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Using a guarantor for your NYC apartment rental

Updated on January 30, 2017

I've been working for 5 years, and I need a...what?

If you are a renter in New York City, you may need the help of a guarantor to rent your apartment. Guarantors are like "silent backers" in renting an apartment - they act as co-signors when you are signing your lease to provide extra "insurance" that your rent will be paid to a lessor. You might be in need of a guarantor if:

  • You are just beginning a first job
  • You are just beginning a new job and don't have a previous employment record with the company
  • You make less than the "income threshold" for the apartment (typically, 40-50x the monthly rent)
  • You're new to NYC or a first time renter (e.g., moving from a parents' home)
  • You have little savings
  • Your credit score could use some improvement or work

A guarantor typically has a stronger record than the person signing the lease, and typically has a higher level of income than the lessee (a typical multiple is about 80x the rent, though the number could be much higher).

How does the guaranteeing process work?

In most cases, a guarantor and the lessor of an apartment co-sign the lease as if they were both "tenants" in the apartment. The guarantor signs as a lessee of the apartment and agrees to all obligations and promises that the actual lessee(s) of an apartment agree to.

Like the lessee, the guarantor will likely also have to provide documentation and paperwork proving that they are in a financial position to guarantee the apartment. (For more information on the documentation needed, please see Required Documents and Paperwork for Renting an NYC Apartment.)

As a guarantor, what should I be aware of?

If you have been asked to guarantee a lease, remember that you are "joint and severally" liable for the same things as all actual tenants of the apartment. This means you are on the hook for any rent payments missed, liable for any damages to the apartment, and any obligations that the tenants did not uphold. Because of this, you should only guarantee leases of those you completely trust to live up to their end of the bargain.


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