Here’s how to rent an apartment without proof of income

Are you wondering how to rent an apartment without proof of income? We’ve outlined a strategy for you in this informational guide.

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

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With the advent of the digital nomad and the perpetual freelancer, the traditional workday has been reinvented. Though this has opened up a unique niche in the job market, it often makes it difficult to rent an apartment without proof of income.

Additionally, those who are between jobs or underemployed can also struggle to provide proof of income. In a modern rental landscape that requires tenants to qualify for a rental space, not having this information can hinder finding your perfect place.

Though there are many scenarios in which proof of income may be difficult to provide, it does not mean it is impossible to rent an apartment without it.

This Isn’t A Reflection Of You

It is also important to remember that not having proof of income does not always reflect the renter’s integrity. Whether your job has unique circumstances or you have fallen on hard times, everyone deserves to have a roof over their heads.

If you are a part of the former categories, read on to find out tips on how to rent an apartment without proof of income.

1. Maintain a Good Credit Score

If you are an adult who has ever had to rent a home, buy a car, or open a line of credit, you know (and may sometimes dread) the importance of maintaining a good credit score.

Though it can be frustrating how much influence that three-digit number has on your life decisions, it is never too late to fix your poor credit—even with thousands of dollars of debt. Here are a few ways you can improve or maintain your credit score:

  • Get a Credit Card – This is especially helpful for people who do not have established credit. Though getting a credit card may seem counterintuitive to resolving poor credit, especially when you have debt, it actually makes a huge difference in your credit score. However, it can hurt your credit score if you are unable to make consistent payments. Starting with a low limit or transferring a balance can help increase your spending limit while also adding a few points to your credit score.
  • Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low – As mentioned above, credit cards are notorious for ruining credit scores. The higher your credit card balance in relation to your credit limit, the more it will negatively impact your credit score. Combined credit card balances should always be within 30 percent of your combined credit limits in order to maintain a good score.
  • Pay Bills on Time – This may seem obvious, but while on-time payments don’t always get reported to credit bureaus, past-due bills often do. Any bill that could potentially be sent to a collection agency can affect your credit score. If you are forgetful (or busy), take advantage of automatic bill pay services which are now offered more often than not.
  • Never Close Old Credit Cards – Closing a credit card reduces your available credit which will in turn affect your credit history. Even if you do not use the card and it has a zero balance, it is still better to keep it open.
  • Limit Your Credit Applications – While having multiple credit cards can be beneficial, having too many can be detrimental. Whether the account is a credit card or a loan, too many credit inquiries can have a negative impact on your score. So, only apply for credit cards when totally necessary and when you have the means to make regular payments to avoid bad credit.
  • Be Diligent and Patient – Improving or building credit can take months or years depending on your financial history, but as long as you stay on top of it, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even people with tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid student debt can increase their poor credit to good credit—it just takes diligence and patience.

2. Consider a Lease Co-Signer or Guarantor

While we live in the land of entrepreneurs, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and “can-do” attitudes, it’s okay to ask for help. A guarantor or co-signer on a lease for a rental space will often allow those who cannot provide proof of income with an opportunity to rent. In fact, this has become a common practice among renters.

  • The Repercussions – It’s important to remember, however, that the co-signer or guarantor is held responsible for any unpaid rent or other financial responsibilities that the tenant may not meet. It is also important to consider that if the co-signer or guarantor is a friend or family member, this could negatively affect your relationship.

3. Provide Bank Statements

Just because you are currently unemployed or freelancing does not mean you do not have money in the bank. Maybe you are in the process of starting a new job and do not yet have proof of income to show. Either way, do not let this discourage you.

If you have an irregular income or are currently unemployed but have a large amount of savings or other considerable assets, showing property owners a bank statement with this information can sometimes be enough to qualify a prospective tenant.

4. Look for Rentals by Owner

If you are unemployed, between jobs, or freelancing and cannot provide proof of income, maybe that high-rise luxury loft apartment you’re interested in is not for you (at least not yet!).

Often these types of buildings are owned by big corporate rental agencies. While they have beautiful rentals with top-notch amenities, rental agencies are not likely to budge on their rental application policies, which can sometimes be grueling and highly selective.

  • What Is Rental by Owner? – As the name implies, you will often see listings of apartments that say “for rent by owner,” which means that you are renting directly from the owner of the building rather than a third-party agency.
  • Direct Relationships – Having a direct relationship with a property owner is an ideal situation, as they are often more inclined to accept other qualifying factors other than proof of income. A direct relationship is ideal for all parties involved because a level of trust makes a better experience for both the tenant and the owner.
  • Negotiation – With large rental agencies, there is generally no wiggle room for negotiations of any kind. With an owner, however, you can often negotiate the rental qualifications you must submit (and sometimes even the price).
  • Other Advantages – A property that is rented directly by the owner does not necessarily mean you have to sacrifice quality. The only difference is how the deal is made, and since rentals by owner remove middlemen, agencies, and brokers, you shouldn’t expect to pay any hidden fees. Also, when dealing directly with a property owner, you may be given more leeway when it comes to not providing proof of income.

5. Show Any Unusual Income

If none of the above cases apply to you, showing any supplemental income that you currently receive or will receive can help sway an owner or rental agency. Examples of the types of unusual income that may be accepted include:

  • Workers’ Compensation – If your reason for being unemployed is due to an injury sustained at the workplace and you are receiving worker’s comp, you can submit a letter issued by either the insurance company or court to the rental owner or agency. This proves that you have been awarded compensation and have a consistent gross income.
  • Federal Tax Return – Showing your IRS 1040 can sometimes act as proof of income. Because it provides a detailed report of the gross income you have earned within a year, sometimes across multiple jobs, it shows that you will have enough money to pay your monthly rent.
  • Social Security Statement – Millions of citizens live on their social security benefits and showing your bank statements could act as proof of income.
  • Proof of Income Letter – Depending on what type of work you do, you may not have a pay stub or conventional proof of income to show. However, a letter from your employer including their contact information that confirms your salary and employment can show proof of income.
  • Severance Statement – If you have been laid off or fired, you can still prove your income through a severance package statement. It is important, however, to explain to your potential landlord that you are seeking employment but will pay rent with your current severance.
  • Court Ordered Agreement – This consists of showing a potential landlord any paperwork for money received due to court ordered agreements such as alimony, spousal support, or class action lawsuits.
  • Unemployment Statements – Depending on how much unemployment you receive, sometimes your benefits can prove your monthly income. It also shows how long you will be receiving these benefits, giving your potential landlord an idea of how long you can commit before it runs out or you find steady income.

Don’t let your employment status discourage you. Though it may be more challenging to rent an apartment without proof of income, it is not impossible. Just stay vigilant and hopeful, because everyone deserves to find their happy place.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The Blueground editorial team covers the best things to see, do, and experience in our cities around the world.