If you’re looking for an apartment without a job, then you’re probably running into some trouble. The unfortunate fact about apartment-hunting is that if you don’t have an immediately obvious, reliable source of income, your chance of being approved for an apartment is significantly lower. These rigid rental guidelines can make it difficult to find an apartment if you have an unusual source of income — such as being a freelancer or making your money online — and impossible if you have nothing you can call a ‘job’ at all. Fortunately, landlords are people too, so it is possible to find one who is willing to deal with you; you just have to be ready to make a few gestures to show good faith.
Offer a Deposit
One of the ways you can prove that you’ll get money is by showing that you have money. If you put two months’ rent down — above and beyond your security deposit — you can often convince a landlord to sign you up, knowing that you’ve got, at the minimum, a couple of months to get your income in line. Just be willing to show him where you got the money; some landlords are very leery of too much cash coming from someone with no visible job because it makes them think you might be into some kind of illegal activity.
Be Incredibly Credible
Landlords are looking for signs that you’re a legitimate person with a legitimate reason to get an apartment and a reasonable chance at getting your employment situation resolved quickly. Bringing in references from former landlords or employers, having an excellent credit rating, offering a co-signer with proven resources, and offering to pay for rent insurance (a very different beast than renter’s insurance) for the first few months are all excellent ways of showing your credibility off to a doubtful landlord.
Avoid Subsidized Housing
The problem with subsidized housing is the same no matter where you are: the waitlists are insanely long. Finding one that’s measured in months rather than years is a stroke of brilliant luck. But more importantly, there’s another strong reason to want to avoid this option; when you do get re-employed, the chances are quite good that you’ll blow past the income limits of whatever subsidized housing you chose and be forced to move again.