How to Rent an Apartment in Manhattan NYC:

Real Estate Agent

The Aldyn, Condo rental

Renting an Apartment in Manhattan, NYC

Everyone wants their first New York City rental experience to be a positive one. As a current or future Manhattanite, you should familiarize yourself with the rules of renting in order to make your experience as hassle and worry free as possible.

Carefully read any documentation presented to you by your future landlord before entering into any contract. Although many leases contain predominantly boilerplate language, in many instances clauses may be added to the lease contract that supersede or alter the lease agreement in some way. Such additions are called riders.

Also, the type of lease may vary. A Standard Form of Lease, for instance, may differ greatly from a Rent Stabilized Lease Agreement or a Cooperative Sublease Agreement. Take the time to read and digest the language of any documentation presented to you, and always ask questions should it contain something you don't fully understand.

Make a check list of information to bring with you in order to finalize your lease agreement. You will almost certainly need all of the following:

1.     A letter of employment and salary verification

2.     Bank account numbers (checking and savings), as well as any credit card numbers

3.     Current bank statements

4.     Contact information (names, addresses, phone numbers) of previous landlords

5.     Contact information of your personal accountant or attorney, if applicable

6.     Contact information of any personal or professional references

7.     Tax returns from the last two years

8.     Recent (current) pay stubs, typically from the last two pay periods

9.     Two forms of personal identification (driver’s license, passport, etc)   

10.    40-45x the monthly rent in annual income is required.

If you are relocating from outside of New York, prepare your funds ahead of time. Landlords will not accept personal out-of-state checks. Bring 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 a move-in/move-out fee or building application fee.

The Corner - 72nd & Broadway

Once your personal and financial documentation is in order, you will then be prepared to view and select prospective apartments. Remember, your agent can provide you with a wealth of information to assist you in making an informed decision. Ask plenty of questions about neighborhoods, building types, publictransportation access, or anything else that might be of interest to you.

When you have selected a suitable apartment, you must then fill out a rental application, or other applicable documents. Once you or your agent has negotiated agreeable lease terms, a credit report and reference check will be done.

Upon final confirmation, you will be asked to sign a lease and settle any outstanding applicable fees.


In Manhattan, residential real estate is made up of rental buildings, condos, condops, coops and townhouses. All can make fine homes and all are available for rent.


courtesy of:

Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker, The Corcoran Group

Posted by

©Mitchell Hall 2022

All content/images, unless noted, are the property of Mitchell Hall & may not be used without permission. 

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          Call Mitchell Hall @ 917-312-0924

Comments (27)

Margie Kopp Sorrell
Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Real Estate

Mitchell- I hope one day I have to consult you for tips on how to move into a Manhattan apartment!!!! It's a dream of mine and my fiance's to own a place in NYC one day!

Jun 10, 2011 02:47 AM
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Hey Mitchell,

Thank you for sharing.  I enjoyed the read.  It certainly is different  that around Seacoast NH where I live.


Patricia Aulson/Seacoast NH & ME

Jun 10, 2011 02:57 AM
San Antonio Texas New Homes for Sale - San Antonio, TX
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hill Country

Mitchell ...Great outline for people to that want to rent ....Giving structure to a client expedites the process



Jun 10, 2011 03:10 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Saves time and gets things done this post of yours. good stuff. It makes you realize that the criteria for the different areas ties in to how those area values work.......thank you Mitchell

Jun 10, 2011 03:19 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Gabrielle, NYC is a tough town;-)

Ellen, Because it is so hard to evict here, they make it hard to get in.

Rodney, For some consumers (those without income but assets) buying a condo is easier than renting.

Melissa, Yes, some landlords may be more lenient usually small private owners.

Michael, Thanks it's because of the difficult eviction process here.

Margie, I hope so, I'll get you a great deal on a fabulous apartment;-)

Patricia, You're welcome. New comers are often shocked. Students with no incomes will need parents on the lease.

Robert, Thanks, Structure is needed because you have to move quick and be prepared because rentals go really quick.

Jun 10, 2011 03:28 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Richie, Work is valued very high more than assets. I once had a client with no income/job but $900,000 in the bank. We had a tough time in several buildings. The landlords said she could go spend her savings on a car or boat. (I thought that was silly) They wouldn't accept 6 months or 1 years rent up front either because if they wanted to evict after a month they were stuck for a year.

Jun 10, 2011 03:36 AM
Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc.
pha logistix inc - San Francisco, CA

Mitchell - I felt like you were explaining the rental process here in San Francisco!  Very similar as it also very difficult to evict tenants in this area. Great post and great information for newcomers.  Have a great day and try to stay "cool" (you guys have had some really sticky days out there).

Jun 10, 2011 03:41 AM
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Do you need to hire a lawyer for a lesae as if you buy/sell real estate in NY you have to have a lawyer invloved?

Jun 10, 2011 04:48 AM
Adam Mallory
eBroker Real Estate 619-566-ADAM - San Diego, CA
Broker, ABR, e-Pro

Nice post Mitchell!  Many years ago (10+) a friend moved to NYNY and said she had to pay $5K to an Agent to get a decent apartment.  Is this still the way it works today?

Jun 10, 2011 05:54 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Mitch ..this is jammed packed wit useful information.. and is extremly helpful


Jun 10, 2011 06:42 AM
Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

Hi Mitch, I found your post most timely!  What is the cheapest rent in Manhatten...just daughter is there right now; arrived on Tuesday and I think she might be able to afford a closet!  lol

Jun 10, 2011 07:56 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Barbara, Thanks, Tis the rental season! The rental market is very hot now!

Peggy, The process is similar in SF but according to my friend at Zephyr agents don't do rentals in SF. They don't go in the MLS. We treat rentals the same as sales. Usually there is a listing agent and a tenant agent. We cobroke. Yes, it's hot I've been out showing and have to go back out to show at 5:30pm

Robert, You don't need a lawyer for a lease as you do here to buy and sell. However, I know of a situation where the tenant had a lawyer write in the lease that it would automatically renew. The owner/landlord didn't notice it, signed it and now wants his condo back and can't get the tenant out. Naturally the broker is being sued.

Adam, Thanks, Agents do have access to the best apartments. The brokerage fee is negotiable. The maximum is 15% of 1 years rent. It is often split between 2 brokers. In a tight rental market the landlords rarely pay the broker so the tenant pays.

Hannah, Thanks, It is best for the renter to be qualified before they start looking.

Jun 10, 2011 08:11 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Cindy,

I was going to guess and say $1200. But I just did a quick search and found the cheapest apartment in Manhattan is in the Financial District (1 bedroom for $330) It must be a typo. Here is their website on the website the 1 bedroom is $2705.

500 listings came up under $2000.

71 broadway

71 Broadway, Apt. 7-H | Active
Rental Property | Concierge | Elevator
Size: 3/1/1 | One Bedroom| SF: 669
Rent: $330
Available: 8/24/2011 | Term: 12 - 24 months
Listed: 6/10/2011 | Updated: 6/10/2011

Features: AC: Central; Kitchen: Original Upgraded; Dishwasher; Bathroom: Original Upgraded; High Ceiling; High Ceilings; Parquet Floor.

Let me know if I can help.
Jun 10, 2011 08:36 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Mitchell:  You provide a very clear, concise, and detailed roadmap to successful renting in your city.  A virtual GPS!  I hope that roadmap/GPS convinces readers that you're the one to call should they be in need of rental property in your area ... 

Congrats on the much-deserved Feature!


Jun 10, 2011 09:21 AM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Gene, Thank you. I appreciate your comment. Rentals are a vital part of our market and a great alternative for buyers with commitment issues ;-)

Jun 10, 2011 01:41 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Mitchell - I was curious what it might be like to rent a place in Manhattan and how it might vary from here. 

Jun 10, 2011 04:26 PM
Tony Baumer
Old Grey Tiger Moving Consulting - Lanoka Harbor, NJ
You need an Old Grey Tiger!

Great post, 40-45 times rent to annual income!

Jun 10, 2011 11:33 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Erica, Thank you. I think my next post will be frequently asked questions about renting. Good luck to your friend's son.

Hi Christine, We are still primarily a rental market. 75% of housing here is rentals.

Hi Tony, If the tenant needs a parent as a guarantor on the lease the parents income has to be 80-85 times the rent. Some landlords will only allow a guarantor from the tri-state area.

Jun 11, 2011 12:20 AM
Roseville Rental Properties - Homes & Condos For Rent in Roseville / Placer County, California (916) 408-5500
Roseville Rental Properties - Roseville, CA
Property Management and Tenant Placement Services

Mitchell, I always find it interesting to read about the rental process in other parts of the country...thanks for this primer on renting in Manhattan! Sorry it's so difficult to evict in New York. No wonder they make it tough to get in!

Jun 11, 2011 11:15 PM
jack rice

there are many cheap apts for rent in nyc. it suits the pockets of many...

Jun 20, 2011 04:02 AM