Bohemia Blog by Agent Daniel E Cohen
Look, we totally get it. Renting an apartment in NYC can be a royal pain. Finding an apartment you want to call home, in a neighborhood where you enjoy spending time, in a building that has the amenities you need, at a price you can actually afford is chore enough. But when you then factor the very strict income and credit criteria the vast majority of landlords in the city require you to meet it’s easy to see why many people moving to the city for the first time, and even many who have lived here for years, give up hope of ever having a place of their own. For those in such a situation who may be browsing our website dreaming of the day you can ditch the roommates and rent your very own slice of the Big Apple there’s good news! A new company is making waves in the NYC rental market and they may be able to help. They’re called Insurent and they offer institutional guarantees for residential leases in New York City.
When you reach out to one of our agents about a listing they are going to briefly review the landlord’s requirements to rent with you to confirm that you can qualify if you decide you’d like to apply for it. Veteran NYC renters will be familiar with the spiel: Do you make roughly 40x the monthly rent for the year, and do you have good credit? Good credit often can mean a FICO score of 680-700 and above, and your income generally needs to be fully verifiable with multiple forms of paperwork (tax returns, sometimes going back two years, recent pay stubs, letter of employment, and so forth). Obviously not everyone can meet such strict criteria on their own, but everyone does need a home! At Bohemia Realty Group we work with a wide variety of clients who have all kinds of life situations that often don’t fit neatly into the qualifications box. Whether they are students without income or credit, artists who work a variety of freelance jobs with earnings that are difficult to document, independent contractors and small business owners who write off a lot of the income they generate, people with dings on their credit from student loans or medical bills or divorce or a failed small business or any number of other factors that happen in life, I mean the list goes on and on. What are they to do?
We are very proactive about problem solving with clients with qualification problems, but the unfortunate truth is there are really only so many ways to get such people approved. Generally speaking we are talking about either offering extra rent and/or security up front, or using a guarantor who must make at least 80x the monthly rent annually and have very good credit (typically over 700). Both of these avenues have problems of their own and may or may not be available. For example, if an apartment is rent stabilized landlords are not legally allowed to collect extra rent or security up front even if the prospective renter has all that money to throw into the mix. And let’s be honest, many people simply do not have someone who can function as their guarantor, whether because they just don’t know anyone who makes 80x the monthly rent, or because they’re an international student whose relatives don’t have established American credit history and so cannot qualify. It’s daunting.
Up until recently these were really the only two ways we could consistently help people rent places who had trouble qualifying through the standard criteria. Insurent is now a third option. Though it’s not perfect (not all landlords work with the program and there is an additional fee for using the service), we are doing deals more and more frequently with clients who are using Insurent to qualify for leases who otherwise couldn’t. As Insurent gains traction in the city more landlords are agreeing to use the service, and at Bohemia Realty Group we have a growing list of management companies we have personally confirmed will accept the program. It’s super easy to sign up and we can often get deals fully approved and executed within days of submitting applications with Insurent serving as guarantor. Though Insurent won’t be right for everyone, at least there is another option for those who don’t match the traditional rental requirements. If you find that perfect dream apartment on our site, but consider it just a fantasy because your income and/or credit are a little wonky, check them out. We may still be able to get you home!
From their website….
“A significant segment of apartment renters in the New York metropolitan and other major residential rental markets in the country do not meet the financial and/or credit criteria required by landlords. This group may include creditworthy college and professional school graduates entering the workforce; Non-U.S. residents executives relocating from abroad; self-employed persons; U.S. executives relocating; persons no longer in the workforce; and other persons who cannot demonstrate an annual income or credit history sufficient to meet the financial eligibility standards that are typically required.
In many instances, individuals are unable to rent apartments they would like without a co-signer/guarantor, additional security or prepaid rent.
When a guarantor or co-signer is required, it is often difficult for a renter to find a third party that is acceptable to the landlord. For example, the prospective co-signer or guarantor may live out of state, or may not have the financial resources or credit to meet the landlord's requirements.
The Insurent® Lease Guaranty Program was created to serve renters, landlords, condo/co-op owners, and brokers and relocation specialists by offering the first institutional guarantor of residential leases. The Insurent® Lease Guaranty Program is underwritten and issued by Argonaut Insurance Company, a property and casualty insurance company rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best.
Instead of looking for a guarantor or co-signer, or having to pay a significantly larger security deposit or prepaid rent, a renter may utilize the Insurent® Lease Guaranty to satisfy the landlord's financial and credit requirements.”