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Nina, Renter in New York, NY

Certified checks in apartment hunt?

Asked by Nina, New York, NY Thu Mar 15, 2012

If I'm looking at more than one place, I won't know what the deposit amount is in advance, so what does it mean when people say bring certified checks with you? What is a certified check? I read a bank has to give it to you. So if you want to apply to a place do you take a few minutes to go to the bank first to get the certified check for the specified amount? Please help me understand how this works.

Thanks in advance.

Help the community by answering this question:


Thanks everyone, I was just confused becuase I have read in different places to have checks on you at time of application. It was my understanding deposits were due at lease signing, but I have read to put a deposit with the application to hold the apartment. Would that instead be called a "holding fee"? If so, do holding fees need to be certified checks? And is the holding fee the same amount or less than the depsoit? I always thought less, but just want to be sure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 16, 2012
You are right on all along. That deposit is the "holding fee" and it has to be certified checks, because it shows the landlords and managements that you are serious. That's unfortunately the only way you can guarantee them to stop showing the apartment to other prospective tenants.

Now the holding fee might just be the same amount as the deposit. Or it can be half of the deposit; in this case the other half will be due at lease signing.

Let your agent handle all that stress for you.

Warmest Regards,

Raoul Sodogandji
Global Market Specialist
Licensed Salesperson

(o): 212.252.8772 (EXT.782)
(c): 347.993.8333
Flag Fri Mar 16, 2012
The best thing to do is wait until you have found the right place to make out any certified checks. When you do find the right place it is vital to get your certified check to serve as a deposit to take the apartment off of the market while you gather your supporting documents to submit to the landlord. The market is picking up day by day & getting that certified check ASAP can keep your hold on the 'Right' apartment.

Best regards,
Lancelot Watson-Taffe
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
Generally when renting an apartment in New York City, the landlord / Management will ask for the first month's rent and security deposit (which is usually equal to 1 or 2 month's rent, depending on management / credit) in certified checks. The following months's rents can usually be paid by other means.

A certified check is drawn from your bank, and they are due upon lease signing. Also, if you're using a broker, most will ask for a refundable good faith deposit to process your application ( many managements now do this as well). The commission is also due in certified check.

So once you're ready to apply for an apartment, you most likely will need to make a quick trip to your bank to draw certified checks in the specified amounts.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
Certified checks are due once approved at lease signing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
A certified check is a 'cashier's check' that you would get at a bank or credit union for a small fee. If you apply for an apartment, you should not expect to pay a deposit until you are accepted. This will secure the apartment until the lease is signed. There may be application fees that may be required at the time that you apply. This amount should be readily available from your agent, the listing agent/owner, or published in the MLS database.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
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