So– You’re looking for an apartment but you have bad credit and no income…

If you have spent any amount of time researching New York City renter requirements, then you know that landlords hold prospective tenants to a very high bar in terms of their credit score and gross annual income.

Unless you have already secured a high paying job, and have built up an outstanding credit score over the years, you may be wondering – how will I ever qualify for an apartment in NYC?

Well, don’t worry.  There are several options for people that cannot meet landlord rental requirements.  In fact, thousands of people with limited credit history and scant income find housing in NYC every year.

Let’s take a look at some of ways that they do it.

Solution 1 – Find an established household to join as a roommate

Living with roommates has many advantages.  Perhaps the most important advantage for people who cannot qualify for an apartment on their own is that one is not typically held to the same high bar in terms of credit / income requirements.  If you like living with others, this could be the solution to your housing dilemma.

This solution is ideal for:

  • Those who enjoy a shared living environment
  • People who cannot afford to rent on their own yet
  • Those who want to live in a desirable neighborhood without paying a fortune to do so

Read more about living with roommates here:

Solution 2 – Use a Guarantor ( Co-signer)

Using a guarantor, or co-signer can be a great way to qualify for an apartment.  However, in reality this option is not available to most people who come to NYC.  Most landlords have even steeper requirements for guarantors than they do for tenants.

For example, many landlords require that guarantors earn an annual gross income in excess of 80x monthly rent!  Additionally, guarantors are usually required to live in the NYC area.  These two factors make it difficult for most people to find someone who can act as a guarantor on their behalf.

This solution is ideal for:

  • Those with a gainfully employed relative living in or around NYC that will act as a co-signer
  • Those that do not want to join an established household as a roommate
  • Students

Read more about using a co-signer / guarantor here:

Solution 3 – Use an institutional Guarantor

Using an institutional guarantor is a great way to overcome landlord rental requirements for a large variety of people.  An institutional guarantor is an organization that will act as a co-signer on your behalf in exchange for a fee (typically around one month’s rent- depending on circumstances).

Institutional guarantors require much lower minimum levels of income and credit scores, enabling people who could not otherwise qualify to rent an apartment.  This method is particularly popular with international people who do not have a US credit score, but may have a substantial income.

This solution is ideal for:

  • People moving to NYC from aboard that do not have a US credit score
  • People who want to have their own apartment but do not have a local relative that can act as a co-signer
  • People who are self-employed or who have multiple sources of income that have difficulty proving their gross annual income

Read more about using a co-signer / guarantor here:

Hopefully, you now have a plan to track down housing in NYC!