International Student

I'm an International Student. How do I get an Apartment?

Alex Tseng | August 24, 2016

Finding an apartment in NYC is tough enough.  But when you don’t have a US credit score, a previous landlord in America, an American bank account, tax returns, paystubs from a company in America, or a steady paycheck right now, how can you go about
renting an apartment in NYC?

First, it’s possible. You can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Landlords typically want to know two things about you as a potential tenant: Who are you as a person?  Will you pay your bills on time?

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you find a place quickly.

1.      Prove that you are a real person, and prove that you have money to pay rent.  Bring a copy of the following documents with you when you visit the apartment: US Visa, Passport, several months of bank statements, a letter from your school saying that you are enrolled in the program, or an employment letter from the company you will work for, and a recommendation letter in English from a former landlord, professor or employer.

2.      Landlord will likely require you to have a guarantor – someone who will be responsible for your lease if you cannot pay.  This person needs to make 80x the monthly rent and live in the Tri-State Area (New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut).  If you do not have a guarantor, you could sign up for the Insurent Lease Guaranty.  Most large landlords are signed up on this platform, and you will most likely qualify and be approved within an hour if you have the right documents.  In addition to the items above, you will need to submit a copy of your parents’ passports, and bank statements or paystubs to prove that their income is more than 50x the monthly rent, or have 80x the monthly rent in bank accounts.

3.      Be prepared to pay several months of rent up front, typically 3-12 months.

4.      Sublet from someone who already has a lease. Roomi offers rooms available in apartments that people have already leased – it’s like Craigslist but less sketchy, since you can see who your roommates are going to be.  Student Housing offers housing specifically tailored for international students, but is on the pricier side.  If you are a graduate student, intern/trainee, or visiting scholar, check out the International House.  They often have a waitlist, but it’s a great place to get connected with other internationals.

5.      If you’re looking to live by yourself, sign up for REMY!  We’ll personally answer your questions and help you find a place.  Then you can ask a friend to look at an apartment for you. We’ll even make sure your friend asks all the right questions.

6.      Lastly, a word of warning: DO NOT transfer any funds to anyone if you or someone you trust has not seen the apartment!  There are many scams out there, especially on Craigslist and Facebook, but even on other trusted apartment sites.

Happy Hunting!