It’s tough to rent an apartment and when you’re unemployed it feels impossible. But, you can still find housing when you’re out of work. If not, you can always move in with your parents, right? Here we list ways to rent when you’re still looking for work.
Have all your financial documents prepared. Locate your tax return and know your credit score. If you don’t know your credit score, log in to your credit card account. Most banks, including Chase and Capital One provide this as a free service to customers. If you’re a student, disclose your program and your financial aid package. Be honest with your landlord and negotiate for a short term lease to gain their trust.
Cash is king. You can discuss with your landlord if s/he will accept rent in advance. Paying rent in full reduces risk for your landlord. Also, some landlords may only require a couple months rent. This will give you an opportunity to land your next job or work on your start up’s business plan.
You can also use your cash pile to make a large cash advance on your apartment if you’re between jobs. Negotiate with your potential land-lord telling them that if you meet their credit-score or cash requirements you’re still interested in renting from them.
Many landlords will accept lower-income, self-employed, or unemployed tenants if they provide 3 to 6 months rent upfront. That is obviously not possible for all people, especially when times are tough.
However, you can always explore secondary options.
Check out sublets on Craig’s list. Renters may be moving back home, for a new job opportunity and are desperate to terminate their lease. Learn the renter’s situation as each is unique. You can always negotiate with sublets and sometimes get a bargain. More importantly, a credit application may not be required especially if you’re filling one roommate’s spot in a shared space.
Sublets provide other benefits when you’re unemployed, too. Short term living arrangements give you the autonomy to explore other cities for work. But, even if you don’t move, you can test out neighborhoods, upgrade or downgrade your current accommodations based on your budget without a long commitment.
Do you have a wealthy aunt or uncle? Probably not. Do you have parents or grandparents that know you will pay rent in good faith? Ask your family to co-sign your place. If you have good credit and their trust, you can have a co-signer for your new lease.
Do you have a sibling or a friend that you can live with? You may be able to rent a one or two bedroom based on their income. Some buildings, especially in New York City, can create walls to divide bedrooms so you can have privacy. Keep in mind, cities like New York have the “40X rule.” This means that your roommate will need to have an annual income 40X greater than your monthly rent.
Living with a roommate is not everyone’s first choice, but it can be a great way to minimize your expenses while you’re unemployed and looking for your next role. What you can do is find a good roommate with decent financials and try to work out some sort of approval for your lease that makes sense for you, your roommate(s), and your landlord.
Do you invest your savings in investing apps? Disclose this income when you’re applying for housing.
Know your rights. Visit sites like Landlordology. Certain states may have laws that protect you from discrimination when you apply to rent. Review security deposit laws, too. And, this is important, you may (or may not) want to be couch surfing…
Couch surfing isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re taking time off between jobs and want to explore new areas this may be a good alternative to renting. I’ll admit – the first time I met couch surfer at a bar in Boston I thought they were nuts! But, most married couples now meet on Match, Bumble, and even Tinder. But, maybe you’re open to meeting new people and staying with locals in new cities.
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