed, the landlord must regis­ter rents annu­al­ly with the New York Sta­te Homes and Com­mu­ni­ty Rene­wal, and the landlord must com­ply with the New York City Housing Main­ten­an­ce Code and the New York Sta­te Mul­ti­ple Dwel­ling Law.

Chan­ging the locks on a resident‘s apart­ment without giving them a key is a vio­la­ti­on of the Unlaw­ful Evic­tions Act (Admi­nis­tra­ti­ve Code of New York § 26–521) if the landlord does not have an evic­tion order or if the resi­dent: You‘ll find the most fle­xi­bi­li­ty in the tra­di­tio­nal­ly slo­west part of the New York City ren­tal cycle, from Novem­ber to March. Offer to move in immedia­te­ly and ask for a lea­se of 15 or 16 mon­ths ins­tead of one year so that the landlord can put the apart­ment up for sale again during the busy sum­mer mon­ths. Even though it‘s optio­nal, if you‘ve ren­ted befo­re, it‘s a good idea to have a let­ter of recom­men­da­ti­on from your pre­vious landlord sta­ting that you‘re a good ten­ant who paid the rent on time and kept the apart­ment in good con­di­ti­on. The regis­tra­ti­on fee for the apart­ment is almost always non-refund­able. For­tu­n­a­te­ly, the new Housing Sta­bi­li­ty and Ten­ant Pro­tec­tion Act of 2019 limits the ren­tal app­li­ca­ti­on fee to $20. If you belie­ve or suspect that you will be locked out of your apart­ment, you should be pre­pa­red with the necessa­ry docu­men­ta­ti­on to deter­mi­ne that you are the right­ful occup­ant of the apart­ment. The­re­fo­re, you may want to lea­ve copies of the docu­ments occu­p­y­ing your apart­ment with a friend or rela­ti­ve who does not live in the apart­ment. You must also take the docu­ments with you when you lea­ve your home so that you can pro­ve to the poli­ce and/or the court that you are the legal resi­dent. In the gui­de, you‘ll find infor­ma­ti­on on landlords‘ and ten­ants‘ rights and obli­ga­ti­ons, how to stay safe in your home, resour­ces for buil­ding afford­a­ble housing or rent assi­s­tance, and hel­pful con­ta­ct infor­ma­ti­on for other housing-rela­ted topics.