3X Rent Rule: What is it and How to Use it

3X Rent Rule

As a general rule of thumb, most landlords recommend that their tenants’ monthly income should be at least three times the amount of rent they are paying. While this number can differ depending on the landlord, location, and type of property, the 3x rent rule is a good starting point for beginning your search for a new place.

For example, if you are looking at apartments that cost $1,000 per month in rent, then you should ideally have an annual income of at least $36,000 or $3,000 per month. This number gives you a little bit of breathing room in case of unexpected expenses or financial setbacks.

How to Calculate Your Monthly Income

To calculate your monthly income, you will want to take your yearly salary and divide it by 12. For example, if you make $50,000 per year, then your monthly income would be $4,167.

If you are self-employed or do not have a traditional job with consistent paychecks, then things can get a little bit trickier. In this case, you will want to take an average of your monthly earnings over the past year to get a good estimate of what your monthly income will be moving forward.

What If My Income is Less Than 3X the Rent?

If your income is less than 3x the rent amount, there are a few things that you can do in order to qualify for an apartment:

  • Get a roommate: Roommates are a great way to split the cost of rent and other expenses while still living in the apartment or home of your choice.
  • Provide documentation: If you have proof that you will be receiving a raise or promotion in the near future, then some landlords may be willing to accept your current income as long as you provide documentation.
  • Search for cheaper options: If your ideal apartment is out of your budget, then look for cheaper options in other locations or with different amenities. It may not be exactly what you wanted but it could still work well for your needs.
  • Look for government assistance programs: There are many government assistance programs available that can help low-income individuals and families afford housing.


The 3x rent rule is a guideline that landlords often use to determine whether or not someone can afford their rental property. The rule states that an individual’s monthly income should be at least three times the amount of rent they are paying. This number can differ depending on the landlord and location but it is a good place to start when searching for a new place to live. If your income is less than 3x the amount of rent, there are still options available to help you qualify such as roommates or government assistance programs.