Searching for an apartment in New York City can be challenging. Whether you are relocating from abroad, a current NYU housing resident, or considering a change of your current living situation, the apartment hunting process is often bewildering for even long time New Yorkers.

Although we do not provide actual off-campus apartments or legal advice, the Washington Square News has compiled these resources to support your search. We have outlined the search process in 10 steps and encourage you to review each one so that you are well prepared for your search.

Please note the websites on this page are provided to assist you with your search for non-NYU housing. Note that the Washington Square News does not investigate, endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of the information provided in the listings above, the condition of accommodations, or the suitability or performance of either the lister or any prospective tenant. NYU shall not be responsible for any loss or damage suffered or incurred by any individual or entity arising out of or relating to the listings. NYU shall not be deemed to be a party, and shall have no responsibility or obligation to enforce such agreement.

Step 1: Finding Roommates

Living with a roommate can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your college career. Whether you find a new hobby, learn a new skill, or become good friends, living with a roommate can be fun! However, living with someone also has its challenges. As you prepare for your search for a roommate, consider some of the advice we have provided below.

Advice on Living with Others

Please keep in mind that everyone has different beliefs, values, experiences, communication styles, and expectations. With that being said, you and your roommate may become the best of friends, or you may only see each other when you’re in your room. No matter how close you are, you have to work together to establish and maintain a positive living environment. Having the right attitude can make living with a roommate a little easier for everyone living in the room.

As soon as you get settled into your room, you should discuss your expectations honestly. The biggest conflicts often arise when expectations are not addressed from the beginning. Don’t put off talking to each other about how you want to live, needs, quirks, and pet peeves. It’s a great way to help manage conflict in the future.

Speaking openly about what you expect from each other and your personal habits is a vital step that many people skip especially if living with a friend or someone you already know. It’s pretty common for roommates to think that if they get along well as friends, they will get along as roommates, however, often living with friends and not discussing the things that might bother one another, can cause tension.

Living off campus, means you are pretty much on your own to work out problems with your roommate — unlike the residence hall where you might have an RA to help you resolve and mediate problems. Just like any relationship, it’s always a work in progress. But talking to one another, being honest about feelings, and developing a relationship that involves sharing, compromise, and respect will insure that you have a great living situation.

Roommate Search Links

Whether you’re looking for someone to share your apartment with or you’re looking for someone that already has an apartment, these resources will help you find a roommate.

Roommate Search Links

Whether you’re looking for someone to share your apartment with or you’re looking for someone that already has an apartment, these resources will help you find a roommate.

Roommate Search Links

There are more than a dozen different sites in which allow you tosearch for a roommate in NYC.  Check back here again for our suggestions!

Got suggestions to add to this page, email us at [email protected]

Helpful Resources

  • Finding the Perfect Roommate (PDF 90 kB) – Use this helpful questionnaire to help start the conversation about what is most important to you in a roommate and living situation.
  • Roommate Agreement Form (PDF 41kB) – From cleaning the apartment to hosting guests, deciding on how to split costs, the following documents can help you have a successful roommate relationship.

Step 2: Costs / Budgeting

The most crucial component of apartment hunting in New York City is going into the rental market prepared with what it will cost and knowing what you can spend.

Manage Your Expectations.

The newer the apartment, the appliances, the facilities and conveniences – like proximity to a subway or even NYU, means a higher price. Elevators and a doorman add to the price as well. Be open to the possibility of having to live in Brooklyn, Queens or even New Jersey to get a better price and more space. Know your wants from your must haves — more than one bathroom or bedroom, quiet neighborhood, closet space, safety of the neighborhood, building amenities.

Begin your search knowing what you can live with and what you can’t live without!  Once you’ve figured that out, begin by exploring what’s currently on the market.  Take the time to do some research into New York City’s neighborhoods and what they offer!

Utilities

One of the questions you should always ask is “what utilities are included” in the rent.  For many places, it’s usually heat, but you always want to ask.  Other utilities to think about are electric, phone, cable, internet and sometimes security systems.  If any of these items are not included in the monthly rent, then that’s additional costs you will have to incur each month and will likely have to set up on your own.

Fee Breakdowns

There are numerious fees that you need to consider as a part of the housing search process – application fees, deposits, credit checks, and more.  Take a look at Naked Apartments listing of fees to consider.

Financial Requirements

Landlords generally approve applicants based on the strength and/or balance of an individual’s income, credit, assets, and guarantor. The following are commonly required information and details that will help you prepare for completing an application for an apartment:

  • Income In Manhattan – most landlords will require that you earn annually at least 40 to 50 times the amount of the monthly rent. If the rent is $1500 per month, you may need to show approx. $60,000 in annual income. In the outlying areas of Manhattan (Brooklyn, Queens, NJ, etc.) most landlords will require less income, approximately 30 to 35 times the amount of monthly rent. Roommate/Shares and Sublets may require less annual income as well.
  • Grants, Scholarships, Stipends, Fellowships/Assistantships, and other awards are considered income. Loans, although currently a source of income, are essentially future debt. Many landlords may look less favorably on loans as income without additional qualifying support (guarantor or paying multiple months rent up-front).
  • Credit – Having good credit is important, and it is a major part of the approval process. Landlords use your credit rating and history to make an assessment concerning your bill paying habits and responsibility to debt. If your income is lower than the customary requirement, a higher credit score (e.g., 700 or more) will help.
  • Bad Credit – a few late payments in your past may not hurt your credit but high credit card balances, past due or late payments, delinquencies and collections or a Housing Court ruling. If your credit score is lower (e.g., 550 or less), it can hurt your application and prevent you from getting the apartment.
  • Assets – Additional assets will help your application. Many students may not have enough income to meet the customary requirements, and either have weak or no credit history at all (this is particularly true for international students). If you have 6 to 12 months of rent available in a bank account (loans, parents, grants), landlords may accept multiple months of rent or security deposit paid in advance as an alternative way of approving you (*Make sure this arrangement is in writing*). If your credit is very poor, some landlords may still refuse to rent to you.
  • Guarantor – For students or young individuals who do not meet the income, or credit requirements, a guarantor might be the solution. A guarantor (co-signor) is someone who is willing to take the financial liability of your lease if you are unable or unwilling to fulfill it. The guarantor is generally not required to pay anything in order to get you approved; however by agreeing to guarantee you, they are responsible for all terms of your lease. If you are sharing an apartment, it is important to understand the guarantor is ultimately responsible for the entire lease. Landlords may accept multiple guarantors, however, they are not legally obligated to do so. If a landlord is inclined to refuse an application based on poor credit, the decision to allow a guarantor for approval may depend on how bad the credit is and how strict their policies are. Sometimes a combination of guarantor and extra security are needed.

*A note for international students: Landlords may ask for three or more months’ deposit on an apartment if you do not have a guarantor who is employed in the United States.

Step 3: Location / Safety

Living in the New York City and New Jersey metroplitan area will provide you with one of the most exciting and vibrant experiences of your life. The history, traditions, culture, and ever changing demographics create an unforgettable living experience. Most apartment seekers are focused on the price, location, amenities, and finding the perfect roommate.

Three important factors in your apartment decision process should include how the apartment will impact your travel, how safe the area is, and who your new landlord will be. This page will help you to identify your appropriate legal resources, outline the crime statics for the varying neighborhoods in NYC and NJ, and will help you to plan out your future travel routes.

id NYC

New York City residents are now able to sign up for IDNYC – a government-issued identification card that is available to all City residents age 14 and older. Immigration status does not matter. Read more about the card >>

Step 4: Transportation

Living in the New York City Metro area means that you most likely will rely on Public Transportation.  Students can travel to NYU in a variety of ways, but most often by bus or train.

New York City

There are numerous travel options in New York City whether your commuting from Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester County or the Boroughs of NY.  Unfortunately there are no discounts for students, although you can usually save money by purchasing a monthly pass.

MTA Subway | MTA Buses | MetroNorth | Long Island Railroad

New Jersey

Public Transportation options are available in a variety of ways between New Jersey and New York City — with New Jersey Transit offering both trains and buses,  private bus lines, the PATH train, and ferries.

DISCOUNT TRAVEL

New Jersey Transit is the only public transportation system in the metro area that offers a student discount.The discount is available tostudents who are Enrolled-Full-Time (as verified through Albert under the Academic Load field) a 25% discount for bus, rail, or light rail monthly passes. This is an auto-subscription program, each month you will get a new pass unless you cancel or suspend your account. There is a $3 processing fee each month for the program.

To access the NJ Transit discount portal, registered, full-time students will see the NJ Transit Card under the NYU Life tab or by using the search option in NYU Home. Note that the card would only be viewable late August for Fall, early January for Spring, and late May for summer.

NJ Transit Discount for Military Personnel and Their Dependents: All military personnel and their dependents will be permitted to purchase transportation at the senior citizen/passengers with disabilities reduced fare rate upon showing their military or military dependent ID card. The following military personnel are entitled to this fare: Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard or Retired for Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard.

Visit the New Jersey Transit website for more information on the Student Discount Program or call Customer Service at (800) 772-2287.

NJT Trains | NJT Buses | PATH Train | Ferry Service

Bike Share Program

NYU Offers a free bike sharing program. Read more »

Step 5: Apartment Needs and Wants

The most crucial component of apartment hunting in New York City is going into the rental market prepared – knowing what your needs are in comparison to your wants.

Manage your expectations. The newer the apartment, the appliances, the facilities and conveniences – like proximity to a subway or even NYU, means a higher price. Elevators and a doorman add to the price as well. Be open to the possibility of having to live in Brooklyn, Queens or even New Jersey to get a better price and more space.

Know your wants from your must haves — more than one bathroom or bedroom, quiet neighborhood, closet space, safety of the neighborhood, building amenities; Basically, go into your search knowing what you can live with and what you can’t live without!

Terms to Know

The New York City housing market has unique terminology that is commonly used to describe the buildings, apartment types, and amenities.  Additionally, there are specific terms referring to leasing and renting.  We’ve provided further information to help you familiarize yourself with commonly used language in the real estate market.

Types of Buildings

Apartment Types

Housing Features / Components

Leasing and Renting

Step 6: Searching Online and In Person

Housing Registry

To assist students with finding non-NYU housing, the Center for Student Life works with a third party vendor, The Housing Registry, to aid in your housing and roommate search. The Housing Registry search features are only available to the NYU community through the use of their NYU email address.

This database contains apartments and rooms for rent, as well as a roommate registry. Brokers and non-members of the University Community are invited to post a listing on the Housing Registry as long as the guidelines are followed.

Please submit any questions or technical issues via the Help option on the Housing Registry site.

SEARCH or POST on the Housing Registry

Housing Registry Searching Tips

NYU Email: Your NYU Email will gain you access to all search features. Your password does not need to be your NYU Password. The first time you enter the site, you will be sent an access code that will need to be entered in order to enter the site. If the code doesn’t come to your email, please be sure to hit “resend” to get your access code resent to you.

Be Aware: Although our third party vendor monitors the registry, this does not mean the site is safeguarded from all possible issues including false posts and difficult people.
Tips and Terms: Please be sure to utilize our “Tips and Terms” page for explanations of various terms you may encounter during your search, as well as other important information about the search process.

Help, Comments, Questions:
Use the “Help” menu option. The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) should answer most of your concerns. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for please use the Help Desk to contact us. How are we doing? Do you think there is something we can improve? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave us your comments and suggestions on the Help Desk.

Apartment Search Links

We realize searching for an apartment in New York City takes tremendous effort and time. Below, we have compiled a list of websites that will assist you in your apartment search. These websites will help you get acquainted with what type of apartment options are being advertised, as well as information on costs, amenities, and the local area. These sites also allow you to search for rentals that meet your specific requirements, and to organize your search along the way.

See Step 10 for short-term  or speciality options which may have a lower cost than traditional hotels.

Step 7: Brokers

Unaffilated Brokers

The agencies listed below are not affiliated with NYU, however they are provided here as they have indicated an interest in working with college students in their search for accommodations.

Step 8: Lease Guarantor

A guarantor, also called a co-signor, is someone who is willing to guarantee your lease. The guarantor is responsible for all terms of your lease and guaranties not only your share of the rent but the entire lease – if in a share situation.

Why a Guarantor

For students or individuals who do not meet income or credit requirements, a guarantor might be the solution. A guarantor (co-signor) is someone who is willing to take the financial liability of your lease if you are unable or unwilling to fulfill it. The guarantor is generally not required to pay anything in order to get you approved; however by agreeing to guarantee you, they are responsible for all terms of your lease.

If you are sharing an apartment, it is important to understand the guarantor is ultimately responsible for the entire lease. Landlords may accept multiple guarantors, however, they are not legally obligated to do so. If a landlord is inclined to refuse an application based on poor credit, the decision to allow a guarantor for approval may depend on how bad the credit is and how strict their policies are. Sometimes a combination of guarantor and extra security are needed.

Third-Party Guarantors

If you do not have someone in the United States who can co-sign for you, there are several services available, for a fee, that will co-sign on leases. The following vendors are not affiliated with NYU:

Step 9: Rental Process

A lease is a legally binding, written agreement between a lessor (property owner) and a lessee (one who holds property under a lease) that gives the tenant the legal right to reside for a specifically stated length of time (beginning and ending dates)

Commonly Used Terms

Step 10: Short-Term Stays, Moving, Storage, Furniture

Storage and Moving

We are often asked whether it is better to store belongings over the summer in New York or to mail/drive them home. The answer is, it depends on your individual circumstances:  the distance to home, the amount of material to be moved, whether you prefer to spend money or time, whether your student will need access to belongings over the summer, and other factors.

Lightly-used boxes can often be obtained for free or at low cost from local stores or by searching craigslist.org.  Boxes are also for sale at NYU Logistics.

The following companies provide discount or special rates for students and usually require proof of enrollment such as a student ID or use of an NYU email address.

Appliance and Furniture Rental

Need to rent some furniture or other appliances for your new place? Take a look at the resources below to help you make your new apartment your home.

Hotels and Short-Term Stays

There are a number of local hotels that provide discounts to the NYU community, however, we encourage you to also use some of the travel and hotel search engines to help you in your hotel search. A more economical option than hotels might also be some of the short-term options.

Specialty Housing Services

Are you looking for specialized housing (sober living, women’s only, etc)? Do you wonder what the cost of utilities will be or how NYC housing costs compares to your current place of residence? This site can help answer those questions.