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We live in the USA: how to rent a house

Illustration by Alexander Shatov

Illustration by Alexander Shatov

Finding accommodation for new arrivals in the United States can be an intricate quest with many unknowns. The process of renting property in America is fundamentally different from what people are used to in their homeland.

“Forum”, after the first material from the cycle "We are settling in the USA" about opening a bank account and obtaining basic documents, helps to understand the intricacies of the American rental housing system: where to look, what documents are needed and how to protect yourself from cheating. So, the goal is to rent a house in New York for at least a year, the budget is limited, the term is as soon as possible.

Housing problem

Andrei Bogovych came with his parents to the United States a few years ago. The family settled in New York. When Andrew turned 18 years old, he wanted to live separately and began to look for housing.

Andrew decided not to use the services of brokers in order to save on commission. “Of course, the broker can help solve some problem with the apartment or negotiate with the landlord about the mitigation of the requirements for the tenant. But I decided not to spend extra money, ”says Andrei.

Search he started from the site “Russian advertising"- this is a Russian analogue Craiglist.

I was also looking for housing in groups in social networks dedicated to renting real estate:

- on Facebook: “Seeking advice in the USA", "Immigration in the USA", "Ukrainians";

- In contact with: "New York", "USA America: Visa to the USA", "Rent an apartment in New York" and others.

He called the ads himself - he was looking for a small studio or a room in apartments. More than half of the ads, as he found out from realtors. On the homeowners Andrei got infrequently.

The main problem he faced was the extensive list of documents that landlords demanded.

“When I called about the studios, they asked for either a certificate of income or payment for six to twelve months in advance. It was easier with the rooms: the owners just wanted to get a double or triple price right away - this is a rent for the first and last months, as well as a deposit that goes to repair the premises if I break something, ”says Andrei.

Without paper you are a bug

The need to document their financial soundness and integrity is the main difference between the process of renting housing in the US and the post-Soviet countries. Requirements may vary slightly depending on the state, a specific area or even a residential complex, but their essence is the same: the tenant needs to prove that he has enough money to pay for housing, that he has never violated the terms of rent before and does not have a criminal trail.

“In New York State, housing rental laws are very liberal and protect the interests of the tenant. If he stops paying, the owner can evict him only through the court, however, the eviction process is quite expensive and can take from six months to ten years, ”explains the reasons for the strict requirements for tenants Albert Wilk, a realtor with 30 years of experience and owner of Wilk Real Estate, a real estate agency in Brooklyn.

Infographics of Alexander Shatov for the "Forum"

Infographics of Alexander Shatov for the "Forum"

According to Albert Fork, landlords want to be sure that the tenant will pay on time and abide by the rules of living. Therefore - the higher the annual income and credit rating, the better the recommendations from the previous landlord, the more chances to get housing for rent. If there are no documents, a sponsor is needed who will be financially responsible for the tenant: if he is unable to pay the rent on time, the sponsor will have to pay his money.

The advantage of the rental contract is that it allows you to live in rented apartments for a long period, as well as in case of breakdowns of some equipment that is included in the rent, the landlord is obliged to repair or replace it at his own expense. However, in the event of a breach of contract and premature departure, the landlord has the right not to return the deposit and not give a recommendation.

There are no hopeless situations

Andrei Bogovych has no work, no income, no credit history, and he cannot pay the rent for the year ahead. Andrei has not yet found a separate apartment for himself, but he is not losing hope for it.

Almost all migrants who rent housing in the USA for the first time face a similar problem. If a potential lodger is at the disposal of a potential lodger, it greatly simplifies the process. If not - you have to get out.

Real estate agent Edward, who asked not to be named, convinces that you can rent a house without having a job or documents, and he has helped his clients more than once. However, the idea of ​​renting apartments in a residential complex is likely to be abandoned. Under these initial conditions, it will be possible to rent only the housing that private individuals rent. The main thing - to persuade the landlord is not so picky about the tenant.

“Of course, it is desirable that the client has a guarantor - a relative or just an acquaintance who guarantees that the rent will be paid on time, even if the tenant does not have such a financial opportunity,” explains Edward. - We also work with visitors who do not know anyone in the United States and do not have the necessary set of documents. But sometimes it happens that there are no loyal and “flexible” landlords in our database, then we advise applicants to contact directly private sector owners who can rent a room in their home monthly. ”

Denis Sinyakov found another way out for himself: in one of the communities on VKontakte, he came across a hostel in the northern part of Manhattan. Lives in it for the fourth month. “$ 450 a month for housing in Manhattan is a fairly economical option. The only drawback is that you need to share a room with three or four other people, but sometimes it turns out to be quite fun, ”says Denis.

In addition to the hostel, for visitors without work and confirming the financial condition there are two more options in case of emergency: to find accommodation on the site Airbnb or stay in a hotel.

Infographics by Alexander Shatov for "Forum"

Infographics by Alexander Shatov for Forum

How not to fool yourself

The rental process (especially if the visitor is looking for housing in a new country without a realtor) can be quite risky. The “Forum” has gathered some tips on how to protect yourself from fraud.

1. Specify the cost several times before going to view housing.

Rostislav Lomaga, who came to New York under the Work & Travel program at the beginning of this summer, was looking for his first accommodation on the websites. “It often happened that on the phone they said one price, and when you come to look at the room, the price is already a hundred dollars more. I had to call more than fifty numbers to find the right option, ”Rostislav recalls.

2. Sign a lease agreement in which everything will be taken into account to the smallest detail.

Igor Mikhailuk found accommodation on site “Russian Advertising”- for 700 dollars rented a room in a three-room apartment in Brooklyn. No contract with the landlord is not signed. I paid for the first month and left a deposit in the amount of a monthly payment. Before he moved in, the hostess warned him that four Uzbeks would live in the other two rooms of the apartment.

In fact, it turned out that instead of four, ten people live there. Igor immediately wanted to move out. When he asked the owner to return the money, she refused - they say, he is obliged to live in the apartment last month at the expense of the deposit. The fact that Igor lives is not at all in the conditions that they agreed on, and did not want to hear. He had no choice but to live for another four weeks in the apartment. “The lack of a certificate of income and credit history in New York is not a hindrance, finding housing is real. However, you need to be careful not to be deceived, ”says Igor Mikhailuk.

3. Do not pay anything until you have signed the contract.

Our hero Andrei Bogovych, studying Craiglist, more than once got on the ads for which luxury apartments surrendered two to three times cheaper than the market price. From such landlords, he received similar answers: they say that the owner moved to another country or state, wants to hand over his property to an adequate person, therefore he asks for less. However, to view this apartment, you must first transfer money to a certain account. “It is necessary to be very careful, since a sufficiently large number of ads is a simple divorce for money,” comments Andrey.

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