It’s understandable to be concerned about your ability to find a place to live after filing for bankruptcy. After all, a bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven years.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to boost your chances of renting. One of the biggest is being upfront about your bankruptcy case.
Avoid Applying to Apartment Complexes Owned by Large Property Management Companies
One of the best ways to find an apartment that fits your budget is to avoid the big box complexes. These are often run by banks and large corporations, and they will charge you a small fortune to submit your rental application. This can be a hefty sum of money and it is only worth it if you plan to stay long term, which is not likely with a bankruptcy on your credit report.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an affordable home or apartment near the city or a college, it might be time to take a closer look at some of the smaller properties owned by private owners. They may be more than willing to rent you out their apartment or house if they feel confident that you are not a problem tenant. The most important thing to remember when it comes to apartment hunting is that you must be honest with your landlord about any past or present financial issues. If you can show them that you have taken steps to fix any problems, you should be able to move in without much trouble.
Rent from Private Property Owners
During the first two years after you file for bankruptcy, it is unlikely that any private property owner will be willing to rent you an apartment. That’s because a bankruptcy filing can have an impact on your credit report and a landlord may be concerned that you could get into more debt. But as time passes, your credit score will start to improve and a landlord might be more receptive to your application if you’ve taken care of your finances responsibly in the past.
Another factor that a potential landlord might consider is your employment history. They will look at your income to determine whether you have the financial means to pay your rent. In addition, they will be interested in your employment record and your previous rental history, which can tell them a lot about how responsible you are as a tenant.
If you have a good job and no unsecured debt obligations, you can usually find a private landlord who will be more than happy to rent to you. However, you must be careful not to let your Chapter 13 case stand in the way of your housing goals.
When meeting with a private landlord, it is best to dress in clean and professional clothes. Showing up in a ragged t-shirt and jeans could give the landlord the wrong impression that you are not a responsible tenant who will take good care of the rental property.
You should also make a point of talking about your Chapter 13 case and repayment plan during your conversation with the landlord. Explaining that you are currently working on getting your debt reorganized and have a court-managed repayment plan will help to ease any concerns about your ability to afford the rent.
Once you have a good idea of the housing market, you can start searching for properties that will suit your needs. It may take some dedicated time to locate a place that you can afford, but you can usually do so by shopping around. You can also ask your Chapter 13 trustee to help you find a suitable rental property.
Be Willing to Discuss Your Chapter 13 Case and Repayment Plan with Strangers
The best way to get the ball rolling on your chapter 13 plan is to sit down with an attorney and map out a strategy that suits your particular situation. This includes determining whether you’re eligible for chapter 13 and developing a repayment plan that meets your needs while protecting your financial future.
The best part is that your lawyer is there to keep you on track and guide you through the choppy waters of bankruptcy court. If you’re struggling to make your payments on time, speak to the trustee about extending your schedule by a couple of months or more.
The best Chapter 13 plan is the one that helps you get out of debt without compromising your lifestyle or your sanity. The best way to do that is to work with your attorney to develop a realistic budget for the life of the plan, and then to put the money where it counts. It’s also wise to have your payments automatically deducted from your paycheck or your checking account, which will save you both time and money.
Pay a Larger Security Deposit
If you’ve recently filed bankruptcy and want to rent an apartment, you need to make the right impression. Landlords are more likely to listen to you if you provide proof of employment, a history of timely payments and references from people who know you as a tenant.
You may also be able to convince a landlord that you can afford to pay the rent if you offer to pay a larger security deposit. While this won’t be easy to do, it can help you stand out from other applicants and improve your chances of getting the apartment of your dreams.
The first step in negotiating your security deposit is to find out what is legally required in the state where you live. Many states have strict laws about how much a landlord can charge and how long they must keep the deposit.
For example, a landlord in New York City can’t ask you for more than one month’s rent as a security deposit. Similarly, in California, you can’t pay more than two months’ worth of rent as a security deposit.
However, you can still negotiate a smaller security deposit, especially if you have good credit and an excellent history of paying your rent on time. You can even try to find a cosigner with good credit to sign your lease, which will give you more peace of mind and increase the likelihood that the landlord will accept your rent payment.
Likewise, some landlords are willing to consider your bankruptcy if it was due to a situation beyond your control. For instance, if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness, lost your job or had a family member pass away, you can explain that you were forced to file for bankruptcy to get your finances in order.
You should always be honest with landlords about why you’re filing for bankruptcy, as this can be a positive thing for your future prospects. Explaining that you’ve had to go through this difficult time in your life will be an attractive way to convince them that you can handle a new apartment.