It’s no secret that New York City is one of the most expensive places to live.
Last year, the World Economic Forum listed it as most expensive city in the worldwhich take the top spot and are rivaled only by Singapore.
In addition, it is estimated that individuals need at least $6,606 Survive. This includes rental costs in New York City.
For international students, this is quite a significant amount – especially considering that rent is usually around $2,000 to $4,000 of that.
Typically, New York apartments are portrayed as small, shoe-sized rooms that barely have enough space for comfortable living. The reality doesn’t look much different.
Throw in the occasionally unreasonable landlords and money-hungry real estate agents, and it makes finding a decent place to rent in New York City extremely difficult.
This is especially true if you ditch traditional student accommodation and venture into the city on your own.
However, this does not mean that such a feat is impossible.
Here’s what to expect as an international student moving to New York and how to find your own apartment.
Looking for a rental apartment in New York City
Determine the best neighborhood to live in
While most New York neighborhoods are expensive for the average student, there are still some that offer you space and convenience at a lower price.
These are scattered across the city’s five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.
Each district offers its own set Advantages and disadvantages.
For example, Manhattan gives you access to the heart of New York as it is close to the Financial District, Midtown and all the major attractions that you would see on the big screen.
However, it is densely populated with 1.6 million people. This makes renting here extremely expensive.
Brooklyn is known for being more down-to-earth — home to great food, plenty of live music, street art and more.
It is also known for its diversity and inclusion. Still, the district is becoming more gentrified by the day — making it less and less affordable over the years.
Many renters in New York try to choose a location that balances the cost of rent and location.
However, as a student, it may make more sense to rent in a cheaper neighborhood, even if it’s further from your campus.
You are likely to be more flexible in your lesson plan, allowing you more time to travel to university if needed.
Some of the most popular districts for New York students include Fordham Heights in the Bronx, New Springville on Staten Island, and Washington Heights in Manhattan.
This is because these spots are among the cheapest neighborhoods in New York.
Use a variety of property search websites
Most renters start their apartment search online – and as a student, it will be no different for you.
Therefore, it is important to know which websites to consider when looking for New York City rentals.
Some property search websites that you can use include NY Rent Own Sell, StreetEasy and Zilov.
These sites often have their own check and balances, giving you peace of mind that you are dealing with reliable, trustworthy landlords.
Other websites like craigslist can offer you more options and flexibility in terms of rental costs. But it’s unregulated, which means you’re more likely to get scammed.
Joining Facebook groups might give you the same flexibility — and allow you to look for roommates to split the rent — but without verification, you’re taking the same risks.
Arrange a viewing
You might find an apartment online that looks spacious, clean, and with enough storage space. Be careful.
Landlords often tend to advertise them as such through clever camera tricks and angles, making a property look much more attractive than it actually is.
For this reason, it is extremely important for an international student to arrange a viewing. It is important that you travel to the apartment in person to determine if it is suitable for you.
This also allows you to check the itineraries and surroundings that you can’t find out by just listing them.
Of course, many international students arriving from outside the country may not have this privilege.
If this is the case, try asking a trusted friend in town to view the apartment for you. You can take videos and pictures of the property, look out for specific requirements, and more.
Worst case, ask for a virtual tour. This may not be as reliable as visiting in person, but still gives you an idea of what to expect before making your payment.
Make sure you have all your documents in order
As an international student, there are more steps you need to take to secure your New York City rental compared to a local.
Typically, these include deployment a set of documents. You can expect your landlord to ask for:
- Your passport or photo ID
- your bank statements
- Proof of financial support if you receive a grant or loan
- your student visa
- Your college offer letter
- Any letters of recommendation
Unless your landlord has a good reason, always provide photocopies of your original documents.
Contact your Studentenwerk if your landlord asks to keep the original copy of your visa, passport or anything else.