Housing Tip: Dealing with a Low Income

It is a challenge to find rental housing for someone with a low-income. Sometimes the rent amount will work, but the requirement to earn 2 to 3 times the amount of rent will not work. Landlords often have this requirement to make sure the renter has enough money to pay for rent, utilities, and other bills. Here are some things to try if you don’t meet the landlord’s income requirements.

Prove to the landlord that you can afford the rent!
Show the landlord the bills and commitments you currently have. You may not earn 2 times the rent, but you spend your money wisely, so you are able to afford the rent for the apartment. Also tell the landlord that paying rent is your highest financial priority each month. Finally, ask the landlord to make an exception to the income requirement because you manager your money well and can comfortably make the rent payments.

Make sure to count all sources of income. What income counts?
Add up your income from employment, child support, and public assistance (welfare, food stamps, etc.) to see if you meet the landlord's requirement.

Get on a subsidized housing waiting list
Go to www.housinglink.org. Under "Rent" select "Rent=Subsidized." This will show you subsidized housing waiting lists that are currently open in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. Read the listings completely and call the property to learn how to get on the waiting list. Those who live in subsidized housing usually pay 30% to 40% of their income for rent. If you make $500 per month, that means you would pay $150 for rent.

If the landlord is not willing to make an exception to the income requirement, do not apply for the apartment or pay an application fee.


Sample renter budget

View more videos here about overcoming criminal, credit and rental history barriers in a housing search!