What Should I Do if I Can’t Find a Rental Apartment After Giving My Move-Out Notice?
Q: My landlord raised the rent too high, so I told them I wanted to end my lease. Now, I can't find any apartments to rent. What should I do?
Renting an apartment comes with a bunch of highs and lows. Although rentals are great starter homes, the housing market has made it challenging for people to even rent nowadays.
We're not going to sugarcoat this situation as that does no one any good. Facing the issue that you can't find an apartment to rent is full-on scary.
No one is alone in this situation. Many renters have been encountering this very issue lately (especially in 2022).
Here's our advice on what you could do to help find another rental apartment.
Option #1: Ask them if you can stay
The first step would be to try to rescind your move-out notice. In many cases, landlords will put rental ads for prospective tenants a few days (or sometimes hours) after receiving a rental termination letter.
If you have a nicer landlord, they may let you stay. It could even save them the trouble of finding an entirely new tenant. It's a positive outcome on both parties' sides.
This option also means that you'll be stuck with the same rent cost. We're going to break this scenario into two cases.
If you chose to move out before your lease ended...
Chances are you probably can't afford the rent in general. It would be in your best interest to find short-term lodging and continue your search. There are pros and cons to this option, so let's go over those.
- Short-term stays allow you to pay nightly and don't have a lease. You can leave whenever you want.
- This option also gives you extra time to find a rental apartment that's within your budget (and that you actually like).
- Nightly stays can be pricey over time.
- If you have a lot of furniture or belongings, you'll have to move that elsewhere. Then again into your new home. That could be a lot of work, time-consuming, and will come with extra costs.
If your lease ends and the renewal rent price is too high...
You should consider asking your landlord if you can renew your lease at the same price. Some landlords might find that unreasonable because of inflation, so you can try finding a middle ground. There are also pros and cons to this, so here they are.
- If your landlord is lenient, this would let you stay in your current home. You wouldn't have to move out or spend money on moving costs.
- This option allows you to negotiate prices so rent is more budget-friendly.
- The chances of a landlord allowing you to rescind a move-out notice and decrease the rent raise are quite low (but still worth a shot).
Option #2: Find a new apartment
Don't worry- we didn't miss the fact that the renter said they couldn't find a new place. However, we're going to go at this in a new way.
Firstly, every situation is different. You have to evaluate why you're having no luck finding a new apartment. Is it budget? Is it a lack of properties? Let's break down the different scenarios.
If you can't find an apartment you can afford...
the tough reality is that you still steer your search to a more affordable neighborhood. Expanding your search by a few blocks can result in a significant rent price difference.
Consider moving to the suburbs or residential areas if you don't need to commute or have a car. Some areas have rent prices up to $500 more in the city core vs. suburbs!
You may have to sacrifice space or unit size to get lower rent prices. You can always downgrade for a much smaller (more compact) unit if you want to live alone. A building with fewer amenities will also drive rent costs down.
On the other side of the spectrum, you should consider moving into a larger unit with multiple rooms. But, you know what it means. You'll have to get roommates.
Living with others will also significantly decrease your share of the rent. Just remember, you'll be sharing all common areas, chores, and lifestyles with your housing mates.
Here are a few other options worth mentioning.
- Move-in with family or friends.
- Get another job that will supplement your income.
- Find an apartment that will give you cash back. It'll decrease the overall rent price over time.
- Working with an apartment locator to help you find the right home... for free!
If you can't find an apartment because rental listings are scarce...
Our biggest tip would be to ramp up your searching methods. Start by looking on major rental websites.
Don't forget social media platforms! Facebook Marketplace, Facebook groups, Reddit, and even Quora can be helpful in your search.
Many renters get lucky when they put out their requests or inquiries on these forums. You'll often find that individual people have property recommendations (that you might not have found otherwise).
If you can't find a rental unit because landlords are denying your rental application...
It's time to take a hard look at why you're getting denied. A respectable landlord will tell you why your rental application didn't get apartment approval.
Many renters with past issues on their record- criminal, rental, or financial- find it hard to get rental approval. In this case, we'd recommend co-signing, subletting someone's unit, or renting privately.
There's always the flip side of that coin. Maybe you're having no luck because the market is competitive, and other candidates are getting picked over you. Someone with a higher income or better references could get their application approved over yours.
Finding a cosigner is a good short-term solution. A long-term fix would be to work at your credit score or get more reliable references.
Key tip #1
We realize that this is a "could've, would've, should've" tip, but it's still worth mentioning. You should never give a move-out notice if you don't have a place lined up.
The rental market is as hectic as ever in the US. Competition and prices are at an all-time high. It's never safe to assume that you'll easily find a rental unit. Some renters spend weeks, or even months, looking for a home. It's always better to be safe than sorry!
Key tip #2
All these solutions depend on the fact that you gave a 30-day written move-out notice. If you spoke to your landlord about moving out, that's not a valid notice. You'll be able to go back on your word in this case.
Check your lease to find the exact way you should be giving your move-out notice. Different landlords will ask for different things, so use your lease as a reference point!
We at Lighthouse are aiming to make the rental market more accessible for people from all walks of life! We're tackling this with our cash back program. Sign a new lease to get cash back on your rent.