Rent a No Fee Apartment with Bad Credit and/or Using a Lease Guarantor

Tenants with bad credit, students whose parents are paying for their apartment, or those whose income levels are below the landlord's minimum standards may still be able to sign a lease if they have someone to cosign the lease with them, and act as their lease guarantor. Not all New York owners and property managers will accept guarantors, but many of them do. 

If you are in one of these situations, you should discuss it with the landlord prior to viewing the apartment, or when you view the apartment. If they are open to one of the solutions listed below, great.  However, you don't want to waste your time and money on an application when you are going to be rejected with no options. Below is a guide from Urban Edge with all you need to know about guarantors and cosigners.


Who Can Be a Lease Guarantor for a NYC Apartment?

Basically, any adult can be a guarantor.  However, they will have to meet certain financial standards, just like the tenant. These standards (see below) are generally higher, since the landlord is taking the chance that if you don't pay your rent, the guarantor will be able to pay both their own rent (or mortgage) and your rent.

Among owners and property managers of apartments who accept guarantors, there are a wide range of conditions.  For example, some may only accept local cosigners, or only those who reside in-state.  Some may only accept those who live in the Tri-State area (in this case, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut). Still others may accept only those residing in the US, or residing in selected US states. 

Some landlords will only accept one guarantor per lease.  Others may allow multiple guarantors--usually in the case of roommates. In some cases, each guarantor will need to qualify individually, while in other situations the landlord may allow the guarantors to qualify jointly. 

For exact details, always consult the owner or property manager of the rental apartment that you are interested in.  They will let you know what they will accept.


What are the Income and Application Guidelines for Rental Apartment Cosigners?

With few exceptions, the owner or property manager of an apartment in NY will require that guarantors submit the same paperwork as the tenant (see our section on Rental Agreements and Application Requirements).  Whomever is acting as your guarantor will be subject to the same scrutiny as you are.

The standard income requirements are such that the guarantor's income be double that of what is required of the tenant.  So, for example, if the tenant is normally required to earn 40 times the monthly rent, then the guarantor would be required to earn 80 times the monthly rent.  The landlord wants to ensure that the guarantor has sufficient funds to pay for both your apartment, and their own home.


What if I Don't Have Anyone Who can Qualify as a Guarantor for a NY Apartment?

There are companies, such as Insurent, that are insurance programs which act as lease guarantors for those who have good credit, or for non U.S. persons or U.S. persons who have no credit, but still require a cosigner.  There are literally tens of thousands of apartments in NYC that accept Insurent. For more information, please consult their website. They help out thousands of people each year get an apartment that they otherwise would have not been able to qualify for.

Another company, designed specifically for those with bad credit, is WeCosign. You can check out their website for more information.

Another option would be to pay for several months (or the entire year) of rent upfront. This way the owner of the NY apartment that you want doesn't have to worry whether or not you are going to be able to pay each month. If this is an option, and you know you are trying to rent an apartment with bad credit, you should discuss this upfront with the owner or property manager.

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