Living in a dorm is usually considered part of the college experience, but the majority of students actually don’t live on campus in residence halls. It’s easy to understand why many students opt to live off-campus — dorms are often small and cramped and incredibly expensive.
However, finding an off-campus apartment as a college student can be difficult. If you don’t have a substantial income, many landlords won’t approve you for a lease. Luckily, there are ways to successfully find a place.
How to get an apartment as a student? Here’s 5 ways
Most landlords and rental companies have strict income requirements. As a student, you might have a small or even nonexistent income. Student loans might be the only source of money you have access to. If that’s the case, it’s important to know that there are ways to rent an apartment with your student loan funds. Here are five tips:
If you apply to rent an apartment through a large complex, you’ll have to deal with a property management company. Such organizations tend to have strict rules regarding who qualifies for a unit. Many landlords and property management companies require your monthly income to be at least three times the rent.
In some cases, you’ll have better luck renting from an individual than from a company. Private landlords likely will be more understanding of your situation as a student and be more willing to work with you as a result. They also tend to have more relaxed guidelines and might not require a minimum income or a credit check.
If you can’t qualify for an apartment on your own, another option to consider is asking a friend or relative to act as a cosigner on the lease. Unlike a roommate, who is on the lease and lives with you, a cosigner guarantees the lease but doesn’t move into the unit.
If you fall behind on your rent payments, the cosigner is responsible for making them instead. Because there’s a guarantee the rent will be paid, landlords are more willing to approve your apartment application if you have a cosigner.
However, make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons of this approach. If you can’t afford the payments and your cosigner has to make them, your relationship could be damaged.
Some landlords are more flexible with their income requirements than others. In some cases, they might be willing to approve your application if you pay more upfront by putting down a larger security deposit or paying first and last month’s rent.
If you have student loans, you can use that money to make a larger upfront payment and potentially bypass the landlord’s usual requirements. But make sure you create a budget for all your education expenses first. Using too much of your student loans for housing could leave you short for your tuition bill.
Many people lease apartments in their name and then look for a roommate as a way to reduce costs. Finding a roommate who already has a home can be a great option for students in need of housing. You can move into an apartment you couldn’t otherwise afford and split the expenses with another person.
Subletting occurs when a tenant rents out the property that’s being leased to them to another person. If you sublet someone’s apartment, you make payments directly to the original lessee, not to the landlord.
For students, subletting can be a smart choice. People who sublet their apartments are often more flexible than traditional landlords when it comes to income requirements. And subleases are usually for less than 12 months, so they might be more compatible with the school year.
If you decide to go this route, make sure you and the original lessee abide by the terms of the original lease. Some landlords don’t allow subletting. If you rent the apartment anyway and the landlord finds out, you could face immediate eviction. Creating a subletting contract can protect both you and the lessee.
Why living off-campus can be a smart choice
Although living in a dorm can be convenient, it also can be expensive. According to The College Board, the average cost of room and board at a public, four-year, in-state institution is $11,510 per year.
Over the course of four years, living in a dorm can add over $46,000 to your total cost of attendance. You might have to take out more federal or private student loans to cover it.
Renting an off-campus apartment, skipping your school’s meal plan and cooking your own meals can be effective ways to cut your education costs. Although it can be hard to get approved for a lease on your own, using these tips will help you score the perfect place.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2021!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|5.99% – 18.85%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|7.86% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.94% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|99.00% – 199.00%2||$500 - $4,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%3||$5,000 - $40,000|
|7.99% – 29.99%4||$7,500 - $40,000|
|7.99% – 20.88%5||$5,000 - $50,000|
|9.99% – 35.99%6||$2,000 - $36,500|
|10.68% – 35.89%7||$1,000 - $40,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi. |
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.
Direct Deposit required for payroll.
Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.
3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
4 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
5 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
6 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
7 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.
Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s lending partners. Information on Upgrade’s lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.