Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

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Anonymous User
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Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:07 pm

I apologize if this is more of a "general life question" than a legal employment question, but I think this affects the legal community given that everyone with a BigLaw job is in this situation, so hopefully it's not too off topic.

Leaving aside the difficulty of paying rent when you haven't started your job yet (which has been addressed in other threads), how difficult is it to convince landlords to let you to take on a lease given that you can't have proof of income because you don't start for a few months? Do most landlords just accept a credit check instead of asking for this? Or bank statements? Do most law students have family members with POI co-sign? (out of the question for me). Or do most places not even ask for POI? Are there workarounds like asking your firm to send a letter stating you're going to be employed earning [x] on [x date], or doing this in combination with showing them your advance/stipend check?

Sorry for the cluelessness of this, but I am a K-JD and haven't seen this discussed.

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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:02 pm

Generally in NYC you need a credit check AND 40 times the rent--minimum--for a normal apartment. If you have good credit, some places might not ask for paychecks, which are the hardest to produce if you're a student. If you have loans, look for a place when your bank account has just gotten plumped up. When you give your bank statements it will look like you're well off. Alternatively you can provide tax returns, and assuming you summered, you will have a solid tax return to show. I would avoid having a firm write a letter until you've already been declined or you really think you'll have a problem...you might be able to avoid the issue all together.

Worst comes to worst just do the Craigslist thing for a few months until you get your first check. There's always rooms in NYC and most people just want cash up front and no pervs. Finding a room this way might be harder than getting into law school but no one will be checking your income.

Anonymous User
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I apologize if this is more of a "general life question" than a legal employment question, but I think this affects the legal community given that everyone with a BigLaw job is in this situation, so hopefully it's not too off topic.

Leaving aside the difficulty of paying rent when you haven't started your job yet (which has been addressed in other threads), how difficult is it to convince landlords to let you to take on a lease given that you can't have proof of income because you don't start for a few months? Do most landlords just accept a credit check instead of asking for this? Or bank statements? Do most law students have family members with POI co-sign? (out of the question for me). Or do most places not even ask for POI? Are there workarounds like asking your firm to send a letter stating you're going to be employed earning [x] on [x date], or doing this in combination with showing them your advance/stipend check?

Sorry for the cluelessness of this, but I am a K-JD and haven't seen this discussed.


I had this issue when I was fresh out of college, and I was able to use my offer letter (it had salary numbers). Letter of employment can't be uncommon; maybe ask some associates in the firm what they did?

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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Generally in NYC you need a credit check AND 40 times the rent--minimum--for a normal apartment. If you have good credit, some places might not ask for paychecks, which are the hardest to produce if you're a student. If you have loans, look for a place when your bank account has just gotten plumped up. When you give your bank statements it will look like you're well off. Alternatively you can provide tax returns, and assuming you summered, you will have a solid tax return to show. I would avoid having a firm write a letter until you've already been declined or you really think you'll have a problem...you might be able to avoid the issue all together.

Worst comes to worst just do the Craigslist thing for a few months until you get your first check. There's always rooms in NYC and most people just want cash up front and no pervs. Finding a room this way might be harder than getting into law school but no one will be checking your income.


Yeah, I considered the bank statement thing (can also use my advance I guess). And I did summer, so I can provide tax returns. Is the 40 times rent thing true of "mom and pop" landlords as well, or are you mostly talking like brokers and luxury buildings? And yeah, I don't mind craig's list, but then it's a pain in the ass finding/discerning a month-to-month lease.

Interested to hear why you say you would avoid having the firm write a letter? I know a lot of law students come from wealthy families, but like above anon, I can't imagine why this would be uncommon for NYC BigLaw. I imagine they might even have a form drafted.

-OP

echooo23
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby echooo23 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Generally in NYC you need a credit check AND 40 times the rent--minimum--for a normal apartment. If you have good credit, some places might not ask for paychecks, which are the hardest to produce if you're a student. If you have loans, look for a place when your bank account has just gotten plumped up. When you give your bank statements it will look like you're well off. Alternatively you can provide tax returns, and assuming you summered, you will have a solid tax return to show. I would avoid having a firm write a letter until you've already been declined or you really think you'll have a problem...you might be able to avoid the issue all together.

Worst comes to worst just do the Craigslist thing for a few months until you get your first check. There's always rooms in NYC and most people just want cash up front and no pervs. Finding a room this way might be harder than getting into law school but no one will be checking your income.


What? So like if the rent is $2,000 a month you need $80,000 in the bank?!

Sup Kid
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Sup Kid » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:01 am

echooo23 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Generally in NYC you need a credit check AND 40 times the rent--minimum--for a normal apartment. If you have good credit, some places might not ask for paychecks, which are the hardest to produce if you're a student. If you have loans, look for a place when your bank account has just gotten plumped up. When you give your bank statements it will look like you're well off. Alternatively you can provide tax returns, and assuming you summered, you will have a solid tax return to show. I would avoid having a firm write a letter until you've already been declined or you really think you'll have a problem...you might be able to avoid the issue all together.

Worst comes to worst just do the Craigslist thing for a few months until you get your first check. There's always rooms in NYC and most people just want cash up front and no pervs. Finding a room this way might be harder than getting into law school but no one will be checking your income.


What? So like if the rent is $2,000 a month you need $80,000 in the bank?!

Of course not -- you need to be earning 40x the rent. Also, it's perfectly normal to ask the firm to write a letter -- I had mine write one in August with an October start date. The letter said a) who I am, b) when I am starting, and c) what my salary will be. HR did it no questions asked (they've obviously done it many times before).
Last edited by Sup Kid on Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:01 am

echooo23 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Generally in NYC you need a credit check AND 40 times the rent--minimum--for a normal apartment. If you have good credit, some places might not ask for paychecks, which are the hardest to produce if you're a student. If you have loans, look for a place when your bank account has just gotten plumped up. When you give your bank statements it will look like you're well off. Alternatively you can provide tax returns, and assuming you summered, you will have a solid tax return to show. I would avoid having a firm write a letter until you've already been declined or you really think you'll have a problem...you might be able to avoid the issue all together.

Worst comes to worst just do the Craigslist thing for a few months until you get your first check. There's always rooms in NYC and most people just want cash up front and no pervs. Finding a room this way might be harder than getting into law school but no one will be checking your income.


What? So like if the rent is $2,000 a month you need $80,000 in the bank?!

No your income needs to be 40 times the rent not your assets.

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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:07 am

Many landlords will take a letter from your employer with your salary and start date. They usually ask for a credit report and 1-3 bank statement cycles to see your balance. I lived in NYC for seven years and I suggest having all of your paperwork together. The race is given to the swift. I am a non-traditional second year and worked for about 10 years before starting law school. I suggest asking your firm for whatever assistance you need. The recruiters/hr are there to help you, and you should use them.

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NinerFan
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby NinerFan » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:10 am

Just went through the apt hunt in NYC and landlords will typically ask for some or all of the following

1) Previous landlord reference form
2) Proof of employment
3) Proof of earning 40 or 45X monthly rent (or a guarantor earning 90x rent. Guarantor might need to be NY resident)
4) Photo ID
5) Latest checking/savings account statements
6) Tax returns for last year or last few years
7) Last 6 paystubs
8) Authorization to do a credit check

If you haven't started working yet, you won't have pay stubs and your tax returns will probably be worthless. Proof of employment is easily provided by an offer letter on firm letterhead with start date and salary. Some landlords will also run a background check.

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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:14 am

Just did the apartment search in SF, which is also notoriously difficult and stringent with income rules for nicer apartments.

Every single place where we applied accepted a signed letter from our firms (I'm living with several roommates) stating our expected starting salaries and start dates. We also included credit scores, but we never had to show bank statements of proof of current income. Unless NYC is markedly different - and it could be, I have no idea, since I have never looked for a place there - I would encourage you to reach out to your firm for such a letter. Mine got me one in a day and acted like it was extremely routine.

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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:22 am

And by the way, you should definitely have all the required documentation in your hand as you look for apartments. It's such a pain in the ass finding an apartment that you want to be able to plop down an application immediately once you find a good one.

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Lwoods
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Lwoods » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:59 am

NinerFan wrote:Just went through the apt hunt in NYC and landlords will typically ask for some or all of the following

1) Previous landlord reference form
2) Proof of employment
3) Proof of earning 40 or 45X monthly rent (or a guarantor earning 90x rent. Guarantor might need to be NY resident)
4) Photo ID
5) Latest checking/savings account statements
6) Tax returns for last year or last few years
7) Last 6 paystubs
8.) Authorization to do a credit check

If you haven't started working yet, you won't have pay stubs and your tax returns will probably be worthless. Proof of employment is easily provided by an offer letter on firm letterhead with start date and salary. Some landlords will also run a background check.


TCR.

Also, know that some landlords require a tristate guarantor.

The tricky part is that you'll probably need 2 months rent (1st + security) and potentially up to 15% of the annual rent for the broker's fee (can usually be negotiated down). You may want to look ito a sublet or airbnb for your first month until you get a paycheck or two.

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5ky
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby 5ky » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:41 am

Lwoods wrote:
NinerFan wrote:Just went through the apt hunt in NYC and landlords will typically ask for some or all of the following

1) Previous landlord reference form
2) Proof of employment
3) Proof of earning 40 or 45X monthly rent (or a guarantor earning 90x rent. Guarantor might need to be NY resident)
4) Photo ID
5) Latest checking/savings account statements
6) Tax returns for last year or last few years
7) Last 6 paystubs
8.) Authorization to do a credit check

If you haven't started working yet, you won't have pay stubs and your tax returns will probably be worthless. Proof of employment is easily provided by an offer letter on firm letterhead with start date and salary. Some landlords will also run a background check.


TCR.

Also, know that some landlords require a tristate guarantor.

The tricky part is that you'll probably need 2 months rent (1st + security) and potentially up to 15% of the annual rent for the broker's fee (can usually be negotiated down). You may want to look ito a sublet or airbnb for your first month until you get a paycheck or two.


You should also have all of this stuff ready to go before you start looking at apts. Especially for the landlord reference (who often need written authorization, etc., which can take a few days to declare you in good standing) and offer letter with salary and start date on firm letterhead (I had to get this, because most of my stuff was in email -- firm got it to me within 15 minutes of me asking, but expect delays), it could take a while. The process sucked.

keg411
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby keg411 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:35 am

The list posted above of "stuff you need" is pretty accurate, although I never had to provide a landlord reference form, and a name/my previous building was perfectly fine. However, you should be fine as long as you have a letter of employment, have always paid rent on time in the past, and don't empty your entire bank account 3L year. I had zero issues getting approved without a guarantor, and I didn't find the process painful at all.

I also worked with a fantastic broker, though, so if anyone wants/needs a name, feel free to PM me. Most firms will reimburse for this; and though mine doesn't, it was worth it.

collegewriter
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby collegewriter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Generally in NYC you need a credit check AND 40 times the rent--minimum--for a normal apartment. If you have good credit, some places might not ask for paychecks, which are the hardest to produce if you're a student. If you have loans, look for a place when your bank account has just gotten plumped up. When you give your bank statements it will look like you're well off. Alternatively you can provide tax returns, and assuming you summered, you will have a solid tax return to show. I would avoid having a firm write a letter until you've already been declined or you really think you'll have a problem...you might be able to avoid the issue all together.

Worst comes to worst just do the Craigslist thing for a few months until you get your first check. There's always rooms in NYC and most people just want cash up front and no pervs. Finding a room this way might be harder than getting into law school but no one will be checking your income.


Yeah, I considered the bank statement thing (can also use my advance I guess). And I did summer, so I can provide tax returns. Is the 40 times rent thing true of "mom and pop" landlords as well, or are you mostly talking like brokers and luxury buildings? And yeah, I don't mind craig's list, but then it's a pain in the ass finding/discerning a month-to-month lease.

Interested to hear why you say you would avoid having the firm write a letter? I know a lot of law students come from wealthy families, but like above anon, I can't imagine why this would be uncommon for NYC BigLaw. I imagine they might even have a form drafted.

-OP


I guess I'm just very suspicious of brokers and LLs here. They generally go with the easiest rental situation so I'm just wary of saying anything that will complicate matters. I've also heard that many don't like lawyers (haha).

40x is standard for almost all LLs and brokers, even for non-luxury buildings. But obviously if people are saying use a letter then by all means go ahead!

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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:22 pm

Brokers can be really shitty, and even if the firm reimburses you, you'll still be on the hook for the tax (15% on annual rent is a lot). If you use them don't be afraid to use multiple brokers, drop bad ones immediately, and be conscious about the fee (15% seems on the high end, 8% or one month is very standard, some buildings will pay your broker fee for you).

If you have any friends in the city living in huge apt buildings and they like it, it might be worth a shot just calling the leasing office and asking if they have vacancies.

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NinerFan
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby NinerFan » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Brokers can be really shitty, and even if the firm reimburses you, you'll still be on the hook for the tax (15% on annual rent is a lot). If you use them don't be afraid to use multiple brokers, drop bad ones immediately, and be conscious about the fee (15% seems on the high end, 8% or one month is very standard, some buildings will pay your broker fee for you).

If you have any friends in the city living in huge apt buildings and they like it, it might be worth a shot just calling the leasing office and asking if they have vacancies.


Some of the large apt buildings also have referral programs, so if you know someone living in there, you can try to work out a split of the referral bonus.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby francesfarmer » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Is the 40 times rent thing true of "mom and pop" landlords as well, or are you mostly talking like brokers and luxury buildings? And yeah, I don't mind craig's list, but then it's a pain in the ass finding/discerning a month-to-month lease.


You probably won't be dealing with "mom and pop landlords" i.e. a landlord who lives in your building, but if you happen to get lucky and find an apartment owned by a person instead of a management company, they may very well have less stringent requirements.

Anonymous User
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:07 pm

francesfarmer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Is the 40 times rent thing true of "mom and pop" landlords as well, or are you mostly talking like brokers and luxury buildings? And yeah, I don't mind craig's list, but then it's a pain in the ass finding/discerning a month-to-month lease.


You probably won't be dealing with "mom and pop landlords" i.e. a landlord who lives in your building, but if you happen to get lucky and find an apartment owned by a person instead of a management company, they may very well have less stringent requirements.


I know competition for this sort of thing is insanely stiff, but the reason I asked is I have plenty of friends who found their places on craig's list (I intend to have roommates and don't intend to live in a luxury building), and it's this sort of situation. Or maybe the landlord doesn't live there, but it's still someone who doesn't have a well-drafted form lease and mountains of requirements.

Thanks to everyone, though. This was insanely helpful.

- OP

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francesfarmer
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Is the 40 times rent thing true of "mom and pop" landlords as well, or are you mostly talking like brokers and luxury buildings? And yeah, I don't mind craig's list, but then it's a pain in the ass finding/discerning a month-to-month lease.


You probably won't be dealing with "mom and pop landlords" i.e. a landlord who lives in your building, but if you happen to get lucky and find an apartment owned by a person instead of a management company, they may very well have less stringent requirements.


I know competition for this sort of thing is insanely stiff, but the reason I asked is I have plenty of friends who found their places on craig's list (I intend to have roommates and don't intend to live in a luxury building), and it's this sort of situation. Or maybe the landlord doesn't live there, but it's still someone who doesn't have a well-drafted form lease and mountains of requirements.

Thanks to everyone, though. This was insanely helpful.

- OP

If you're going to go the Craigslist route you will have more luck with finding mom and pop landlords. I am a huge advocate for Craigslist. I sublet exclusively because leases are expensive and I have gotten some great deals on CL.

keg411
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:01 pm

I tried going through Craigslist first and it was a total nightmare and a half. But it's probably worth trying first, because there are definitely deals out there (just know that it will be you vs. like 20 other people for an apartment if it's a good one). I was lucky though, that a friend recommended a broker with only a one-month-rent fee and not a 15% fee.

ETA: This is the company I used:
http://www.coopercooper.com/
+ Yelp reviews:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/cooper-and-coop ... new-york-3

They really don't ask you to write reviews or recommend the service. Mods, if you still consider this advertising, I will edit ASAP.

FWIW, I agree with the poster below that streeteasy is awesome, though. Just make sure you look for "no fee" apartments since a lot of those are posted by brokers too and not directly by the LL (same with CL).
Last edited by keg411 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:34 pm

Craigslist is definitely the way to go if you're at all money conscious. Streeteasy also has a ton of good listings; not as many as CL but much less scammy as well, and easier to sort by different criteria. Brokers in NYC don't really work for you, they work for the landlord. So while you can go to a broker and say "find me an apartment," you aren't going to get good deals that way, and you'll miss out on a lot of the better places, too. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you're paying the broker's fee, they have your interests in mind. They're helping the landlord by finding and screening tenants. The only reason you pay instead of the landlord is because the market is so tight that they can do extortionary things like that.

johnB86
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby johnB86 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:59 pm

keg411 wrote:I tried going through Craigslist first and it was a total nightmare and a half. But it's probably worth trying first, because there are definitely deals out there (just know that it will be you vs. like 20 other people for an apartment if it's a good one). I was lucky though, that a friend recommended a broker with only a one-month-rent fee and not a 15% fee.

ETA: This is the company I used:
http://www.coopercooper.com/
+ Yelp reviews:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/cooper-and-coop ... new-york-3

They really don't ask you to write reviews or recommend the service. Mods, if you still consider this advertising, I will edit ASAP.

FWIW, I agree with the poster below that streeteasy is awesome, though. Just make sure you look for "no fee" apartments since a lot of those are posted by brokers too and not directly by the LL (same with CL).



Also used C&C and had a great experience.

Anonymous User
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:18 pm

Has anyone had experience with this situation and buildings in the Financial District? My start date is September 15th but my current lease is up in May. Would a mid-May or June move-in be too early to get approved with just an employment letter and $10-$15k in the bank?

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englawyer
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Re: Finding NYC apartment between graduation and start date

Postby englawyer » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:19 am

If you are thinking about going for doorman building, I would recommend making an attempt to look around your desired neighborhood without a broker involved at all. If you just walk in and ask the doorman to look at available apartments, he or she can usually link you up with a leasing agent that works for the building who will show you the place, no fee involved.




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