Finding an apartment in New York City to rent has never been easy. With sky-high prices, limited options, and heavy competition, even the best-equipped New Yorkers can have a hard time securing a new home. So, where does that leave a person who doesn’t have a job? Perhaps you’ve recently been laid off or moved to NYC without first securing employment. Whatever your case might be, it’s understandable that many thousands of people find themselves in.
Despite what friends and family may have told you, it is possible to find an NYC apartment without a job or any regular source of income. It’s not the easiest or most preferable way to go apartment hunting, but it can be done. Below are some of the ways you can do that.
1. Get a Guarantor1. Get a Guarantor
Getting a co-signer is one of the most straightforward ways to secure an apartment. This is where you find an individual (the guarantor) willing to cover your rental payments when you can’t make them. Unlike a roommate, a guarantor acts as a surety to the landlord that the rent will be paid on time and in full. Most new arrivals to NYC rely on established friends or family in the city to act as their guarantors. However, to act as a guarantor, they must have an excellent credit history and a steady and transparent source of income. You could try paying a guarantor instead for those who can’t find someone to act as a co-signer. Just know that not every landlord will accept this.
2. Find a Roommate2. Find a Roommate
If you can’t find a guarantor, your next best bet is to find a roommate with whom you can share the living costs. There are always people in New York looking for roommates to help spread out their living costs. Try looking through Craigslist and social media platforms for a potential roommate. Ideally, it should be someone with excellent credit and financial records that is in a better financial position than you are. Keep in mind that you will need to cover half of the monthly rent or whatever percentage you agreed. You will also need to keep actively looking for a job or making some income on the side to avoid becoming a financial liability for your roommate.
3. Find a Private Landlord3. Find a Private Landlord
There are a lot of privately owned apartment buildings in NYC that have more flexible rental requirements. Some don’t care about employment, income, or even conduct credit checks. This can be a viable option for anyone who’s unemployed and has poor credit. However, finding a good private landlord apartment can take some time and a bit of luck. They also tend to come with a higher-than-average monthly rent and security deposit. Do plenty of research before deciding on this option.
4. Get a Credit Letter4. Get a Credit Letter
What if you’re unemployed but have a tidy sum saved in the bank? In that case, you can request a credit letter from your bank. This is when the bank acts as a guarantor. If you default on your rental payments, the bank will cover it. To get a credit letter, most banks will want to see proof of funds covering at least a year’s worth of rent. The bank will hold this amount like a security deposit, meaning you can’t spend it on anything besides rent. Once the lease ends, any remaining funds are returned to the tenant.
5. Ask for References from Previous Landlords5. Ask for References from Previous Landlords
Assuming that you’ve been a model tenant in the past, take advantage of previous relationships you’ve had with former landlords. Ask each of them for references that can be used to vouch for your trustworthiness and responsibility. You can submit these reference letters with any rental application. Perhaps this will be enough to convince a landlord to take a chance with you.
6. Use Unemployment Benefits6. Use Unemployment Benefits
Being jobless doesn’t mean you have no source of income at all. In NYC, you can get up to 26 weeks of benefits while unemployed. Depending on your past wages, this can net you $100-$500 a week before taxes. This could buy you some precious time while looking for a new job. To be applicable for unemployment benefits, you must have lost your job without it being your fault, have lived in New York State within the past 18 months, and have a valid social security number.
7. Consider Getting a Personal Loan7. Consider Getting a Personal Loan
This should be considered a last resort but taking out a personal loan is possible, even when unemployed. Naturally, this will require a very high credit score, at least 700, for a lender to overlook that you are unemployed. Determine how much you’ll need to cover living expenses while looking for a job. You’ll also need to ensure you can cover the monthly rental payments and interest.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
As the above suggestions show, finding a rental apartment in NYC is entirely possible while unemployed. If you’re planning a move to NYC and don’t have a job lined up, take all the precautions. Start saving, building your credit score, and reaching out to any possible friends or family that could act as co-signers or roommates. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of landing on your feet.