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Can a friend be a guarantor for a NYC apartment rental?

A friend can likely be your guarantor if they're financially qualified. 

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Question:

I need a guarantor for a New York City apartment rental but none of my family members earn enough to qualify. Can I use a close friend who has a good salary?

Answer:

Most NYC landlords require your annual income to be at least 40 times the monthly rent. So for a $1,500-a-month studio, you need to earn $60,000 or more a year. If you don’t make that much, some landlords will accept a guarantor—someone who can cover your rent if you get into financial trouble.

Typically, a guarantor is a family member who lives in the tri-state area. They must earn at least 80 times your rent and have good credit. Why such a high threshold? The idea is that if you default, they can pay your rent without falling behind on their own financial responsibilities.


[Editor's Note: Realty Bites tackles your NYC rental questions. Have a query for our experts? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]


However, it usually doesn’t matter if your guarantor is a friend or a family member, says Victoria Vinokur, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens. “The only requirement is that the person is financially qualified,” she says.

That’s because they are making an agreement with the landlord, and not you, says Mihal Gartenberg, a broker at Warburg Realty. Keep in mind a landlord might run a more extensive background check on your friend to confirm their application checks out, she says. Some landlords may require them to live in the tri-state area as well.

Whether you are using a friend or a family member as a guarantor, it's important to make sure they understand how serious a commitment they’re making: If you fall behind on your rent, they are legally required to pay it, and that could also go for your roommate too if you have one. Also, even though their credit score shouldn’t be impacted, if you default and they can’t pay, it might go on their credit report. 

Need another option? You can use an institutional guarantor, like Insurent (a Brick Underground sponsor) if you don’t have someone who can help out. To qualify for Insurent, you must have a minimum annual income of 27.5 times the monthly rent or cash assets or publicly held securities of a minimum of 50 times the monthly rent—plus decent to good credit. 

So, you should be able to use your friend as a guarantor, as long as they qualify. And buy them a drink for taking on a big responsibility and helping you land a NYC apartment.