How To Rent an Apartment in a New City Without a Job

How To Rent An Apartment Without a Job

Moving to a new city can be a great way to give yourself more options for making friends, finding a better job, and improving your mental and physical health. But moving to a new city and trying to rent an apartment when you don’t yet have a job in that city can be very difficult.

Without a job, a landlord may question your ability to pay the rent. And landlords may also worry that you will give up and go back to your previous city if you can’t find a job, which would leave them with an empty apartment.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to rent an apartment in a new city without a job though. With a little creativity and a willingness to explore some unconventional options, you can rent an apartment in a new city without a job.

Table of Contents

Remote Work

Doing Remote Work on Laptop

If it’s possible for you to work out a deal with an employer to let you work remotely for a few months until you can find a job in a new city then you should have no trouble renting an apartment with the job that you already have.

However, not all employers will allow that and not all jobs can easily be switched to be remote. Still, if it’s possible to do your job remotely it doesn’t hurt to ask if your employer is willing to let you work remotely for a few months until you get established in a new city.

Freelance Work

It’s also possible to rent an apartment if you have freelance income that can you document. Typically landlords want to see Federal tax returns from freelancers that show that person’s income.

However, if you’re planning on doing some freelance work for the first time when you move to your new city you may be able to use freelance work to rent an apartment if you can document the income you’re receiving.

For example, if you have a contract from a company saying that they plan on employing you for a set number of months. Or bank account statements showing regular deposits from a company that you are doing freelance work for.

New to the idea of freelance work? Check out sites like Upwork.comOpens in a new tab. and Fiverr.comOpens in a new tab. to see how you can put your skills to work earning you extra cash.

If you can’t swing renting an apartment by working remotely or doing freelance work don’t give up hope. There are still things that you can do to rent an apartment in a new city without a job in that city like:

Get A Cosigner or A Guarantor

Get a Cosigner to Sign Lease

If you want to move to a new city without a job in that city and without any way to prove that you can pay the rent one way to rent an apartment is with a cosigner. A cosigner typically is a relative like a parent, sibling, grandparent, or an aunt or uncle.

The cosigner must meet a set of criteria determined by the landlord. In most cases, landlords or management companies will expect cosigners to have good credit, earn at least 4x the amount of the monthly rent, and have a solid work history.

A cosigner is financially responsible for the apartment with you. If you fail to pay the rent or any fees agreed to in the lease then the cosigner must pay them. And they also have some of the same legal rights to the property that you would have.

A guarantor is similar to a cosigner but a guarantor has no legal rights to the property. They’re just the financial backup. If you don’t pay the rent or fees the guarantor will have to pay. The advantage of having a guarantor over a cosigner is that they have no right to the actual property.

Not everyone has people in their lives that would be financially able to become a cosigner or guarantor for them so they can rent an apartment in a new city. But if you do have that option it’s a great option. Most landlords and management companies will work with you if you have a cosigner or a guarantor.

Fix Your Credit

Another option for renting an apartment in a new city without a job in place when you get there is to fix your credit before you move. Having good credit tells a potential landlord that you’re responsible and pay your bills on time.

Cleaning up your credit may take a little bit of time though, so if you want to get your credit in the best possible shape before you move you should start now. Get your free credit reportOpens in a new tab. and start working on improving your credit.

Pay Rent Upfront

Handful of Hundred Dollar Bills

If you have some money saved up you can also offer to pay for a few months of rent in advance. That will give you some time to find a job in the city where you want to move and start saving money.

Not all landlords are willing to let you pay for several months of rent upfront. And some may require that you pay a whole year upfront if you want to pay upfront, which may be more cash than you have on hand.

In general, a landlord is probably going to want 4-6 months of rent upfront if they are willing to rent to you when you don’t have a job. Make sure to get paperwork documenting when you paid, how much you paid and how much rent that it covers.

Pay Larger Deposits

A slightly less expensive option than paying for months of rent upfront would be offering to pay larger deposits on an apartment.

If you find an experienced landlord or a management company that has dealt with many different kinds of renters they may be open to this arrangement. Experienced rental managers and landlords would accept a larger deposit knowing that the extra deposit money would cover their costs if they had to evict you for non-payment.

Just make sure that you do everything necessary to get your deposit back when you move out.

Sublet An Apartment

You can bypass the issue altogether by subletting an apartment. Typically when you sublet you will need to be added to the lease or you will need to have your own lease with the landlord but if you can’t pay the rent or don’t pay the rent the original renter is still responsible for the cost of the apartment.

Subletting is a smart way to experience living in a new city and be sure that you want to stay there long-term before committing to an apartment lease.

Typically sublets last for 1-6 months which is plenty of time to get a job in a new city and get settled before finding your own place. Most sublets are also furnished which means you wouldn’t need to bring furniture and other items with you when you move.

Get A Roommate

Get a Roommate

Moving in with a roommate is similar in a way to subletting. Even though you would need to have your own lease with the landlord or be added to the existing lease you’d have someone else to share the financial responsibility of the apartment.

And your share of the expenses would be lower than the cost of renting a place on your own.

Don’t Defer Your Dreams

There are many ways that you can rent an apartment in a new city without a job in that city. Don’t put off moving to a place where you really want to be or will have more opportunities because you don’t have a job there yet. Start making plans to get the life you want.

If you found this article helpful, you may also enjoy our tips on How To Feel At Home in a New City.

Melissa M

Melissa is part of a coaching family who has packed up and moved to new cities and states more times than she'd like to count! She's learned quite about packing up her life in a short period of time and is excited to share some of the things she's learned with others.

Recent Posts