Can I Rent an Apartment After Filing for Bankruptcy?
If you are thinking of filing for a consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you probably have a lot of questions. One of the most important for many people is whether or not they will be able to rent an apartment after filing for bankruptcy.
The reality is that it is often (though not always) more difficult to rent after bankruptcy. After all, the bankruptcy may stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years. But it is certainly not impossible and in some cases may even be easier than it would have been before your bankruptcy. This is because you may be able to show your landlord that you now have much more available income than before the bankruptcy. Also, many would prefer to see a bankruptcy on your credit report than a series of collection actions against you.
You will be able to find a place, but it will be a lot easier if you keep the following information in mind.
What Your Landlord Will Consider
Most landlords will consider a number of factors before deciding whether to rent to you. The importance of each varies according to your landlord, but they include
- Your current credit score including the indication you filed for bankruptcy
- Your credit history. In other words, they might consider that you paid bills on time before being pushed into bankruptcy by something catastrophic such as medical bills
- The timeliness of your rental payments in the past
- Whether or not you have steady employment
- Available income
- Date when you filed for bankruptcy or received a bankruptcy discharge
How Long Do I Have to Wait to Rent an Apartment After Filing for Bankruptcy?
The worst time to try to rent an apartment is while you are actually going through bankruptcy. Your debts have not yet been dismissed, your status is still in flux, and few landlords are going to want to rent to you. They may not even understand that debts you are legally obligated to pay debts you acquire after the date you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
As time passes, the date you filed for bankruptcy becomes less important. The first two years are probably going to be tough to rent an apartment though, and the first three months even tougher until you get your discharge and your finances become more stable.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make renting an apartment much easier.
Consider Renting Before Filing for Bankruptcy
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and know you will want to move soon, you should assume the worst-case scenario that you will be much more limited in your rental choices.
Therefore, if you are planning to move to a new apartment, you may want to try to rent one before you file for bankruptcy. If you rent an apartment before filing, there is no bankruptcy to show up on your credit score. Other negative marks that led up to the bankruptcy will be apparent, but it still may be easier to rent. And once you’ve signed the lease, filing bankruptcy will have no impact on your rental.
Renting from Individuals Is Usually Easier
It’s often easier to rent an apartment after filing for bankruptcy if you rent from an individual who owns a small multi-unit building or a house r rather than from an apartment management company. An individual landlord is much more likely to be influenced by how you present yourself and your overall situation than a management company that may be inflexible about your credit score.
You may find that you’ll have better luck dealing with an individual landlord as opposed to a large complex or management company. A management company will most likely look only at your credit report and not consider your situation. An individual landlord is more likely to take into consideration things like your current employment, past rental history and your personal presentation. If an individual landlord likes you, sometimes they won’t even run a credit report. And if they do, they are more likely to be influenced by additional factors. Which leads us to the next tip.
Present a Respectable Image
Landlords are often greatly influenced by how you present yourself. Landlords want a tenant who pays, takes care of the property and doesn’t cause trouble such as blaring music at all hours of the night and disturbing other tenants. It matters what you wear and how you communicate.
When you talk to the landlord, you have an opportunity to explain your financial situation and why you will be a good tenant. Showing proof that you paid your rent on time for years may go a long way as will references from previous landlords.
Consider Getting a Real Estate Agent
You may want to get a real estate agent whose services include finding apartments for people. They may already know of places where you will have an easier time renting.
Call Us for a Free Bankruptcy Consultation
We know that filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy causes most people a lot of anxiety. We understand that you need to know what you are getting into, and we are happy to answer all your questions including ones you may have about renting an apartment after filing for bankruptcy.
If you are considering bankruptcy or would like to know about alternative options, call us for a free consultation with an experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyer. We can help you ease your mind and take back control.
Contact us at Ziegler Diamond Law: Debt Fighters for a free consultation by submitting this form. Or just call us directly at (727) 538-4188 in Clearwater, (813) 225-3c111 in Tampa or (352) 600-1326 in Mt. Dora.