How to show proof of income without pay stubs

Q: I’m a retiree with no income but ample cash, and wondering how someone without a traditional source of income can qualify for an apar...


Q: I’m a retiree with no income but ample cash, and wondering how someone without a traditional source of income can qualify for an apartment when landlords generally require tenants to prove they earn 40 times the rent monthly. I have to believe that mine is not an uncommon situation. What other ways can I prove to a future landlord that I can pay the rent?

A: Landlords have enormous discretion when choosing tenants, as long as they don’t discriminate. In a competitive rental market like this, tenants with non-traditional assets — including retirees, recent graduates, students, and the self-employed — are at a disadvantage simply because the vetting process is more competitive.

The open days are full and bidding wars are rampant. Some would-be tenants are even bribing brokers and landlords with Gucci discounts, tickets to shows and French cheese, according to Brick Underground. If your application features non-traditional assets and income streams, an owner can simply move on to the next name on the list.

“In a market like this, if you don’t have active income, you’re at a serious disadvantage,” said Keyan Sanaisalesman at Douglas Elliman.


So how do you compete? Come prepared. Bring proof that you can pay the rent. Show proof of income from a pension, 401(k), Social Security, dividends, or savings. You might also consider hire a guarantor, a person who can guarantee the payment of your lease. A qualified guarantor often has to earn 80 times the monthly rent and would be liable if you don’t pay. You can also pay an institutional guarantor, using a service like Insured Where Guarantors. These companies charge a fee, between 35 and 110 percent of the monthly rent, to secure a lease. (You would pay this fee in addition to the application fee and brokerage fee.)

Either way, you’ll still need to find a landlord willing to consider a somewhat complicated request. “You have to find an owner who is willing to take a risk, even if on paper the person shows no risk,” Mr Sanai said. “Even if you have an 800 and half a million dollar credit score on the account, it’s still a risk.”

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