Many landlords and property management companies are wary of renting to self-employed individuals. This is especially true in NYC where the rental market is extremely competitive.
A big part of that fear is landlords not knowing if you’ll be able to pay your rent in a timely manner. If you’re self employed, it’s even more important to show a stable income stream and financial solvency.
1. Show Proof of Income
Regardless of your employment status, the ability to show proof of income is important when renting an apartment. It helps property managers verify that a potential renter can afford the monthly charge of the apartment in question and ensures they will be able to pay the rent on time and in full.
For self-employed applicants, a recent pay stub or tax return is a great way to prove that they have a reliable source of income. This is especially important if the self-employed person earns their income through dividends or other investments.
If you are a freelancer or work for multiple employers, a letter from your employer can also serve as an income verification document. This reassures the landlord that your position is not one-off or seasonal, but instead, an ongoing employment relationship that will continue to pay you in the future.
You may also want to include any bonuses and incentive payments as part of your income verification. Depending on the amount of these payments, they can represent a significant portion of your income.
Those who receive regular court-ordered payments like alimony and child support can provide a copy of their award letters from the courts as proof of their income. It’s also helpful if an applicant is currently unemployed, as they can use unemployment checks to prove their income.
In addition to these traditional sources of income, you can show a variety of documents to help landlords verify your ability to make payments. These can be a combination of bank statements, income statements and tax returns.
The IRS offers an online tax filing service where you can download your past tax returns and print them out to show the property manager as evidence of your income. These are the most accurate and official forms of income verification, but they do take a bit of work to complete.
You may also choose to bring a small amount of cash with you when applying for an apartment being self employed. This is a common practice, as it shows landlords that you are serious about the apartment and will be able to afford it.
2. Have Someone Co-Sign On Your Lease
Getting someone to co-sign on your lease can be an excellent option if you’re self employed. This will give your landlord some added security, and make them more likely to rent to you.
The first step to finding a co-signer is to make a list of people who could help you. These may include friends or family members who have a stable job, an income and good credit score.
Once you’ve made your list, ask each person if they are willing to co-sign on your lease. Explain your situation and why you need the co-signer.
If you’re a self-employed person, it can be difficult to prove your earnings to a lender or landlord. If you can provide them with bank statements, your last two years of tax returns or even a number of orders, they’ll be more willing to consider you as a potential tenant.
A co-signer can also help if you have poor credit or no rental history. Landlords want to see that you have the ability to pay your rent and cover any repairs or damages incurred on the property.
Another benefit of having a co-signer is that it can help you get a better interest rate. This is because lenders will be less risky with you as a co-signer, according to You Check Credit.
You can also use the co-signer to help you obtain a larger security deposit from your landlord. The security deposit will help you recoup any losses that may occur due to late payments, damages or other reasons.
Ultimately, however, you’re still responsible for making your monthly payments and keeping your apartment in good condition. If you do not, your co-signer will be held liable for any financial penalties that result.
When looking for a co-signer, it’s important to find someone who will be honest with you and who has a steady job and an income that matches yours. Your co-signer should be able to show you proof of their employment and income, such as pay stubs. If possible, you should ask them for three months of bank statements.
3. Avoid Large Complexes
One of the best ways to score the perfect apartment is to avoid the large complexes occupied by national property management companies. These are prone to stiff competition and will be a little less hospitable when it comes to your wallet. On the flip side, smaller duplexes and triplexes are often more likely to offer a lower rate on your lease than their corporate counterparts. It’s also likely that your landlord will be more likely to be able to answer your questions on a regular basis.
4. Look for Independent Landlords
When you are looking for an apartment to rent being self employed, it is best to avoid large complexes and look for independent landlords. These landlords are likely to be more understanding and flexible when it comes to things like rental prices, lease terms, and pet policies. This is because they don’t have to worry about employee salaries, marketing costs, and maintenance.
Another way to help yourself out is to have someone co-sign your lease. This person can prove your income and reassure the landlord that you are responsible enough to pay your rent. You can have them sign a letter of commitment alongside your name, or show your bank statements. This will give you and the landlord some extra security and make them more likely to approve your application.
Lastly, you can always try to find a smaller apartment, such as a duplex, triplex, or single-unit complex. This is usually much easier to get through because you can speak directly to the landlord and show them your living history, current work, and why you want to live in their apartment.
You can also ask for a guarantor to cover you in case of emergencies or financial difficulties, especially if your credit isn’t great. Having this person sign the lease agreement with you will give your landlord some reassurance that you’ll be able to pay your rent. This will help you secure an apartment and may even lead to some additional discounts in the future. In addition, it’s always a good idea to be honest with your landlord about your income and responsibilities as a self-employed individual so that you can avoid any problems in the future.