Can You Collect Unemployment and Have Rental Property?


Some people collect rents or otherwise manage rental property to supplement their income while working. If they lose their jobs, they may still qualify for unemployment if they don't earn a living from collecting rent or spend a lot of time managing rental property. State laws vary regarding unemployment and rental property, so check with your state unemployment office if you collect rent while unemployed.

Factors Affecting Unemployment

  • Owning or managing rental property does not automatically disqualify you from unemployment. However, if you spend the majority of your time managing your rental property, the unemployment office may consider you self-employed as an apartment manager or owner. In this case, you would not be eligible for unemployment because you are self-employed rather than unemployed. In some cases, you can get partial unemployment if you are self-employed on a part time basis.

Opening a Business

  • If you open a business to take care of your rental property, you most likely will get reduced unemployment or no unemployment at all. Most states require you to be available for full time work to qualify for unemployment. If you open a business, you will likely be spending time working on the business, and the unemployment office will probably conclude that you are not available for full time work.

Self-Employment Assistance Program

  • If you are considering becoming self-employed as a landlord, some states, such as New York, will allow you to join a self-employed assistance program rather than applying for regular unemployment. This type of program allows you to collect unemployment benefits while establishing your own business after losing your job. You are not eligible for this program if you already have your own business at the time you lose your job.

Rent Amount

  • The amount of rent you collect may affect your eligibility for unemployment. If you collect enough rent to pay your basic living expenses, the unemployment office may consider you self-employed even if you have no other involvement managing the rental property. However, if you do not make a living from your rental property and do not spend most of your time attending to it, you may qualify for unemployment even if you collect rent.


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