let’s talk : COOPERATIVES – THE APPLICATION PROCESS
I spent this past week working to rent out my listing, and in the process learned a ton that I want to share with you! This was a JR-1 bedroom within a co-op building. In this case, I represented the owner who recently relocated to San Fransisco. My goal was to find her a renter! Now, working with a co-op building is a totally different animal that many get intimidated by and my goal today is to break that stigma. Because well let’s face it, a bunch of us on here live in NYC, and cooperatives are all around us, so let’s talk about that.
So as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk RENTING IN A CO-OP….
Let’s do a quick refresher on what a co-op is, and then we can talk about the whole rental process.
WHAT IS A CO-OP?
A co-op, short for cooperative, is made up of a group of shareholders who buy into a particular property. When these shareholders buy into the building, they buy the right to live in a particular unit. The number of shares you own in the cooperative corresponds to the size of the unit you live in.
As an owner in the cooperative, you are responsible for maintenance fees, which typically include property taxes, the buildings underlying mortgage, building insurance, and building upkeep.
IMPORTANT NOTE – every cooperative is different in what they include in their maintenance fees so it always important to ask!
OKAY SO NOW THAT WE KNOW WHAT A CO-OP IS. LET’S TALK ABOUT – THE RENTAL PROCESS.
It is important to note that not all co-ops allow their owners to sublease their units! Luckily, this particular building I worked with did!
Warning, the application process to rent or purchase in a cooperative building can be quite intense when you first look at all that is required so I want to try and break it down and make it as simple as possible for you!
So, first let’s talk roles…
The Landlord: That is the cooperatives board! They are your landlord, whether you are the owner or the tenant.
The Overtenant: This is the owner / shareholder who is looking to rent out their particular unit.
The Undertenant: This is the new renter!
Let’s talk lease agreements…
Typically, when renting in a co-op building, you will be signing a SUBlease. YOU as the renter (the undertenant), are technically, subleasing from the owner (the overtenant).
Let’s talk requirements…
Like most rental properties in NYC, you can expect the 40x rule to apply for these units as well. The 40x rule states that you, as the “Undertenant”, must make 40x the monthly rent on a gross annual basis.
Don’t quite qualify? Don’t worry! Most places allow guarantors.
Let’s talk the application process…
From the applicant you may see the building request information such as:Where do you work? What is your salary? Documents typically required: Last two paystubs, HR verification letter of employment, professional reference letter. These reference letters may seem daunting but they are just to prove that you do in fact work where you say you do, and that a colleague would vouch for the way you conduct yourself in the office. Where do you currently live? What is your rent? Documents typically required: Landlord reference letter. This reference letter is just to confirm that you do live where you say you live and that there have not been any issues. Most landlords, whether or not you are applying to live in a co-op, will actually check in with your current or prior landlord during the application process. We do up in Binghamton!What are you like at home? Can you provide personal reference letters? Documents typically required: Personal reference letter. You can have your best friend type up a quick note about you!What is your financial situation? Where do you bank? Documents typically required:Last two tax returns, Bank reference letter. In the Bank Reference Letter, they just want to see that your account is in good standing. Your bank will probably already have a template put together when you request this and it should be a simple print out!Proof of renter’s insurance! This is not something that is unique to co-ops. I recommend renter’s insurance for EVERYONE, ALWAYS. The landlord will most likely require you to add them to your policy – this will NOT cost you any extra, don’t worry!Interview! Some boards may require an interview. They are not ALL bad and often times are just a quick hello! In fact, my husband had a friend who went to a co-op interview recently that ended up just being drinks at a bar… sounds like an awesome interview to me!While this list of required documentation may seem long, it is more often than not, information we have stored away in our email or google drive or online accounts!
If you are the owner (overtenant):You may need to supply a note from your mortgager granting you permission to lease out your unit.You will need to sign the sublease agreement.Let’s talk fees…
While the fees vary depending on the co-op and management company. You may see the following:Application Fee Credit Check Fee (you will see this with any building type!)Sublet Administation FeeSublet Maintenance FeeMove-in DepositMove-out DepositAll in all, you are looking at anywhere from $500-$2500 in fees… which is A LOT of money do NOT get me wrong, but it also the price we pay living in a major metropolitan area AND it is not that different than the fees you pay moving into an apartment building or condo here! It is important to note that the total fees are often driven by the management company or agent running the building, not necessarily the type of building you are looking to live in. When I moved into my apartment 3 years ago, they required 4 months rent to move in… I cried but then quickly learned that was what our local market called for!
So, the next time you are apartment shopping here in the city- call me! EVEN if I am NOT your realtor! I am MORE than happy to help break down these fees, processes and structures and make them as simple and painless as possible! After all, isn’t that what our LTRE community is all about?!
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