2004_12_askguarntor.jpgI'd like to know if there is an alternative method of getting a guarantor for an apartment lease if one does not have one readily available. It was suggested that perhaps some sort of loan type relationship with a bank could handle this scenario.Is such a thing even possible in NYC? Logistically I would deem no, but frankly I have no idea. If anyone even has an idea as to how to approach this matter it'd be a great help to me.

Many landlords require renters to have a guarantor if they do not meet certain income requirements, are new to the area, or are newly employed. The standard rule of thumb is that landlords want to see tenants who earn approximately 40 times the monthly rent. For example, if the monthly rent on an apartment is $1600/month and you are the sole occupant, you would be expected to earn a salary of $64,000 a year. If your salary fell below that, most landlords would require a guarantor. The guarantor is someone who will provide the rent to the landlord in the event that you are unable to pay. Many landlords require a guarantor within the tri-state area, although some will accept one within the U.S. Some landlords will require that the guarantor own property or meet certain income requirements.

We asked a friend of ours who is a lawyer if he had ever heard of a bank being a guarantor for a renter. His response was: "This kind of thing probably happens frequently in commercial situations, but I can't imagine it's common in residences.   If I were renting a residential apartment and a prospective tenant had a bank's guarantee, I would want to investigate whether the bank's agreement is legit.  Why would a bank enter into such a risky venture with seemingly nothing to gain?  It's an odd business proposition for a bank executive to justify to superiors, no?"

So what do you do if you don't earn the required amount and don't have parents who live in the tri-state area? You have several options. According to this FAQ on a no-fee rental site, "Relatives, employers, or associates who have excellent financial statements, excellent credit and agree to pay the rent if you cannot" can all be guarantors. If you can't get a relative (even an out-of-state one) or very trusting friend to be your guarantor (which we really wouldn't recommend anyway), you may have to find a more flexible landlord - such as the landlord in an owner-occupied unit with one apartment rental (which can be found in many neighborhoods in the outer boroughs) rather than the landlord in a big apartment complex. You can also try finding a roomate with a guarantor, or find a sublet in an apartment with a roommate who's already on the lease.

Need advice? E-mail ask@gothamist.com.