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

Updated on March 12, 2024

At a Glance

  • Renting an apartment in the United States can be challenging for international students with limited financial documentation.
  • Alternatives 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.
  • Other options involve seeking on-campus housing, networking with US nationals renting rooms, and using platforms like LoftSmart to find apartments near universities.
  • These approaches can help international students navigate the rental process and secure 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Rent an Apartment in the U.S. Without a Cosigner or Credit History?

Yes, it’s possible to rent an apartment in the U.S. without a cosigner or credit history, but it may require more effort and alternative strategies to convince landlords of your reliability.

What Strategies Can I Use to Rent Without a Cosigner or Credit History?

Strategies include offering to pay a higher security deposit, showing proof of steady income, providing references from previous landlords or employers, and looking for individual landlords rather than large property management companies.

Are There Specific Types of Apartments That Are Easier to Rent Without a Cosigner?

Privately owned apartments or rentals managed by individual landlords might be easier to rent without a cosigner, as they may be more flexible with their requirements compared to larger apartment complexes.

How Can Proof of Income Help in Renting an Apartment?

Providing proof of a stable and sufficient income can reassure landlords of your ability to pay rent on time, which is particularly important if you don’t have a credit history or a cosigner.

What Kind of References Should I Provide?

References can include former landlords, employers, or other professional or academic contacts who can vouch for your reliability, financial responsibility, and character.

Can Prepaying Rent in Advance Help Secure an Apartment?

Yes, offering to prepay several months of rent in advance can be an effective way to alleviate a landlord’s concerns about your lack of credit history or cosigner.

Are There Services That Can Help People Rent Without a Cosigner?

Yes, there are services that act as a guarantor or cosigner for a fee. These services agree to pay your rent if you fail to do so, providing landlords with additional security.

How Important Are Rental Applications and Background Checks?

Rental applications and background checks are critical components of the rental process. They allow landlords to assess your rental history, even if you don’t have a credit history. Be honest and thorough in your application.

What Documents Will I Need to Rent an Apartment?

You’ll typically need identification, proof of income (like pay stubs or a job offer letter), bank statements, and possibly letters of reference.

How Can Networking Help in Finding Apartments?

Networking can help you find rental opportunities that may not be listed publicly. Friends, family, or acquaintances might know of available apartments or landlords who are open to tenants without traditional qualifications.

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.

And don’t overlook the fact that securing the ideal loan for your needs is uncomplicated and quick. No matter what type of loan you’re seeking, a perfect match is just a few clicks away. Dive into Fiona to explore your loan options today.

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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.

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