How to Easily Rent an Apartment in the US Without a Cosigner or a Credit History?

Updated on October 17, 2023
At a Glance: Renting an apartment in the United States can be challenging for international students who struggle to prove their financial background. However, there are alternatives to secure an apartment without extensive financial documentation. Options include making a higher deposit, providing proof of financial assistance through scholarships or parental support, finding a US guarantor or using online services like Jetty, seeking on-campus housing, networking with US nationals renting rooms, and utilizing platforms like LoftSmart to find apartments near universities. These approaches can help international students navigate the rental process and find suitable accommodations while studying in the US.

Relocating to the United States for studies comes with its own challenges. One of the more pressing issues is finding an apartment to rent, particularly for international students with no established financial background in the U.S. While you might be fiscally responsible, proving this without local financial records can be a hurdle. This blog is designed to equip you with practical tips to navigate renting an apartment in the U.S. without the need to validate your financial history.

Why Do Landlords Ask for Financial Information?

Landlords or property owners typically request financial information as part of their screening process to ensure tenants can pay their rent. This might involve presenting a cosigner or guarantor—someone who assumes responsibility for the rent should the tenant fail to meet payments. For international students, especially those lacking U.S. credit history, this poses a challenge as their usual guarantors, such as parents, are often based abroad and might not have U.S. nationality, a common prerequisite for guarantors.

Practical Solutions for International Students to Rent U.S. Apartments

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to this obstacle, making renting an apartment in the U.S. possible even without a financial background. These alternatives include:

  1. Offer a Higher Deposit
  2. Show Proof of Financial Assistance
  3. Provide Evidence of Parent’s Income
  4. Utilize Services like Jetty or a U.S. Guarantor

Below, we’ll explain how to leverage each of these options to help secure a rental. 

1. Offer a Higher Deposit

Most property owners might accept a higher security deposit instead of proof of income. This could be equivalent to an additional month or two’s rent. If rent is paid consistently, this deposit is refunded at the end of your rental agreement.

2. Show Proof of Financial Assistance

In lieu of a cosigner or a U.S. financial background, you can present proof of financial assistance. This could be scholarships, loans, or financial support from your parents in your home country. Make sure this support is properly documented for presentation to potential landlords.

3. Provide Evidence of Parent’s Income

If you don’t have a U.S. income, landlords may accept proof of your parent’s income from your home country. It’s advisable to verify whether a property owner accepts foreign income statements beforehand.

4. Utilize Services like Jetty or a U.S. Guarantor

Online guarantors like Jetty can assume the risk for your apartment for a monthly fee. Essentially, it functions like an insurance policy for apartment rentals. 

Where to Look for Apartment Rentals in the U.S.

Consider various platforms to find suitable housing. These include Facebook groups related to housing around your university, your university’s international office for housing recommendations, and services like LoftSmart that are designed to help you find apartments near your university. 

Other Options for Renting Apartments in the U.S.

Additionally, teaming up with a U.S. national for shared housing or opting for on-campus housing could simplify the renting process. Verbal agreements could be sufficient, negating the need for detailed paperwork if you establish a good rapport with potential flatmates.

Final Thoughts

We wish you the best as you embark on your U.S. educational journey. While there may be hurdles along the way, we hope this guide aids you in securing your ideal apartment without the need for an extensive U.S. financial background. If you found this article helpful, you might also want to read our Apartment Rental Tips for International Students guide.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.