What Foreign Renters Coming to NYC Need to Know

Renting in New York City is tough. Really tough.

Combine that with being from a foreign country and not having a U.S. credit history, and it becomes twice as hard.

For foreign renters, an NYC apartment rental search can be an extra daunting experience. But a bit of preparation can definitely help make the process go more smoothly. Here’s what you need to do.

Have Your Documents Ready

New York City landlords are notorious for requiring significant documentation to rent an apartment. Before you start looking, try to gather as many of the documents noted on this handout as possible – Foreign Renter Documents

You might be wondering – do you really need ALL of these documents? Not always. The more you can produce, the better. But these tend to be the most important:

  • Letter of employment
  • Personal identification
  • Work permit or work visa
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
    • Note – It’s best if these statements are with American banks or banks with branches in the US; but it’s okay if they’re from your local bank. If it’s from a bank in your country, be sure to have information about the USD conversion rate.

Have a “No Credit Back Up Plan” in Place

One of the biggest hurdles foreign renters have to overcome is their lack of a credit history within the U.S. One of the best ways to handle this is to get a guarantor lined up – this is a person based in the U.S. (preferably the state of New York) with a strong credit history who makes at least 80 times the monthly rent.

If you can’t find an individual guarantor, consider if using a corporate guarantor like Insurent or The Guarantors makes sense. Their fees usually range somewhere between 1 to 1.5 months of rent.

Finally, a willingness to pre-pay rent or provide a larger security deposit can help as well. And the more, the better – some landlords might actually ask for an entire year upfront, but some landlords are fine with 3 to 6 months.

Come to the US to Search BEFORE Your Move Date

If at all possible, try to visit the U.S. about 2 to 3 weeks before your intended move-in date. If that’s not possible, consider staying in temporary housing until you can locate a long term lease.

Sometimes you can have someone look at apartments for you, but be warned that some landlords will not permit you to rent an apartment if you haven’t seen it yourself in person.

Have more questions about renting in NYC? Feel free to contact me!