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The Upfront Costs of Renting an Apartment in NYC

by | Sep 23, 2019

Are you thinking of renting an apartment in New York City? Congratulations! You are about to be living in one of the greatest cities in the world.

We know firsthand just how stressful renting your first apartment in the Big Apple can seem. Between confusion surrounding the process, and having to prepare the documents and information needed to apply for an apartment, Triplemint’s expert real estate agents are here to guide you every step of the way.

Ready to pull the trigger on an apartment? Be sure to keep in mind the required upfront costs once you submit your application and at lease signing. Read on for our step-by-step guide for what these costs are and how to factor them into your apartment budget and search.

1. Application Fees

The first step once you’ve found an NYC apartment for rent that you’re interested in is to submit an application. No, unfortunately, this application isn’t free.

However, the good news is that the new NYC rent laws have made application fees more affordable, and the most a landlord can charge is now $20. Gone are the days of $300+ application fees, woohoo!


2. Good Faith Deposit

Not sure what a good faith deposit is? You may need to brush up on your NYC real estate lingo.

A good faith deposit is often required by some landlords when interested parties submit an application so that they know the person applying is serious about the home. This deposit is typically between $500 and the cost of one month’s rent and is paid by money order or certified bank checks (cash usually is not accepted).

Keep in mind that this deposit will cover a portion of the upfront costs if your application is accepted, and landlords will refund the money if your application is rejected. Just be sure to read the fine print and ask your agent how this good faith deposit functions so that you understand the terms of the deposit from the get-go.


3. First Month’s Rent

It is typically required in New York City that you pay your first month’s rent upfront when moving into your new apartment. Although this is standard procedure, it may seem like a lot when you look at this bill combined with all of your other costs.

This is why it is crucial that you calculate how much you can actually afford per month for your NYC rental before submitting your application. Triplemint recommends budgeting a bit less than your annual salary divided by 40 to leave some wiggle room for additional unexpected costs (making 40 times your monthly rent is a standard requirement by most landlords to get approved for an apartment).


4. Security Deposit

Another benefit of the new rent laws in New York City is that your security deposit, or the money you pay upfront to cover any damage caused to the property or unpaid rent, is now capped at the price of one month’s rent. Landlords cannot ask for more than that.

Furthermore, your landlord must also return the security deposit within 14 days of the tenant leaving the unit, so you know you’re going to get this money back sooner rather than later.


5. Broker Fee

Last but not least, you’ll need to factor in the cost of working with a broker in NYC. This is typically between the price of one month’s rent and 15% of the annual rent.

Although you can avoid paying this by searching for no-fee rentals, they are hard to come by as they typically make up less than 30% of the inventory available. As the market continues to change, and the availability continues to shrink, we are seeing that owners are becoming less and less incentivized to continue to offer this concession.

Plus, you will likely end up paying more in the end than if you had worked with a real estate agent because no-fee rentals are generally more expensive and you don’t have an agent on your side negotiating on your behalf and working for you.

Triplemint Tip: All payments must be certified payments, meaning none of them can be personal checks or cash.

Although these are some of the costs to consider when renting in NYC, keep in mind that you will likely also need to pay for movers, furniture, cleaning, and other services. Luckily, Triplemint has connections with top vendors and brands to help save you money and time during this process when you work with one of our agents!

Ready to take the leap and rent an apartment in NYC? Contact us today using the form on the right.

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