You will need to prove that you are a good risk. You can do this at the outset by having a letter of credit from a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) familiar with your or your family's finances stating __________ has assets in excess of $__________. This may at least get you in the door while the landlord or broker determines whether or not you need a guarantor. You can also show pay stubs for yourself or guarantor with year-to-date amounts, and bank statements which will show that there are no bounced checks or other problems. Graduating students can show their job offer letters with stated salary. Continuing students can show summer job letters. Some landlords/brokers will accept loan statements as income.
The Office of Student Financial Services will prepare a letter for you. You can also come prepared with letters of reference from prior landlords. The Office of Residential Life will prepare a standard reference letter so long as you are not in arrears. (Please allow a one day turnaround time.) Also, current or former roommates can provide reference letters stating you are a good tenant, good neighbor, good member of the community, etc.
In all likelihood, you will need a guarantor. A guarantor is someone willing and able to cosign your lease and to pay your rent if you fail to. Your guarantor will be named in your lease. Landlords and brokers prefer New York State, even New York City, guarantors. If your guarantor is an out-of-towner, it might be helpful for that person to open a local bank account.
Almost all students, especially non-U.S. citizens, will be asked to provide tax forms or other proof of income/assets for an individual (not a company/bank) who will be your Guarantor (the Guarantor is liable for the payment of your rent if you fail to pay). Be sure to make these and other financial arrangements before you come to New York! In the absence of a guarantor, landlords sometimes require the incoming tenant to pay the full, 12-month rent in advance.
You can get your own in advance for $0 - $10. A broker will still run his or her agency report (and charge you anywhere from $35 - $75!) but by getting your own in advance, (1) you will know that your report will be good and, (2) you will be starting out prepared which will set you ahead of other apartment seekers. And, it may encourage the broker or landlord to show you apartments before paying to run their own credit check; after you see an apartment you like, you can have that landlord or broker run the report. Refer to the listing of credit report agencies below. International students please note: credit checks won’t apply to you. You will need a letter of credit from a bank in your home country; it is best if the bank operates both in your home country and in the U.S.
Credit Reporting Agencies
You may call any of the following credit agencies for details and then write to purchase a copy of your credit rating report. Most will want the following information:
- First Name/Middle Name/Last name/(Jr., Sr. etc.)
- If married, name of spouse
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Home Address
- Verification of Address: Copy of utility bill, driver's license containing your home address
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348
Telephone: (800) 685-1111
P.O. Box 67533
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7533
Telephone: (800) 888-4213
|Experian Credit Service
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
Telephone: (888) 397-3742