Well, you might if you want to get a NYC apartment and don’t make 40 times your monthly rent in annual salary. What do I mean? Well, say you’re looking to rent an apartment with friends for $2,000 (for the entire place). $2,000 x 40. . . that’s a slick $80k. Yowza!
Wait you say, you plan on splitting that by three and hanging a sheet in the middle of the living room so it SHOULD only be like $666 x 40, right? Way more do-able!
Alas, most landlords and/or brokers don’t work that way. My landlord was over this weekend fixing the clogged bathroom sink so I used that bonding experience to ask him WHY that couldn’t work. WHY this heartbreaking practice was in effect.
Turns out landlords are kinda nervous about getting paid. They get squeemish when they think tenants are stretching to make rent so they enacted the 40 times rule. Turns out — they don’t care which roommate pays up as long as they get their $$.
Personally, I still think its over protective, but I’ve also never had to take anyone to court or evict them due to a failure to pay rent.
So, if you, like many of us don’t make that bank you need someone who does to co-sign, basically guaranteeing that you’re good for the money. Often not just for you but for the entire apartment, by the same logic as above. And in the worst case the guarantors have to show they make 80 times the rent, because, presumably, they have to also cover their own housing expenses somewhere else. And they may even have to prove their income with tax returns.
It’s an uncomfortable, prohibitive process — one that does not favor young upstarts trying to make a life for themselves without help from back home. I knew last year, when I had to ask my mom for her help, how lucky I was that I had someone to turn to — and still do. It was embarrassing — but I’m writing this post from my first choice apartment. And, like I’ve been doing for years already, I’m continuing to pay my own rent.
So, in essence, while it may seem like you’re losing your independence by getting a guarantor — it really doesn’t have to be anything more than a piece of paper between you and your broker/landlord. That is. . . unless you don’t make the rent!
P.S. Moms/dads, it you are reading this — you WILL have to give the broker your social security number. It’s scary, but they need it. Really.
P.P.S. Sometimes money talks louder and your landlord may skip the guarantor requirement if you are able to pay several months of rent in advance.