lolwut! This is how this post sounds to me. "I wanted to lease a car. Did you know that to rent a Bugatti you must make a million dollars a year? Senseless! Senseless I say!" What kind of apartment are you "renting" in NYC bro? I was looking in NY and found apartments that wanted about 2k down.
I'm not sure you're comprehending my post. I'm not saying the *rent* I'm paying is $20,000. I'm saying the upfront costs for the apartment is $20,000. A typical renter in NYC can expect to pay first month's rent, a security deposit, and a broker's fee (and if the broker is not a fee-broker, then the fee will just be added to your monthly rent and spread evenly throughout the term of the lease). These requirements are for renters with good credit history, pay stubs, work history, income to satisfy the income requirements (typically, your income has to be 40x-45x the rent), and tax returns.
If you deviate from that ideal renter, you can expect to pay more up front. Landlords may ask for multiple months' security, or multiple months' rent, and that stuff adds up. A $2,500 apartment, for an ideal renter (i.e., not most people on TLS who are coming straight from college/law school), you can expect to pay $2,500+$2,500+$4500. For an ideal renter, that's $9,500. Since most of you all do not have established credit histories and do not have established work histories, landlords will ask for more. For the landlord who asks for two months' rent and two months' security, it comes out to: $2,500+$2,500+$2,500+$2,500+$4,500. That's $14,500.
So just because the rent on a place seems low, that doesn't mean that your up front costs will be low. For most people moving to NYC, even though $2,500 seems like a nice good bargain for an apartment in Manhattan, few can drop $10,000 in one sitting. Fewer are ideal renters, and therefore they must drop even more money on the spot. Ironically, they are even less likely to be able to do that because it was their financial situation that made them less than ideal renters to begin with.