The Rental Process
We’ve tried to make this as easy as possible. The financial information contained here is really important. It could make the difference between getting what you want, and not. It’s going to seem really cumbersome and way too involved, but if you read and remember, you’ll be ahead of the game!
1. Determine your budget and decide how much you can spend per month on rent. If you are moving from another city or town in the U.S. your rent will be the only expense that is more than you are used to spending. Electricity is quite reasonable, and you can expect to pay about $35 per month for gas and electric in a studio apartment. Heat and hot water are included in most apartments, but ask to make sure! However, to watch TV you need cable: $40 per month on average. Most of us spend 25% of our gross salary on rent. Landlords prefer tenants who annually earn 40 to 50 times the amount of their monthly rent!
2. Organize and prepare everything listed below:
• Letter of employment and salary verification (include start date if not yet employed).
• Bank account numbers (checking and savings), credit card numbers.
• Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlords.
• Names, addresses and phone numbers of accountant and attorney, if applicable.
• Names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references.
• Tax returns.
• Pay stubs.
• Expected bonus (verification from employer).
• Additional sources of income with verification.
• Personal identification with photograph – driver’s license or passport.
3. If relocating from another place, prepare the necessary funds before coming to New Jersey. Landlords will NOT accept personal or out of state checks. They require CERTIFIED funds. Anyone renting or relocating must:
• Try to establish a New Jersey bank account before you begin your search. If this is not possible, bring the necessary funds with you.
• Bring enough traveler’s checks to cover the cost of two (2) month’s rent (which must be converted into CERTIFIED CHECKS). This comprises the first month’s rent and one (1) month’s security.
• Bring funds to cover the broker’s fees (if applicable). Brokerage fees are paid by you, the tenant, in New York City.
• These fees are due UPON SIGNING OF THE LEASE.
• Bring funds to cover a Credit Check: $25 to $50, which can be paid by personal check.
• Bring funds to cover possible move in/move out fees. These fees are sort of a “tax,” but there’s no arguing them.
• Be prepared to have a guarantor’s signature if necessary.
Remember, the apartment is not yours until the lease is countersigned by the landlord. Every so often, we see situations where the renter thinks that the apartment is theirs, only to find out that for some reason the landlord decided to rent it to someone else.