Author Topic: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?  (Read 6684 times)

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« on: July 30, 2012, 02:26:04 PM »
Many MMM commenters seem to own a home, but I believe that many rent as well.  I am not FIRE, sadly, but due to an illness I am unable to work now and for the foreseeable future.  My main expense now is my rent, and unfortunately Social Security, which I hope to start getting next year, just won't pay enough for me to stay where I am.  I have started to look at less expensive apartments and I've noticed that most landlords want an employer reference.  They have wanted this for my past apartments as well, but since I have always had a job, it was never a problem for me before.  Now, I am wondering how someone can rent an apartment when they do not have an employer reference.  Have any of you had to handle this before?  I would love suggestions.

Note: I realize that moving into a place with a roommate would help, but my one non-negotiable is that I will not live with a stranger.  I have had bad experiences with that before, and due to my health condition, I need to have a lot of flexibility in my home.  I'm in my 30s, so my friends are mostly married and not available to be roommates.

Will

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 02:31:36 PM »
If it were me, I'd ask the rental agent.  Surely you aren't the only one with no employer to need a place.  They must have some alternative.

arebelspy

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 02:35:52 PM »
Speaking as someone who rents out places, I want to see income, rather than an employment reference.  I've had tenants before who don't have jobs but do get social security disability payments such that I felt comfortable enough renting to them.  Can you show income like that?

Also are you able to qualify for section 8?

Otherwise you may need a cosigner.  Either way, you'll have to explain your situation to a potential landlord.  Some won't like it, and you won't qualify with them.  Others will be more understanding.  It'll help if you have good credit because you pay your bills.  Someone without a job and bad credit raises lots of red flags.

Good luck!
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NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 03:43:45 PM »
Thanks very much!  The problem with social security is that it takes a very long time to get and application approved, so I won't have it (and therefore won't have any evidence of income) before the time I'd move.  But you bring up a good point arebelspy - my credit score is over 800, so that could really help.  I have begun looking into Section 8 but it brings up more questions that it answers so far.  I'll have to find an actually human being to talk to about that.

Will, I haven't spoken to an agent because I can't afford their fees (usually a full month's rent) but you're right, it does makes sense to just call one and ask.  Good thinking.

Thanks!

redeyedtreefr0g

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2012, 04:37:51 PM »
Find a rental office and go in person. People are generally much more helpful to someone face-to-face, than to a voice they have no personal attachment to. It is true that usually a proof of income is what is really needed, not necessarily an employer's name.
The bad part about rental agencies or companies, though, is that they want ridiculous incomes sometimes for their tenants.  (As in, um, excuse me? If I had FOUR TIMES the rent as monthly income, I would not be trying to rent this little poo-box, I'd go for something better. Thxbye.) They also could charge fees for everything including to fill out an application, plus the usual first last and security. It gets VERY pricey.

My husband, friend and I are currently in a fairly deep hole, having all started new jobs and my husband and I having spent a lot on credit just to move. We supplied the apartment complex with letters of Intent-to-Hire as proof of incomes. We spent everything we had in move-in costs just to sign the lease! The good news is that with the apartment being shared, the costs really should be very little and it gives all of us a chance to save once we dig ourselves out of the financial pit.

Good luck with your situation! I hope that little bit above can help you.

sideways8

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 09:52:06 PM »
Rent from my grandma. All you need is a pulse.  ><

catalana

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2012, 05:56:19 AM »
Do you have savings?  If so, how about offering to pay e.g. 6 months in advance?  I did this with my recent place (despite being employed) as I used it as a way of negotiating a discount.

You have to be aware of the impact on speediness of repairs and notice periods, but it would make you a more enticing tenant.

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2012, 07:17:35 AM »
Thanks for the good ideas.  While I couldn't offer to pay 6 months' rent in advance, I could probably offer 2 or 3 and I suppose that could help.  Sideways8, if only your grandma was in Boston :)

jawisco

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2012, 06:44:46 PM »
Going in yourself to talk to property manager is good idea.  I have been in this situation many times and offering to/putting up multiple months in cash has always worked wonders.

arebelspy

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 06:49:50 PM »
Offering multiple months up front is a great way to get a discount on rent, as well.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: How do you rent when you don't have an employer reference?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 03:43:09 PM »
It sounds like offering more money up front is the way to go.  Thanks for your help!