What If I Don’t Make 3 Times The Rent? Here’re Your Options

Written By Shalini Kapoor
Reviewed by Daisy Martinez
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Our site offers educational and informational content only, not professional financial advice. Consulting a financial advisor about your particular circumstances is best.

So you have found just the right apartment or are in the middle of house hunting. But what if you don’t make 3 times the rent?

Don’t worry! While many rentals expect you to be making three times the rent to qualify as a tenant, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you to get a rental if you don’t make 3x. You can find a lot of wiggle room in the market, but how? Well, this article will help you with that.

What’s to come:

What and Why the 3x Rent Rule?

Landlords and property management companies use this rule as a screening process to ensure that potential tenants can afford the rent. Essentially, before accepting your application, they want to verify that you have a steady income that can cover the rental cost. For instance, if the rent is $800, they would expect you to earn at least $2400 per month.

While it may seem like a strict requirement, it’s essentially a security measure for landlords. They want to have peace of mind knowing that you can comfortably afford the rent and will make timely payments.

What If I Don’t Make 3 Times The Rent?

If you’re not making 3 times the rent, honestly, your options are limited. You can always try getting cosigners to help you qualify or look for cheaper shared rentals.

But if that’s not your cup of tea, there are a few other options to consider. You can offer a bigger security deposit to the landlords or provide references such as proof of employment, rental history, or a good credit check as reassurance that you can pay your rent even if you are making less than 3x the rent.

How to Get an Apartment for Rent Without Making Three Times the Rent? 6 Trusted Methods

Here’s a small guide on how to rent an apartment without making 3x the rent.

Find a Private Renter

Unlike rental companies, individual landlords may offer some flexibility and accommodation. They usually prioritize finding good tenants over rigid income requirements. So, even if you fall slightly short of the income threshold, you can convince them with good rental history or a reference.

Offer a Larger Security Deposit

While most rentals typically ask for the first and last month’s rent as a deposit, you can go the extra mile by offering more. Show them that you have money saved up for unexpected costs and that you are reliable. It will also act as insurance for the landlord if you ever default on payments.

Show Strong Rental History

Landlords care a lot about tenants’ backgrounds, so if you can prove you’re a dependable tenant who won’t skip rent or damage their property, or if you’re just an overall good person, they might let the 3x rule slide.

A good way to do that is to get a recommendation from your previous landlords or, even better, ask them to give a call to your potential landlord. With some proof, of course!

Give a Stable Employment Record

A stable 9-5 job or a solid career are sure signs that you can pay your bills on time. So, show them proof of continuous employment and regular salary deposits in your bank account. Rent landlords may be more willing to give you the rental even if you don’t make 3x the rent.

Providing Proof of Additional Income/Pay Stubs

Things can be more tricky for folks in non-traditional jobs like freelancers or gig workers. In this case, it’s key to gather as much evidence as you can.

Grab a few months’ worth of pay stubs, 1099 forms reflecting your income history, client contracts, bank statements, and any other relevant docs highlighting your earning potential. Show this information to the landlord or property owner and explain how you can afford to pay the rent.

Find a Co-signer or Guarantor

A cosigner is your roommate, who takes shared responsibility for the rent and signs the lease with you. While a guarantor can be anybody willing to take responsibility for the rent in case you fail to pay your share.

If you’re someone willing to do that for you, then this can be a great way to get an apartment. Plus points if the person signing is financially stable enough and has good credit too.

Is the 3 Times the Rent Rule Gross or Net Income?

The 3x rent rule is typically based on your gross income, which is the total money you earn from all the sources before taxes, expenses, or deductions come into play. It gives a better idea of your financial situation, and it’s actually more doable to make 3x of your rent with your gross income than your net income.

What is the 3x Rent Rule for Roommate?

With roommates, owners consider the cumulative income of all tenants, meaning you and your roommates must collectively earn at least three times the rent. So if the rent is $800, then all of you must collectively make $2400/month.

But here’s a catch; it only works when you all co-signed the lease agreement. If that’s not the case, then the one signing the agreement must make at least 3x of the rent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all apartments require 3 times the rent?

No! Not all apartments demand 3 times the rent requirement; most rental companies follow this rule. However, you can seek out private renters who may be more accommodating to your financial situation.

What is the rent-to-income ratio?

The rent-to-income ratio refers to the percentage of your income that goes towards paying rent. Typically, most rentals prefer a ratio of around 30%, which translates to earning three times the rent amount to qualify. However, you may come across rentals with lower rent-to-income ratios.

How can I work around the 3 times the rent rule?

If you’re comfortable with having a roommate, the easiest way to bypass the 3 times the rent rule is to find a trustworthy friend to share the place with and co-sign the lease together. Alternatively, if the landlord is flexible, you can negotiate by offering a larger deposit and providing solid references to prove your financial stability.

Will people refuse to rent to me if I don’t meet the 3 times the rent requirement?

Absolutely not! You just need to find the right person and effectively communicate why you would be an excellent tenant. Show them your reliability by offering references and evidence of your financial stability.

How can I negotiate with landlords if I don’t meet the 3 times the rent rule?

Landlords seek tenants who pay their rent on time and take good care of the property. To win them over, share your positive rental history and ask your previous landlords to vouch for you. Additionally, providing references and showcasing your stable employment history will help reassure landlords of your financial responsibility.

What is the income requirement for a $1500 apartment?

Following the 3 times the rent guideline, you would need to earn at least $4500 per month to qualify for a $1500 apartment. However, having a slightly lower income, such as $4000 or $3800, might still work if you can demonstrate a reliable rental history.

Wrapping Up

The “three times to income” rule is like a safety net for landlords. It helps them make sure tenants can pay the rent smoothly. But it’s also a plus thing for tenants!

You see, if you don’t earn enough and rent a pricey place, you might struggle to pay rent and mess up your credit score. So, choose your apartment wisely, considering your income. And if you don’t meet the 3x rent rule, no worries! Explore other options to find an apartment that works for you.

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Shalini Kapoor is a dedicated financial writer and editor at cashsavvytips.com. Currently pursuing her Master's in Accounting, she possesses a unique blend of academic rigor and practical insight into personal finance. Shalini is fervent about empowering individuals with actionable financial advice, grounded in her in-depth studies and natural flair for simplifying complex topics. As an editor, she ensures every piece of content meets the highest standards of accuracy and relevance. With a passion for continuous learning, Shalini is not just sharing knowledge but also constantly expanding her own, to benefit the readers of cashsavvytips.com.

Content Disclaimer: Our site offers educational and informational content only, not professional financial advice. Consulting a financial advisor about your particular circumstances is best.

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