It would be easy for everyone to afford apartment rental prices if they all made over $80,000 per year. Unfortunately, the average citizen of America makes only around $44,148 annually. This comes out to $859 weekly, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Since long-term rental prices are increasing, people with such mediocre salaries spend almost 50% of it on housing alone. To make matters worse, there are many Americans with little income who do not even qualify for an apartment rental.

A Landlord's Perspective

You might think that everyone has a right to a home, regardless of their income level. Unfortunately, there are landlords who own these homes and they care about their money. That is why they want to make sure that you can pay your rent on time. Proof of income is just one thing you will need to provide them.

Landlords are basically running a business. Your rent money is what sustains that business each month. If the landlord sees that your monthly income is high, then it will be easier for them to trust that you'll make your payments on time. Therefore, the landlord will be looking at your credit history and proof of income to determine whether you'll be a suitable tenant.

Income Level is Too Low

Landlords typically have a rule that an applicant's monthly income needs to be at least triple the amount of their monthly rent. This is called the "3x rule" in the real estate market. If your income is too low to satisfy this rule, then you can do one of the following things:

Find a rental that doesn't require proof of income. It is rare, but you may find a landlord who won't ask for proof of income. If you can find such a landlord, it will be great for you in your situation.

Display your best qualities on the rental application. If you have certain things against you, then make up for it by clearly showcasing the greatest things about you. Think of it as a job resume in a way.

The easiest method is to find a landlord that doesn't ask for proof of income. The only problem is that it will limit your rental choices. For this reason, the second method will be better. But you need to know how to make yourself look like a champion, despite having little income.

Below are the top 6 ways to work around a tough rental agreement:

1) Showcase Your Good Credit History

The amount of income you have right now is always important. Another thing that is important is your credit history because it shows how good you are at managing debt. A landlord will look at your credit history to determine whether they can trust you to make the rent payments on time. Your credit score will be what they pay particular attention to. If you have a good credit score, then you should proudly display it on your application. This can make up for having low-income.

2) Get a Cosigner

If you must rent without income, then you will need a cosigner. You probably used a cosigner when you purchased your first car. It is basically a friend or relative who agrees to be responsible for the debt if you default on your obligations. In the case of a rental, cosigners are called lease guarantors. A guarantor gives the landlord peace of mind because they will be responsible for the rent if you don't pay it. A lot of college graduates and students tend to need guarantors.

3) Obtain a Bank Statement

If you have a lot of money saved in the bank and you have a bank statement to prove it, then you can possibly win over a landlord if you don't have any income. Anyone in between jobs will benefit from this.

4) Pay a Higher Security Deposit

If you don't have proof of income, then try negotiating with the landlord by making them an attractive offer. This can be an offer where you agree to pay a larger amount for your security deposit. If you need just a few months to get your income back in order, then a higher security deposit which covers those months will be attractive to the landlord.

5) Networking

You might have a friend or family member who is a landlord. If not, perhaps they have a friend who is a landlord. Try asking around your social circle and see if you can get recommended to a landlord. Having a personal recommendation is always a positive thing when applying for a rental.

6) Shared Rentals

The worst-case scenario is that you find a roommate and apply for a shared rental. Be careful though, because you are likely negotiating with the current tenant rather than the owner of the rental. These tenants want to make sure you're qualified to be a good roommate. They don't care so much about your income level, but rather what kind of person you are. Be sure their lease allows them to sublet so that you will have a legal right to the apartment as a subtenant.


Whether you have a low credit score or low income, it is hard to qualify for any rental. At least now, you have plenty of information on how to go about winning over the landlord in either case. Don't let low income or a weak credit score stop you from finding the best rental.