Trying to rent an apartment as a young Uber, Lyft, or Doordash driver can be quite tricky. If you’re on the younger side, you likely do not have an extensive rental history. So this means that you do not have a lot of previous landlords that you can list as references when you’re applying for rentals. Younger people also have little credit and minimal credit history.
A lot of younger people are also single, which means they are going to be the only names that the landlords look at on the application. When two people are applying for a rental property, such as a couple, their dual income often makes it easier for them to meet any specified income requirements. Doing so can be more difficult with only one income to report.
No matter where you are in the US, most landlords require some income verification and a credit check at a minimum. For the income verification aspect, landlords mainly want to see proof of a consistent and reliable income. Many property managers expect evidence that you are making two-to-three times the rental cost monthly. Many freelancers have slow months, so showing a consistent income similar to that of a W-2 employee can be difficult. While proving that you have a reliable income as a freelancer can be difficult, it usually just takes a bit more creativity and a bit more effort to meet the property owner’s rental requirements.
Gather Your Information
If possible, gather up all your old check stubs and the last several months of invoices from your previous freelancing jobs. Feel free to black-out any private customer information. Make copies of the past year’s tax returns. Print out your current monthly bank statements. If your freelancing income has slow months or is somewhat sporadic, you can show the landlord several months worth of statements rather than have them focus on one month only. Providing three months worth of bank statements is often standard practice for rental companies.
Be sure to cover-up any private and unnecessary information on the bank statement print out. If you operate a business bank account, be sure to print out a monthly statement for these accounts too. You can also print out any relevant transfers from your business bank accounts to your personal accounts as well.
The key is to stay flexible and work with the property owners to clarify all of the proof of income that you can provide. Sure you might have to get creative, but there are usually always several ways to show that you make enough money to pay the required rent. Aside from considering traditional income verification methods like showing bank statements, tax returns, and recent invoices, there are other ways that you can prove your income to rental companies.
If you do freelance work for clients in addition to driving rideshare or delivery, one thing you can do is show any recent deal memos or any signed letters from clients.
Consider An Apartment Broker
Preparing all the relevant personal financial documents and presenting them to local property management companies can take a lot of time and effort. As a freelancer with a unique situation, you may want to consider having a broker assist you. The broker will prepare all of your financial documents and put them together in an attractive presentation. Brokers will communicate with local landlords about your situation, and they will find out if all of the papers that you can provide as a freelancer will be acceptable or not. While paying for a broker can be an unexpected rental cost, they can save you lots of time and money on things like visiting tons of different properties and paying multiple rental application fees.
Even with all this extra work and creativity, some landlords will not give you the time of day simply because you don’t have a signed letter from a company that proves steady employment. At least now you know you’re not entirely out of luck if you are trying to rent an apartment or home as a freelancer. In any given area there are usually plenty of rental options available to Freelancers. Freelancers may not always be able to get every apartment or house they want. Unlike W-2 employees, Freelancers do not usually have the luxury of renting from whoever and renting wherever they want.
Perhaps the one tip that most people in the freelancing business world will tell you is that you should always try to work with private landlords first. Large property management companies usually have stricter rental requirements than private landlords. However, finding private landlords can be difficult in specific areas.
Another final thing to consider would be offering to pay for an extra month or two in advance. Landlords might feel more confident and secure renting to a freelancer who can do so. However, this involves the tenants taking a bit of a risk on the rental property. Many things can go wrong in a month, and it may be difficult to get that money back that you paid in advance if you have to move from the apartment area suddenly.