Renter's Guide

"Better late than never" is not for those renting an apartment in New York City. Time is of the essence. You will have to be at the right place at the right time and you will have to be prepared. At GZB Realty we are committed to ensure that you never miss your shot to get your perfect home. Asking questions, as many as you can, about your preferences regarding neighborhoods, access to public transportation, types of buildings and any other doubts that you might have, will get you the right place. A GZB Realty agent, with our wealth of knowledge and information, is your guide in your Manhattan renting endeavors.

Let us start helping you right now with some TIPS for prospective renters in NYC:
  1. Ask Questions

    Know what you want and your GZB Realty agent will guide you to your destination. Do not hesitate to ask questions. Make sure you are getting what you want and need.

  2. Be Honest About Your Finances

    Being truthful with your agent can save your money and time. Discuss your financial situation with your agent before they start searching for an apartment. For example, give accurate information about your credit history and income. Your agent will be able to help you based on the information you give, whether you will be able to meet the landlord requirements or you need a guarantor.

  3. Have the Right Documents Ready to Go

    Renting in New York City is a very unique and fast-paced process. Be prepared with all the required documents suggested by your agent. Time wasted searching for appropriate documents later on can cost you your dream apartment.

  4. Time is of the Essence

    In New York City, you can lose your dream home in the blink of an eye. Have an action plan and start looking for an apartment at the right time. For prospective Tenants, apartments in doorman buildings are ready to view on average 30 days prior to the expiration of the current tenant`s lease. In non-doorman settings, it varies from one month to few days. Start looking at the right time; starting too early won’t necessarily make it easier.

  5. Pets May Limit Your Options

    We know you love your pet but it is hard to find pet friendly apartments in NYC. Very few landlords allow pets. Some may allow cats, some may allow dogs, and some may allow pets below a certain weight. Be sure to bring it to your agent’s attention if you have any pets or if you have a preference for a pet friendly apartment.

  6. Be Ready to Sign a Deposit Check

    If you like it, take it and don’t wait. As hard as it is to find an apartment you can call home in NYC, it’s even harder to get it. The only way to secure your apartment with all this fierce competition is to put down a deposit. You might regret waiting even a day!


Start by filling out a complete application per person in full. The application can be found on our website.

Whether applying for an apartment in a rental, co-op or condo building, you will need the following documents:

  1. Letter from your employer stating your position, salary, and length of employment (or start date if you have not started) and any information regarding bonuses, guaranteed or otherwise
  2. Last three pay stubs
  3. Last two years’ tax returns
  4. Last two months’ bank statements
  5. Name, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlords
  6. Two personal & two business reference letters
  7. Verification of other assets such as real estate, securities etc.
  8. Photo identification (Driver’s License, Passport etc.)

NOTE: Additional documents are required if relocating from abroad. This includes but is not limited to your original passport with Visa and I-94 card attached to it. Any required documents that are not in English must be translated and notarized.

Have these documents ready in hand. It is our experience that renters prepared well in advance with all the information need have a higher rate of success in finding their dream apartment with ease. Prepare your funds ahead of time. Landlords will not accept out-of-state checks, so be ready with traveler`s checks or certified bank checks in amounts sufficient to cover two months’ rent, any brokerage fees, a credit check fee, and any additional fees such as move-in/move-out fee or building application fees.



Most landlords require that your guaranteed income be 40 to 50 times the monthly rent. For example, if the monthly rent were $3,000 month, you would need to show a guaranteed income of at least $120,000 per year ($3,000 x 40 = $120,000).

An estimated bonus may be considered if a documented history of bonuses can be provided. Honestly discuss your financials and potential credit problems with your agent in advance. Being on the same page with your GZB Realty agent about your financial situation can save an enormous amount of time and energy.

If your guaranteed yearly income falls below the landlord’s requirement, there are other factors that may make a lease possible: income from other sources, housing allowances, or the use of a "guarantor" (see explanation below), for example.

Landlords may accept roommates’ combined incomes to determine financial qualification for an apartment. In other words, if the rent for an apartment is $3,000, the landlord would want to see a total income of about $120,000. If two roommates make at least $60,000 annually each, they could “combine” their incomes in order to qualify for the apartment. If the landlord does not allow for combined incomes, or if the combined total is not enough, they will require a guarantor or lease co-signer, a person who accepts financial liability in the event you or your roommate fail to pay the rent.

Criteria for Guarantors

Landlords require that guarantors make between 80 to 100 times the monthly rent in annual income. This means that for a $3,000 apartment a guarantor must show a guaranteed income of at least $240,000 ($3,000 x 80 = $240,000). Most landlords prefer that you use a guarantor from the Tri-State area, i.e., New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. Some landlords are more flexible and will accept guarantors from anywhere in the U.S. If you intend to use a guarantor from outside the Tri-State area, please notify your agent before you start your search. The guarantor will be required to produce the exact same paperwork as the potential tenants.


Once you receive official approval of your application and have executed your lease, the next step is to arrange a move-in date with the landlord or possibly the building’s superintendent. You may need to reserve your building’s service elevator as well. Keep in mind that move-ins are generally limited to Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM.

Typical Fees

Application Fees:
Rental Buildings: $75 - $100
Condominiums: $300 - $1000
Cooperatives: $300 - $1000

Initial Rent Payments and Security Deposit

Different buildings may require different levels of investment from the renter as a term of the lease. It is common for landlords to ask renters to provide first and last months rent up front in addition to a security deposit. The security deposit is a sum provided by the renter to ensure his or her compliance with the obligations set forth in the lease. The landlord holds the deposit in escrow (a spate bank account) until the renter moves out, at which time it is determined how much of the deposit, if any, is to be returned (based on, for example, whether there is any damage to the apartment).

Move-in fee

Most condos and co-op buildings charge a move-in fee. The amount of the move-in fee varies widely from building to building, and might be a non-refundable fee.

Brokerage fees

GZB Realty fee for service in rental transactions is 15% of the annual rent. The brokerage fee is payable at the time the lease is signed.

Credit check fee

GZB Realty charges $100 to conduct the credit check required in the application process. Rent, security and any brokerage fees are due at lease signing in the form of certified funds. International clients should note that funds wired internationally can take up to a week before they are accessible in the United States.



Luxury High Rise

This term refers to buildings over 20 stories tall that were built in the 1980s or later. They typically have a doorman and many feature concierge services, as well as health clubs and swimming pools.

Elevator Buildings

This term refers to a building that has elevator service but not necessarily a doorman. Usually when there is no doorman, these buildings have some type of intercom security system.

Walk-up Buildings

This term refers to any building that does not have elevator service. It can apply to a brownstone, townhouse or a post-war three to five story building. These apartments can also be situated over storefronts located on avenues or on side streets.

Pre-war Buildings

Known for their character, pre-war buildings were built prior to World War II. They are characterized by their architecture and lovely, often ornate exterior and interior details. They typically have beamed ceilings, and some feature fireplaces and other decorative touches. Laundry facilities can usually be found in the basement. Doormen are common, but a good number only have an intercom and buzzer system. Most pre-war buildings are coops. Pre-war buildings are in great demand and command premium prices.

Post-war Buildings

Typically constructed between the late 1940s through the 1970s, these buildings are usually 10 to 30 stories tall and constructed of white, red or brown brick. Most post-war buildings provide doormen and their apartments have larger layouts when compared to those in pre-war or luxury high-rise buildings.

Brownstones and Townhouses

These are four to five stories high, built in the late 1800s through the early 1900s as single family houses. Their architectural styles usually reflect early Dutch, French and German influences. Many of these were converted to multi-unit buildings (with seven to 10 units) around World War II, but in recent years have been restored and converted back to single family homes. Generally, apartments in these types of buildings have high ceilings, fireplaces, gardens and hardwood floors. Prices range from mid-priced to expensive, depending on location, size and renovations. Virtually none have a doorman.


Originally commercial buildings, lofts have been converted for residential use. Characterized by wide, open, and airy space, most lofts have very high ceilings, huge windows and a unique design. Lofts rarely have a doorman. Many have private, locked elevators and are located in downtown areas such as SoHo, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Flatiron and TriBeCa. Lofts command very high prices.