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Tenants Guide

Congratulations

You will soon become a tenant. The process will become much easier and a less stressful experience for you when you have an experienced Tesla Realty Group LLC agent by your side. Finding the ideal rental property can be time consuming. Knowing what to expect can help ensure a smooth process.

View Properties

While there are times when people must rent a property sight-unseen – such as when they’re relocating for a new job – it’s usually preferable to view the property ahead of time to make sure it meets your needs and expectations. You can contact the landlord, real estate agent, property manager or apartment complex office (depending on the type of property) to make an appointment to view the unit. 

When you visit, pay attention to the individual unit as well as the overall property. Does the property seem clean, well maintained and in good repair? Are many of the units occupied? Is there a well-lit parking area? Are common areas tidy and well lit? Is the unit free from any defects? Can you look at more than one unit in the property to compare features? Are the amenities as advertised? Is the functionality of the unit and property acceptable? Is the appearance of the unit and property acceptable?

While it is easy to be in a hurry to sign a lease, it can be beneficial (if it’s at all possible) to view different properties to find one that meets or exceeds your expectations. This is particularly true if you expect to live there for a while.

Rental Application

Once you’ve decided on a unit, you’ll probably be asked to fill out a rental application. Each person who is renting has to fill out a separate rental application. This helps the landlord determine each person's credibility as a potential renter. You may have to submit a processing fee, application fee and security deposit along with the rental application. If your application is denied, the security deposit will be returned within a specified time frame, usually one month.

Credit and Background Check

You may have to give consent (by signing and dating the application) to the landlord and its agents to obtain a consumer credit report, landlord/tenant credit record search, criminal records search and registered sex offender search. The credit and background checks help landlords determine if applicants would make suitable tenants, in terms of character, income and financial responsibility. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for a landlord to deny housing to a tenant on the grounds of race, color, gender, religion, disability, familial status or national origin.

Cosigners

If you lack sufficient personal credit, you may designate a willing person as a guarantor. By consigning a lease, that person agrees to share legal and financial responsibility for the terms of the lease. The cosigner, who is often a close friend or family member, will have to submit a cosigner application, sometimes called a guarantor application, and a cosigner agreement. The landlord typically requires the latter to be legally notarized.

Lease

Once the landlord has the rental application(s) and has approved, the landlord will prepare a lease or rental agreement. Typically, the tenant(s) must sign and date the lease, and return it to the landlord with one full month's rent or with the first and last month's rent.

Utilities

The terms of the lease will specify which utilities are your responsibility and which are covered by the landlord. You may have to apply independently for utilities through the appropriate company to receive electricity, cable, phone, water, internet, etc. The utility company may require a deposit that will be returned once the utility has been turned off if there are no outstanding payments due. Utility companies often provide estimates of service charges if requested – which can be helpful to renters who want to figure out what their total monthly expenses might be.

Paying the Rent

In a co-tenant situation, the lease terms will indicate whether tenants must submit one check each month or if multiple checks are acceptable. Typically, landlords want to keep the process simple and specify that rent must come from one check only. It is up to the co-tenants to decide who writes the check each month.

Certain landlords let you pay rent online using a credit card, debit card or electronic check. A valuable feature of this convenient service is that tenants can sign up for automatically recurring payments, ensuring that rent is paid on time each month – a benefit to both the tenants and the landlord.

Renting in NYC

Get your paperwork in order before you see the place
Renters who are unfamiliar with the New York City rental landscape are often blindsided by how quickly rental inventory is snatched up by eager city dwellers. With such a competitive market and quick rental turnover, being organized and having your paperwork ready to go before the search for the right apartment begins is a necessity, not an option. Most landlords require proof of sufficient income to cover rent.  

Therefore please gather and organize the following documents first: 

1. A letter from your employer stating your position, salary, and length of employment.
2. Your last 2 years of your tax returns (first 2 pages only).
3. Your 2 most recent bank statements.
4. Your 2 most recent paystubs.
5. Savings and Asset Statements if any (including 401K, investment portfolios, IRA, etc.).
6. Photo ID.

Qualification Requirements
To be approved for an apartment without rental vouchers or any other similar rental assistance, you will be expected by most landlords to make 40 to 50 times the monthly rent and go through a credit check process. ​If your annual salaries do not meet the 40 times figure, you would likely need a guarantor(s) that earn 80 times the monthly rent. Optimum credit score for approval is about a 650 or above with no bankruptcies, real estate judgements or evictions. If any of these is an issue, please consult with our agent who might still be able to get you approved. ​

A typical apartment search process

45 Days Out - paperwork sent to our agent so that he or she can format the package and calculate a 
workable budget for you. 

30 Days Out - our agent will begin the apartment search for you, checking the open and close market contacts, management contacts, etc.  

20-25 Days Out - showings vary from agent to agent but they are often scheduled in one day, and they usually last 4-5 hours at a time. Our agent might show you the best 5-7 apartments the market has to offer with your target move-in date, and put in an application that night. Approvals usually take 24-72 hours. Once again, each agent has different showing work schedule and will assist you based on your availability. 

15-18 Days Out - Lease Signed - signed leases, guarantor riders (if applicable), banks certified checks or money orders delivered, lease in contract. 

Move-In Date

Have your move-in funds ready
Once the right apartment for you is found, you must be ready to financially commit immediately. Money Orders or Bank Certified Checks only. 

A typical estimated move-in costs assuming a $3,000 a month apartment

1. A Security Deposit ($3,000) payable by Money Order or Bank Certified Check only (in singular check). It will be held in the Landlord's escrow account and returned at the end of your lease term if the rent has been paid in full and apartment has no damages beyond reasonable wear and tear.

2. First Month's Rent ($3,000) payable by Money Order or Bank Certified Check only (in singular check).

3. Application Fees - the usual cost is $50 - $150 per applicant.

4. Broker Fees - it can vary but the typical industry fee is 13-15% of the annual rent (paid by you). "No Fee Apartment" is a Myth ! When you see an apartment listed as "No Fee" online, it just means the landlord has agreed to pay the Broker's Fee, and has always rolled the fee into the cost of the rent.

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