4 Best Guarantor Insurance to Rent Apartments in New York
When you’re first starting your life in New York City, there are a lot of terms that you may start to hear relating to your apartment hunt.
“Rent-stabilized” is a term that you might hear. Then, there’s a “guarantor”.
Hearing someone talking about guarantors was almost exclusively a NYC thing, although recently, this concept is popping up in many major U.S. cities.
If you’ve been wanting to move to the Big Apple, learning about what guarantors can do may make your transition to the city easier.
Best Guarantor Insurance Services for Rentals in New York
- The Guarantors
- Insurent Lease Guaranty
Co-signing Guarantor Services in New York
- A guarantor is a person or company that acts as a guaranty on your lease in cases where your credentials fall short in order to qualify on your own.
- Both you and your guarantor will have your credit history and income information submitted for consideration.
- Using professional guarantor insurance is a popular option for those who cannot find a guarantor within their personal network.
- The three main companies providing guarantor services are Insurent, the Guarantors, and Leapeasy.
- Each company has its own criteria and fee structure so it's important to investigate the pros and cons of each company carefully.
- You will also need to submit your FICO score as well as income documentation to these professional third-party guarantors, but their requirements are more relaxed than most landlords'.
What is a Guarantor?
If you’ve ever lived abroad, chances are that you’ve heard the term before.
Guarantors are originally a British phenomenon.
They are used as a way to professionally guarantee that you will be able to afford rent when your income, credit score, or financial situation doesn’t match traditional standards.
A guarantor can be seen as a co-signer for all intents and purposes.
Reasons You May Need a Guarantor for Leasing an Apartment
It’s clear that New York City apartments are not easy to get into, especially if you’re looking for an affordable apartment before you actually have the income you expect to have.
Qualifying for an apartment in New York is notoriously difficult and some cases, more difficult than qualifying for a mortgage.
You may need a guarantor if any of the following are true.
You Don’t Make Enough Money
The “40 Rule” is a classic requirement among landlords in New York City.
This is the common metric landlords and property management companies use to see whether you make enough money to afford their apartment(s).
You'll need to show that you either make or have forty times the monthly rent.
For example, if the asking rent price is $2,000 a month, you should be earning at least $80,000 a year or be able to show that in your assets such as bank accounts.
If you make less than the magic number, you may be asked to get a guarantor.
Your Credit Score is Too Low or You Have No Credit
Most landlords want to see a credit score of 680 or higher.
If you don’t have that, then you might need to get a guarantor.
Your Work History or Credit History Is Not Long Enough
Sometimes even if you can show that you have good credit or make enough money if you just started your job or established credit not too long ago, you may not appear like a solid enough applicant.
You'll likely be asked to get a guarantor.
The Landlord Asks For One
Landlords reserve the right to ask for a guarantor, with or without reason.
How Do I Find a Guarantor Who is Not Family or a Friend?
Professional or third-party co-signing companies do exist, and they can get you approved for an apartment you wouldn't qualify for on your own.
Companies started to pick up on people needing help finding guarantors.
To meet that need, they created unique legal financing groups that act as rent insurance and a way to guarantee that you’ll make rent.
Since then, companies like the Guarantors and Insurent Lease Guaranty have been popping up around every corner.
It’s been easier to get a guarantor ever since.
Their existence means you can get a guarantor for a nominal fee—often around the equivalent of a month’s rent.
This may be the perfect option for someone who doesn't qualify for an apartment but doesn't want to get their parents, best friend, or co-worker involved.
How Do These Professional Guarantor Services Work?
The third-party services do not have to qualify in the same way a conventional guarantor would. These services offer a guarantee or insurance in the case of missed rent.
So, if you become delinquent on your rent for any reason, the landlord will still get their money. Instead, you owe money to the insurance company.
Different companies have different payment structures, so it's important to review each one.
Some of them ask for a one-time fee, while others may charge additional fees for different scenarios.
If the landlord is not already working with one of these services, they can easily get information and sign up with the one you are working with, granted that they are willing to work with them.
What Are the Requirements to Qualify for Guarantor Insurance?
Though it’s easier to get a guarantor these days, it’s not a “free for all” by any means.
Guarantor companies still have requirements that they have in place when it comes to approving clients.
These are what you need in order to get approved in most cases:
Proof of Income
You will need to make 27 times the amount of rent you want to pay per year. This income has to be backed up with pay stubs or tax documentation.
The bare minimum FICO score you will need to get a guarantor is 630.
If you don’t have the income or the FICO score, you might be able to get a guarantor by having assets that are 50 times worth a month’s rent.
However, this is on a case-by-case basis.
How Much Will I Need to Pay For a Guarantor?
How much a person will pay varies based on which company you choose, your citizenship, as well as the proof you have of your financial status.
A renter can expect to pay anywhere from 60 to 95 percent of what they expect to pay for rent.
Remember that if you default on your rent payments, while your landlord will be covered by the third-party guarantor, you are still on the hook for the rent payments.
The rent payments should be made to the insurance company.
Top Guarantor Companies in New York
If you need a guarantor, chances are high that you will need to go through one of three companies.
Not sure where to begin?
We decided to put together a handy chart that shows the differences between the three, plus a quick blurb about each one.
|Company Name||Minimum Credit Score||Income Requirements||Rates & Fees|
|The Guarantors||550 is bare minimum. 630 is the most common.||Usually 27 times your rent.||
4.5% to 7.% percent for US residents
7% to10% percent for non-citizens
Additional fees may apply based on credit.
|Insurent Lease Guaranty||"Decent to good" credit.||Usually 27.5 times your rent. However, they can still help if it’s lower if you have 50 times rent in cash assets.||
70% to 90% of a month’s rent for US residents
Up to 110% of a month’s rent for non-residents.
|Leap||Unknown||Unknown||“Under a month’s rent.”|
|Rhino||Poor is okay as long as property takes Rhino.||Approval is based on if property takes Rhino.||Individualized cost for each renter. Can be monthly or one-time fee.|
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The Guarantors are one of the oldest guarantor companies to operate in New York City, and to a point, their staying power speaks for itself.
They’re known for being flexible when it comes to their coverage and for having excellent customer service.
Who Is the Guarantors It Right For?
This might be the company for you if prize transparency above all.
As one of the most upfront about their requirements and fees, the Guarantors are a great pick for people who don’t want surprises when it comes to their paperwork.
They also are known for being avid educators about everything involving NYC’s rent reform.
Insurent Lease Guaranty
Insurent might just be the Guarantors’ biggest competition.
Like the Guarantors, they have a long reputation for doing right by their renters.
Who Is Insurent Right For?
Insurent is best for someone who wants to save on fees.
Their requirements are a little stricter than their competition, but it comes with a major perk. According to their site, Insurent offers up the lowest fees in the industry.
Moreover, there are no additional fees to expect with them, making their offers extremely affordable.
One major caveat you need to be aware of is that they only will guarantee buildings they have a partnership with.
So if you need a guarantor, make a point of seeing who Insurent works with first.
Leapeasy is relatively new to the rent guarantee circuit, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a good choice for the right person.
Like Insurent, they make a point of only partnering up with specific landlords that they service. However, that can mean better rates for the right person.
The problem that many people will find with Leapeasy is their lack of transparency. They take each renter on a case-by-case basis.
Who Is Leapeasy Right For?
What we know is that they allow people with decent to poor credit to get help through their company as long as they have something to balance the risk out.
They are open to working with non-citizens. As long as you are 18 and have the right documents, they’ll be happy to look over your application to find out how they can help you.
Rhino is yet another new guarantor startup that’s been gaining a lot of traction thanks to their low rent insurance prices.
It's primarily known for its security deposit insurance but also provides lease guaranty services.
Using Rhino is simple.
You sign up for their deposit protection policy when you move in, which makes it possible to avoid a large upfront cost.
Who is Rhino Right For?
Like Leapeasy, Rhino is only offered through landlords, and you still have to pay one month’s rent in order to move in.
The amount you pay depends on the size of your deposit, location, and income. So, it’s hard to say what to expect here.
With that said, Rhino doesn’t just serve parts of New York.
It’s more of a national thing...or at least, is working to position itself as such.
It’s also billed monthly, which means that you can cancel as needed.
Important Considerations When Using a Guarantor Service
Although finding a third-party professional guarantor sounds like a dream come true, especially if your income is a little low or your credit is not high enough, don't get carried away with excitement.
As when finding any guarantor, you still need to be responsible. That means conscientiously making your rent payments on time.
A professional guarantor service is no time or excuse to skip one month of rent "just because"!
You will still be on the hook for the rent, even if the insurance will cover your rent.
The guarantor service only ensures that your credit will not take a hit and/or that you will not be evicted or your lease terminated.
Because each vendor has different requirements, it's important to do your own research of each company.
For example, the Guarantors performs a soft pull on your credit, but it's not clear if Leapeasy or Insurent does as well.
If that's the case, you'll need to weigh how pulling your credit multiple times during the apartment-hunting process will affect your credit.
Learn about any potential hidden costs that can be incurred, and carefully review their refund policies.
Who Else Can Be Your Guarantor?
Traditionally, a guarantor acts as a co-signer on your lease.
In many situations, guarantors would be someone like your family member, spouse, or close friend.
However, times have changed.
The requirements for being a guarantor are high, and you will be expected to show paperwork that backs up their qualifications.
Guarantors Must Be Able to Show High Income and Great Credit
Guarantors are typically required to make 80 to 100 times the cost of a month’s rent.
That means if the apartment you want is $2,500 a month, your co-signer must show they make $200,000-$250,000 a year.
Unless your uncle is Bill Gates, chances are good that you won’t be able to get a family member to co-sign and guarantee your lease.
Furthermore, guarantors are held to a higher standard. So the standard credit requirement doesn't apply. Many landlords want to see a 740 or better from a guarantor.
Guarantors Must Provide Proof of Income
Two years of tax returns, four pay stubs, personal identification documents, and more might be needed to show that they really make as much as they claim to make.
It's not only a lot of trust you're asking your guarantor to place in you, but they also need to bother to gather paperwork and show potentially private or sensitive information.
When submitting an application, you will have to hand over all the paperwork to the landlord or realtor for processing.
If you’re really struggling with getting help, you might even need to compile everything into a folder yourself.
Sounds like a lot? Many people aren’t able to find a guarantor that satisfies New York City standards the old-fashioned way.
Lately, things have been changing so that people can get a better shot at getting into apartments.
To get a more in-depth understanding, read: What is a Guarantor for a Rental Apartment?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a guarantor?
What is guarantor insurance?
What are some reasons you may need a guarantor to lease an apartment?
How much will I need to pay for a guarantor?
What are the top guarantor companies in New York?
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