Renting in NYC is never easy. For renters like Fordham Graduate Student Joshua DeSon, Rhino can make a difference, especially when in a financial pinch. DeSon is one of over 25,000 NYC renters who used Rhino to lower the cost of moving. He relocated to New York City in 2018 to build a career as a mental health professional and meet new people, but couldn’t have predicted how life would change in March of 2020. 

DeSon faced a set of entirely new financial decisions at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and financial flexibility became much more important at a moment’s notice. When their roommates left the city, DeSon had to take over the lease for the shared apartment in Washington Heights. They were also expected to pay a large security deposit, something that was impossible until their landlord introduced them to Rhino.

Signing up for Rhino and using security deposit insurance helped Joshua avoid paying a $3,300 security deposit, and they were able to find new roommates and still enjoy living in NYC with the cash they saved. The ease of the experience showed them something new about renting too, as Joshua compared the experience of using Rhino to their Spotify subscription; figure out what you’ll pay, set it, and forget it. 

Renter Joshua DeSon says about Rhino, "I stopped worrying about the security deposit or even thinking about one, it changed the way I view renting because it doesn

So how does Rhino work exactly?

With Rhino, renters purchase a security deposit insurance policy instead of paying a cash security deposit to their property manager or landlord directly. Renters who buy a Rhino policy pay a small, non-refundable monthly fee as low as $4/month, and renters can see their quote before deciding to sign up. The process of signing up is easy too, and DeSon says that going forward they’ll only look to rent at buildings that offer security deposit insurance. 

Signing up for Rhino also makes communication with your landlord easier as you both have access to your Rhino policy details in case you ever need them. You have visibility into what your landlord does with your policy, which is more control than a renter would ever have over their security deposit. Renters like Joshua―who are balancing work, school, and living―benefit from more access to their landlord.  

Upfront costs can stand in the way of some of the fundamentals that renters need from a home and many are dipping into their savings to move. No matter your financial situation, Rhino could make a lot more sense for anyone trying to keep some cash to use in a different way than locking it away in a security deposit. In New York City’s expensive rental market, these upfront savings make the difference for many renters. 

A quote from Lauren Prescott, an NYC renter who says about Rhino, "I had no idea this kind of service excited to be honest and I was so relieved that I would be able to rent the apartment of my dreams with the help of Rhino!"

Why Rhino is perfect for NYC renters

Rhino’s product was inspired by the renters who deal with the expensive and inconvenient rental process in our hometown New York City. If you’re a renter moving in New York City you can end up paying a broker’s fee, security deposit, and other application fees all at once just to be able to sign a lease. You may also need to find a guarantor, which can take more time and energy during the leasing process. All of this on top of some of the highest rent prices in the country. Rhino reduces a significant portion of the upfront move-in costs with security deposit insurance and guarantor services. DeSon even used the savings created by Rhino to avoid taking out another student loan. Because of Rhino, they’re able to thrive in NYC, develop their career, and enjoy all the things that make New York exciting: like trying new places to eat. 

“I had a moment of panic because I didn’t have anyone to be my guarantor, so I used Rhino for that too...Now I use the cash I’m saving to buy groceries and live a little better on my grad student stipend.” - Joshua DeSon

To date, Rhino has saved over $400mm for renters across the United States and tried to go above and beyond in unique ways for the population we serve. We ran a social campaign where renters were able to win a free month’s rent paid for by Rhino. We helped renters and landlords work out payment plans during the COVID-19 pandemic because both sides had very reasonable concerns. And we’re preparing to introduce a suite of new products to make moving and renting easier for all  renters.  For now, check out some NYC properties that offer Rhino in case you’re in the market for a move. 

A graphic with a quote from another NYC renter about Rhino.

Joshua DeSon and other New York City renters use Rhino to make their move more manageable and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Renters in all financial situations can benefit from this financial flexibility at move-in and take the choice of what to do with their money back into their own hands.

Having been designed initially for one of the most challenging rental markets filled with high costs, complicated procedures, and competitive application processes, Rhino has since helped renters nationwide save over $400mm at move-in. If you’re one of these Rhino renters, feel free to share your story with us. We’d love to hear from you. 

Larenz Brown

Larenz Brown is a copywriter at Rhino who wants to tell stories that empower people. He once engaged in a 365-day staredown with a security deposit and emerged victorious.