Since you've mentioned that you only have funds allocated for the 1st month's rent plus 1 month's security I would suggest checking out the NYC Rent Guidelines Board website at http://www.nycrgb.org/ because they have a lot of resources to help you rent directly through a landlord without incurring any additional fees. If you decide to utilize the services of a real estate agent then you would pay a brokerage commission. The RGB has lots of good information and links to a variety of cost efficient and high quality housing options. All the best!
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
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...........all the reasons for which have been listed below
What are the specific issues/problems you have been having?
Perhaps one of the NYC agents could help you out if you clarified that.
1. It's harder to evict tenants in NYC than it is in many other parts of the USA. It can take 8 months or more to get a non-paying tenant out. Consequently, landlords must be careful who they rent to.
2. For a variety of reasons, the demand for rental housing is high, while the supply is not growing very fast. This makes renting in NYC historically expensive.
If it makes you feel any better: The profit most landlords make in NYC is not particularly high relative to the investment (that is, the cap rate is not high). There are exceptions, but wealthy landlords get that way, usually, by having a lot of units to rent, the profit margins are amazingly slim per unit.
Since you don't mention anything specific, my thought is your FICO score might be low or perhaps your income level is not what they are looking for. What do you need? How many bedrooms? what is your budget? What area are you interested in? When do you need to be in a new place? You gotta give us something so we can give you better answers. I strongly suggest you use a broker if possible. Good luck.
It is also extremely difficult for a landlord to evict a tennat who doesn't pay their rent so that plays a part in their decision.
Low supply also means rents have increased dramatically and landlords usually want to see annual income equal to 40 times monthly rent.
What problems have you experienced?