Can you get an apartment if you just got a job? [Answered]

You found your dream job, moved to a new city and now everylandord is rejecting your rental applications. Don’t worry, landlords want to make sure that their tenants meet the apartment’s income requirements and will be able to afford the rent every month, and having a long time job isn’t the only way to prove it.

In this article we will explain all the options you have to win your landlord’s heart and get that dream apartment. But first, let’s start with the basics.

Can you get an apartment if you just got a job?

Yes, you shouldn’t have problems renting an apartment with a new job. In most of the cases, showing your “hire letter” along with your company’s contact information should be enough, but some landlords might not find this enough and will ask for more documents as a proof of income such as bank statements, credit scores or showing unusual income.

How to get an apartment with a new job

If the landlord of the apartment you want to rent doesn’t find enough your new hire letter you still have some options to move forward, let’s check them out:

1. Make sure your new salary will be more than 3 times the rent

As we explain in this article, most landlords require renters to earn at least three times the cost of the apartment they are trying to rent so they can guarantee that the tenant will be capable of paying every month during the extension of the lease.

While there are some apartments that can let you get aways with this rule or even require only 2.5x times the rent, it will be much easier for you to rent an apartment with a new job if you look after places within that price range. 

2. Ask your new employer to write a letter for you

This is a simple yet effective option when trying to rent an apartment under a new job. A letter from your new employer can help the landlord see that your new job is legit and that the company is planning to work with you in the long term. 

When asking your employer to write a letter for you we recommend you to keep in mind the following:

  • Make sure that the letter has the logo of the company and has the name and contact information of the person who signs it.
  • The letter doesn’t need to be signed by your direct boss, it is ok if, for example, Human Resources takes care of this task.
  • Make sure that the letter has the correct date on it.
  • Avoid using phrases like “to whom it might concern”, instead ask your employer to address the letter directly to your landlord, using his full name. This will allow the landlord to confirm that the letter is legit and not one that you made before and are now trying to reuse. 
  • Ask your landlord whether he wants the company to deliver the letter directly to him or if you can act as an intermediary. 
  • Before asking your employer to write the letter, check with your landlord if there is any particular information he would like the letter to mention.

3. Present reference letters from old employers and landlords

Similar to asking the managers at your new job to write a letter, presenting reference letters from past relationships can also help you to prove that you are a serious person that can be trusted. 

If a former landlord can write a letter for you, make sure he mentions that you always paid your rent on time and left the apartment without any destruction of it. It goes without saying that if you weren’t a good tenant in the past it is best to avoid contacting your old landlord. 

In the case of a letter written by your past employer, make sure that he states your old salary and any other quality about you that shows your compromise with your duty. 

In both cases, it is always best if the letters include contact information so the landlord can pick up the phone if he has any questions about you.

4. Make sure you have a good credit score

It is very usual for landlords to verify the credit score of their potential tenants, that is why it is so important that you maintain a good one. There are several websites where you can learn more about how to improve your credit score such as NerdWallet or even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Official Website, but we have summarized some of the most common tips below: 

  • Always pay your loans (and bills!) on time: if you have student debt or took a loan in the past it is really important that you pay it on time every month. Automatic payments are the best way to go in order to avoid being late, but you can always set up different alarms on your digital calendars in order to remind them. 
  • Keep up old credit cards: when you close a credit card all the payment history gets removed from your report, so if you were an excellent payer that “good points” won’t count.
  • Don’t use all your credit limit: experts recommend keeping your balances low and avoid using more than 30% of your credit limit, so if you have multiple credit cards you might want to use all of them instead of doing all your purchases through one.
  • Create the habit of checking your credit report: mistakes are often made so if you detect an error that can harm your credit score you have the right to dispute them.
  • Report a missing card right away: if for any reason you lose sight of one of your credit cards you should immediately report it with your bank, otherwise an identity thief could use it and generate debts on your behalf. 

5. Show your bank statements to your new landlord

There is some controversy around whether you should show your bank statements to your landlord or not. While for some people it might sound as a privacy invasion, others don’t have a problem sharing that information as long as it will help them land their dream apartment.

We have created a detailed guide here explaining the pros and cons of showing your bank statements. However, long story short, we believe that there is no harm for you in doing this so it is an excellent option to prove to your landlord that you have savings that can act as a backup in case something goes wrong with your new job.

6. Ask a friend or family member to be your co-signer

A co-signer is a person, often a family member or a close friend, who signs the apartment lease with you and is responsible in case you can’t pay the rent anymore. There is no explicit requirement about who can be your co-signer but in order to be useful for the landlord, this person must have a good credit score and a high salary (you guessed, at least 3 times the rent). We’ve written an in depth article answering the question: can my parents sign a lease for me?

We recommend you to check our guide about renting with a guarantor that explains who can be a guarantor among other frequently asked questions.

7. Considering hiring a lease guarantor service

A lease guarantor service works the same as a family co-signer with the difference that a company is the one that is having your back, and of course you will have to pay for it. There are different companies and most of them don’t cover all the states so you should do your proper research according to where you are planning to move to. 

If you don’t know where to start, we recommend you to contact Liberty Rent, Leap Easy and Insurent, as those are some of the most trusted among renters. 

8. Take advantage of other types of income

Childsupport, alimony or tax refunds count as unusual income and constitute part of your monthly salary so don’t forget to show your landlord the court-ordered agreement that confirms such income. 

Also, if you have been doing freelancing gigs from time to time, a good way to improve your renters profile is to present the Form 1099-MISC for miscellaneous income which is basically a tax form for royalties, prizes and other income payments.

8. Sublet an apartment instead of signing a new lease

A sublet apartment presents a more flexible option for people looking to rent a place. In this case, you are not renting directly from a landlord, instead you rent from a tenant that has already signed the initial lease agreement with him.

This is a great option not only if you want to move during the start of your new job but also if you are moving to a new city. Sublets often can be rented for a short period of time (for example 4 months or event month to month) which means that you can try to see how you feel about your new city and the neighborhood before setting down for a more important commitment.

9. Get a room in an apartment with a signed lease

Similar to subletting, if you find a room in an apartment where the original roommates have already signed the lease you won’t have to present all the rental application documents that landlords usually ask for. Instead, you will only have to convince your new roommates that you will be able to pay your share of the rent, which is usually much easier.. 

In conclusion, you can get an apartment if you just got a job but it will depend on your ability to prove the landlord that you are capable of sustaining the rent. Our biggest advice is to always approach the conversation with good manners and ask him directly what does he needs for his peace of mind.

About Chad & Rachel

Rachel and Chad have over 17 years of experience as both renters and landlords. They were tenants in 7 different apartments before becoming landlords of 9 apartments in Chicago. Renting apartments from landlords and being landlords themselves have helped them gain the knowledge that they want to share with renters. Whether you are at the beginning of your rental journey or in the middle of your lease and dealing with complex apartment issues, we are happy to help where we can. Read more about Rachel and Chad, or send a message using this contact form.

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