How To Get an Apartment without a Job?

So, you’re in need of an apartment but you don’t have a job and you’re not sure what to do.

As frustrating as it is to be unemployed and searching for an apartment, you’re not alone. Over 6 million people were unemployed in January 2019, and landlords are aware of this.

It may seem like an uphill battle now, but there are several ways to get an apartment without a job, all of which we cover in this article. 

How to Get an Apartment Without a Job

Whether you’re unemployed due to the pandemic, just graduating college, or something else, there are many ways you’ll be able to get an apartment without having a regular income. 

You may need to get creative and put in more effort than if you were employed, but the strategies below will show you how to get an apartment without a job. 

Before You Start Your Search

Before you even set out to apply for an apartment, you’ll need to be aware that you may not be able to get the apartment of your dreams or one in your desired neighborhood just yet. 

Getting an apartment without a job may mean settling until you can afford something better, and that’s okay.

It’s also important to understand that every apartment landlord wants proof that you can pay rent, assurance you’ll be a good tenant, and confidence that you don’t pose a huge risk. 

You can promise these things even without a job by showing off your other credentials and eligibility that prove you have good money management, a solid working history or a promising career, and good rental history if applicable. 

Do Your Research

Be prepared to do your research on everything from the rental laws in your area to rent assistance programs you can apply for. 

Another part of your research should be finding support groups for your current situation, whether you’re leaving an abusive relationship, re-entering society, or just getting out of college with no family help. 

The right group will help you connect with people and services that can help you get an apartment without a job and provide essential guidance throughout the process.

Start Your Apartment Search

Traditional rental management companies are less flexible than private apartment owners, so you’re better off searching for apartments that are privately owned. 

This way, you’re able to talk with the owner/landlord directly instead of going through multiple steps and people which is often the case with rental agencies and management companies.

Search Craigslist, Facebook groups, online real estate sources, or browse through a neighborhood looking for “For Rent” signs. 

You can also ask friends and family if they know of any landlords that accept tenants without a job.

Create and Gather Paperwork

The most important part of applying for an apartment without a job is providing sufficient paperwork that proves you’ll pay rent on time and you’ll be a good tenant. 

There are several ways to do this, as outlined below.

Show Off Your Good Credit Score 

If you have an outstanding credit score, it’s incredibly important to show it off. Ideally, you have a score of 700 and above, which is considered good by most landlords and banks. 

A good credit score is essential to include as it shows landlords that you can manage your money well and have a history of paying bills on time. 

A better than average score gives them reassurance that you will pay on time while you’re their tenant. 

Provide Bank Statements 

If you have a decent amount of savings built up in your bank account, you’ll want to show this to apartment owners by providing bank statements. 

Just because you don’t have a job doesn’t mean you don’t have money to pay for an apartment and landlords know this.

Show Other Forms of Income

Your primary concern is to reassure the landlord that you can pay the rent even though you don’t have a job. 

It’s essential to prove all other sources of income that you’ve received no matter how inconsistent they have been. 

Some forms of income outside of a job can include:

  • Side hustles
  • Helping out a friend on a project
  • Severance package
  • Unemployment
  • Child support
  • Alimony/spousal support
  • Tax refunds
  • Personal loans from family or friends
  • Workers compensation
  • Social Security 
  • Disability

Create a Renter’s Resume

A renter’s resume boosts your credibility as a possible tenant and should include:

  • Reference letters from past landlords and people who can vouch for you as a tenant who pays on time
  • Reference letters from past employers who can highlight your work ethic and ability to hold a job
  • A rental ledger, which is a summary of your rental payment history
  • A one-page cover letter that states why you’re unemployed, your plans for how you’ll pay rent, and other qualities that make you a great tenant

Proof of Future Employment

If you’ve been hired at a job but don’t start right away, provide proof you’ll be employed soon with a letter of employment or signed contracts.

This can go a long way in easing the landlord’s doubts that you’ll be able to make rent.

The Application Process and Rent Assistance

There are several things that you can do during the application process and ways to give yourself a better chance of getting approved for an apartment without a job. 

Secure a Co-Signer/Guarantor

A co-signer/lease guarantor is someone who agrees to be legally responsible for paying your rent if you stop paying it.

Having a co-signer shows the landlord that you have a backup plan and reduces the risk of accepting you as a tenant.

If you don’t know anyone who is willing or able to co-sign your lease, a guarantor service may be able to help.

Get a Roommate

Applying with someone who has a steady job and good credit helps offset the risk for the landlord.

Having a roommate also helps you financially as they’ll help pay rent and bills.

Consider Subletting

Another option is to sublet an apartment with someone who is already renting.

Every apartment has different rules, though, so make sure it’s okay with the landlord.

Get a Letter of Credit

A letter of credit is similar to a co-signer, as it’s a legal statement from a bank that ensures the landlord receives rent even if you stop paying.

The bank that you get the letter of credit from agrees to be responsible for paying the rent, as long as certain conditions are met.

Consider a Personal Loan 

If you don’t have enough money saved and get turned down for other options, a personal loan may help you get approved for an apartment and can be seen as a source of income. 

Do your research and make sure this is a good choice for your circumstances, as the interest rates on personal loans are usually high and can do more harm than good to your credit score when not used with caution 

Apply for Assistance Programs and Grants

There are a vast number of programs and grants you can apply for that provide you with some form of income and rent assistance. 

You’ll want to do your own thorough research, but start by looking into the following programs and grants:

Other Tips for Getting an Apartment Without a Job

While the strategies above will help you get an apartment while unemployed, the tips below can also help you get accepted into an apartment and provide proof that you’ll be a trustworthy tenant.

Pay More Than the Upfront Minimum

If you’re able to pay more than the required first and last month rent and security deposit, it may help give the apartment owner confidence that you’re a trustworthy tenant. 

However, some states don’t allow this so research your state and county laws beforehand.

Be Available to Move In Immediately

By offering to move in immediately, you show the rental owner that you’re serious.

It also means that the landlord gets their money faster and wastes less time trying to find a tenant.

Offer to Pay Month-to-Month

If the landlord still isn’t confident in leasing to you, offer to pay on a monthly basis to ease the apartment owner’s concerns. 

With traditional leases, it can take months to evict someone for late payment, so this would end up saving them time and money in the case you can’t pay rent.

Make Sure You’re Easy to Get in Touch With

Show the landlord that you’re reliable, consistent, and take the application process seriously by being easy to get a hold of. 

Don’t make them wait too long to hear back from you and try to always answer their phone calls or respond to their emails within a day.

Make a Good First Impression

When meeting with or conversing with the rental owner make sure you’re coming across as friendly, sincere, and trustworthy. 

First impressions go a long way and can make a big difference when applying for an apartment whether you have a job or not. 

Follow Up Within a Couple of Days

Landlords get busy and sometimes don’t receive your application, calls, or emails. They’re also likely filtering through several applicants at once. 

Stand out from the crowd and make sure they received your application by following up with them in a couple of days if you haven’t heard from them. 

Final Thoughts

The strategies and tips in this post show you how to get an apartment without a job from gathering the necessary paperwork to using rental relief programs. 

Getting an apartment while unemployed can be tricky, but as long as you can show the landlord that you’re reliable and can pay rent, it’s still a possibility. 

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