According to the Colorado Renter’s Guide over half a million people who live in Colorado are renters. For some, renting is necessary until they amass funds to buy their dream home. But, for many others of all ages renting is a lifestyle choice. There are definitely numerous benefits of living in an apartment instead of a house, like not having to go through the rigorous process of applying for a loan. But some also wonder, what if I’m not yet established in Denver. Can you get an apartment without proof of income? We’re reviewing some important need-to-knows for those interested in renting and need tips for moving to Denver

can I get an apartment without proof of income

Criteria Needed to Rent

Regardless of where you decide to rent, there’s a high likelihood that your new landlord will have stipulations or requirements that you’re required to meet prior to signing a rental agreement. Criteria will vary for every landlord or property owner, but we’re providing a basic outline from Gran Inc. Below outlines rental criteria for Colorado renters:

  • Valid Identification
  • Verifiable rental history of no less than six months. This might include a written lease agreement or a month-to-month agreement.
  • Credit history that shows debt of more than $500 but under $5,000, excluding medical or student loans or a discharged bankruptcy older than two years where there is no derogatory credit following discharge date.
  • Employment history of at least three months with the current or previous employer.
  • Monthly income at least 2½ times the monthly rental amount.
  • Criminal history with no felony or misdemeanor charges. Criminal history must be disclosed on the rental application.

Can You Get an Apartment without Proof of Income?

The following may be grounds for denial according to Avail: insufficient income i.e., less than two and half times the monthly rent. Ideally, the prospective tenant’s monthly income should be three times the rent. This income may include savings or financial backing. Landlords and property managers use this criteria to ensure that tenants have some safety net to cover rent if something unexpected happens, particularly with employment status. 

However, a ZeusLiving blog points out that there are many entrepreneurs today who own businesses, do freelance work, or are engaged in short-term or temporary jobs. Such work options make it hard to provide proof of income. For them, not having proof of income isn’t proof of their inability to come up with rent money. If you’re wondering can you get an apartment without proof of income, it’s best to check with the rental property owners. 

What can you do to offset the lack of proof of income?

  1. Maintain a good credit history. Have credit cards and keep them paid up at the end of each month. If you have a mortgage, car payments, or utility bills pay these promptly.
  2. Consider having someone co-sign your lease.
  3. Produce bank statements to verify the ability to pay your rent.
  4. Look for opportunities to rent directly from an owner who may consider waiving proof of income.
  5. Be prepared to show proof of unusual income like a publisher’s book deal, worker’s compensation payment, disability payment, an inheritance, income tax rebate, alimony, money from selling a home or other property.

proof of income for denver apartments

Other Things that May Cause Renter Rejection

If you’re in the process of finding employment and would like to secure an apartment, it’s important to ensure that other criteria is met.

  • The prospective tenant smokes. This is a consideration because it may be a health hazard or irritant to other tenants. Colorado’s Real Property Management points out that smoking is a fire hazard and it is difficult to get rid of the aroma.
  • The prospective tenant has a pet and your property is a no-pet rental. Some landlords/managers may allow pets of specific sizes or breeds. The property manager may demand a rental fee or pet deposit. Service animals must be accommodated if state laws allow them. Tenants may be required to produce a letter of proof of the need for a service animal.
  • Income isn’t disclosed or verified via a W-2 or pay stub. No employer reference is provided.
  • The prospective tenant has a criminal record.
  • The prospective tenant has no rental history. This may be waived if the prospective tenant has lived in a dorm, with parents, or owned a home. If the tenant has a co-signer or sufficient income, rental history might also be waived.
  • The prospective tenant has a history of damaging property and/or being delinquent in paying rent.
  • During a check on this prospective tenant, it is discovered that he/she has lied or omitted information. This false information might involve criminal or job history, references, or income.
  • Part of the rental application was not completed or left blank.
  • The prospective renter refuses to authorize a tenant credit report and/or a background check.
  • The prospective tenant has a low credit score.
  • The prospective tenant has filed for bankruptcy and cannot reliably explain his past financial difficulties.
  • One or more of the references provided gave a negative review. Feedback from former landlords, employers, co-workers, and/or neighbors paint a concerning picture of this would-be tenant.
  • The prospective tenant has been evicted from a previous rental unit.
  • The prospective tenant objects to some terms like the cost of the rent, the moving-in date, the length of rental agreement, or the rental rules.

Invalid Reasons for Rejection

As outlined in the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies prospective renters cannot be rejected based on discrimination of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, family or marital status, age, handicap, or participation in any subsidy program.

How to Secure an Apartment Without a Job

Can you get an apartment without proof of income? The final answer is, it depends. There are some ways you may be able to offer a new landlord information that would be accepted in lieu of income verification. For example, according to StreetEasy, if you saved substantially for a rainy day and can’t meet the apartment’s income requirements, you could set up a credit letter with a bank. In a nutshell, it guarantees that a tenant’s rent payments will be received on time and for the correct amount. In this example, it pays to have savings regarding how to get an apartment without a job.

Find a Roommate

Having a roommate definitely comes with its downsides as well as perks. One immediate benefit of having a roommate is the lowers costs. For example, security deposits are divided, plus rate of rents and any shared utilities. As an added bonus, if you still haven’t found employment when you move to Denver, you may be able to use your roommates’ proof of income.

Pro Tip: we definitely recommend that you tour the apartment, especially if you’re considering a roommate. Check out our blog on how many square footage you should aim for each person.

getting a denver apartment without a job

Unemployment & Rental Relief

During the pandemic, it’s become increasingly difficult to maintain steady employment. As a result, many Denver residents and those living in surrounding suburbs are filing for unemployment. Technically, unemployment is considered a source of income and providing this documentation may be enough to secure your rental.

You may also consider applying for Colorado rental relief and mortgage help programs if you’re current residing in a rental and have recently been laid off, let go, or forced to file for unemployment. Discussing options directly with the landlord will always help to clarify specific questions as they surround qualifying rent.

Offer Letters Work

Still wondering, can you get an apartment without proof of income? Well, proof of income doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve already been working with a company. Often, rental property owners, landlords, apartment leasers, and property managers will accept an offer letter from your future employer provided all security deposit and fees are paid at lease signing. Here are the steps to take for obtaining a work offer letter for proof of income for a Denver apartment:

  1. Speak with your employer. If you’re moving to Denver from out-of-state, it’s important to speak with your Human Resources (HR) department with your new job. Discuss the logistics of moving to a different state and the items you’ll need to secure a place to live.
  2. It’s a good idea to provide your employer with a sample offer letter so they can match all of the criteria your future landlord will need. To do this, inquire with the leasing office or rental owners what specific information they require. It may include:
    • Start date
    • Annual Gross Income Amount
    • Contract for length of position (if applicable)
  3. When turning in your offer letter to the landlord, ensure that the information you’re providing is sufficient.

What Do Rental Companies Look for?

Rental/management companies want proof that you will be a responsible renter who pays rent punctually, doesn’t abuse the property, and doesn’t alienate other renters. They will look for red flags such as prior evictions, debts, credit problems, criminal records, and a history of unemployment.

Be prepared for both a financial and personal evaluation by the rental agency.

What to Ask before You Rent

As a prospective renter, there are several questions you should be asking. These include things like:

  • Parking protocol for yourself and guests
  • Laundry facilities in the rental unit or the building
  • Utilities like heating, cooling, water, gas, and hydro included
  • Does the building have free Wi-Fi?
  • What is the history of criminal activities like break-ins, muggings, graffiti, or vandalism in the building and the surrounding neighborhood?
  • What is the up-front cost for the first rental payment?
  • Are tenants responsible for maintenance and repair costs?
  • What are the rules about decorating or redecorating? Does the tenant need the manager’s/owner’s permission? 
  • Are pets allowed? If so, what are the restrictions? Is there a pet rental cost and/or deposit?
  • What is the understanding about uninvited persons being allowed to enter the apartment?
  • What is the number of apartment keys? Are duplicates allowed?
  • Is renewing the lease an option?
  • Is subletting or taking in others allowed?
  • What type(s) of rental payments are allowed?
  • When must the renter notify the manager/owner about intent to move out?

Urban Phenix: Denver Rental Properties

Urban Phenix has many rental properties in Denver geared to fit renters’ lifestyles and income needs. Urban Phenix aims to provide renters with luxury options combined with an affordable price. We’ve rented to many newcomers. We understand that moving to Denver is an exciting journey and we hope to provide a home on that path. 

Please contact our Denver leasing offices to inquire about available properties and criteria needed to apply and sign for your new apartment! We’d be happy to assist.