Rent Calculator

How Much Rent Can I Afford?

Use the rent calculator below to estimate the affordable monthly rental spending amount based on income and debt level.

Your Annual Pre-Tax Income /Year
Your Monthly Recurring Debt Car/Student Loan, Credit Cards, etc


RelatedRent vs. Buy Calculator | Income Tax Calculator | Budget Calculator


What is Rent?

For this calculator, rent is the act of paying a landlord for the use of a residential property. Used as a noun, it can also refer to the actual payment for the temporary use of a residential property. There can be other definitions of rent, such as economic rent, but they are used in other contexts for other purposes.

Although the terms "rent" and "lease" are often used interchangeably, their actual definitions differ; a lease is a contract signed in order to rent a residential property, which formally defines how much the tenant pays, the length of the rent, and all the rules the landlord and tenant agree to follow in their rental relationship. For more information about or to do calculations involving leases, please visit the Lease Calculator. For more information about or to do calculations involving rental properties from the perspective of a landlord, please visit the Rental Property Calculator.

The Renting Process

It can be easy or terribly difficult to find a place to rent depending on many factors, one of which is location. Rural areas tend to be easier; many times, it's as simple as driving around searching for "For Rent" signs or an apartment complex. Then, just schedule a viewing or simply ring the doorbell of the leasing office. On the other hand, in or near some major metropolitan areas, rentals can be scarce due to factors like population density or local policy. In such situations, finding a vacant place takes a lot of hard work. Renters have to scan the Internet listing sites often or pay an agency to do the search. Once a place becomes vacant, the renters may have to race to view it, and then, if it's practicable, put in an application right away. When paying a third-party real estate agent to help find the right place, depending on how competitive the market is, either the landlord or the renter pays the agent's fee, which usually amounts to one month's rent.

Once a property is decided on, the renter normally needs to submit a rental application. Not only does it involve basic information about the renter such as name, current address, driver's license, pet ownership, and personal references, but it may include financial information such as income, and debt level. The landlord normally will also check the background of the renter, including credit reports, criminal report, and eviction history. Once approved, the renter and the landlord need to agree on rent payments, the rental period, and many other terms. A lease will then be drafted of the agreed upon terms. Once signed by both parties, the lease will act as a legal contract between the landlord and the tenant. After this step is complete, the new tenant can then move into the residential property at the tenancy start date.

Rent vs. Buy

It is uncommon for people to become a homeowner without renting first. Sooner or later, renters may reach a point where they are faced with the decision of continuing to rent or choosing to buy instead. Use the Buy vs. Rent Calculator to evaluate whether buying vs. renting will save more money long term. Also, the House Affordability Calculator or Mortgage Calculator can then help determine an affordable home and subsequent monthly mortgage payment.

Important Considerations When Renting

One of the most important factors regarding rent is the actual rent amount and whether or not it is affordable; there are many methods for determining what is considered affordable rent, and the calculator is simply one method that may help. Affordable is a relative term and carries a different meaning for different people. Some people think a front-end debt-to-income ratio of 25% is considered affordable, while others might think 33% of income is affordable. For more information about or to do calculations involving debt-to-income ratios, please visit the Debt-to-Income Ratio Calculator. Other considerations regarding rent generally include:

Ways to Reduce the Amount Spent on Rent

Many renters in the U.S. struggle to afford their monthly rent. It is possible to decrease the cost of rent in many ways concerning many different situations.

Practical Renting Pointers