Is it Hard to Rent an Apartment After Bankruptcy?

It can be hard to rent an apartment after bankruptcy, but there are ways to increase your chances of doing so.

Bankruptcy, a legal way to have many debts forgiven, can be your best option for getting out of debt and getting a fresh start on rebuilding your life; but having a bankruptcy on your record can make it more difficult to rent an apartment.

At the Adam Law Group, our Jacksonville bankruptcy attorneys understand what you are going through. We recognize that many hard-working and responsible people are facing difficult financial times recently, through no fault of their own; but we know that after bankruptcy you are more likely to meet financial obligations such as paying your rent on time.  The key to being able to rent an apartment is to convince your potential landlord that because you went through bankruptcy, you are now in a better position to make your payments.

By following some proven strategies, it is often possible to locate a rental property in Florida after bankruptcy. The following will review some steps that you can take after filing for bankruptcy in Florida that will greatly increase your chances of becoming an apartment renter.

How do I Rent a Place After Bankruptcy?

No matter whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the bankruptcy process creates a number of unanticipated obstacles, including finding an apartment to rent. You cannot hide the fact that you went bankrupt, as the bankruptcy filing will appear on your credit report for seven to ten years after your bankruptcy case ends. Still, this is not always a deal-killer, as landlords or property owners will often consider several different criteria when determining whether to rent to you.

Here is what you can do to help rent a place after bankruptcy:

Be Direct About Your Situation with Potential Landlords

Even if you look for rental properties advertised as “no credit check apartments,” most properties do perform credit checks, so it is likely that your prospective landlord will learn that you filed for bankruptcy. It’s better to be upfront and explain your personal situation that led to bankruptcy, especially if it was for reasons that you couldn’t control, such as a death, a divorce, illness, or the loss of a job. You can also explain why those events or conditions are not likely to happen again, because of measures you took to resolve your financial problems, and that you have learned from your past. Your landlord will probably be more understanding and more willing to rent to you, despite your bankruptcy record, if they understand your situation.

Select a Private Property Owner Rather Than a Rental Company

Many people who have a bankruptcy on their record discover that it is easier to rent an apartment from a private property owner than from a management company. This is because management companies often have much stricter rules about rentals and are likely to look only at your credit report and not consider your situation. Also, an individual landlord is more likely to take into consideration things like your current employment, past rental history and how you present yourself. They know that you should have more disposable income now than before your bankruptcy, since you won’t have huge credit card payments. In addition, you will not be able to file for bankruptcy and discharge your debt again for a long time, so you are more likely to pay your rent and avoid running up more debt.

Rely on Your Previous Rental History

If you have rented in the past and are able to show that you were a good tenant and paid your rent on time, it is a good idea to point out these details on your application and provide proof of a positive past rental history if possible. If you can show your potential new landlord that you did not break any rental agreements or leases with other landlords before bankruptcy and that you consistently paid your rent on time, then your bankruptcy might not be a big factor. It can be helpful to provide canceled checks and letters or receipts from previous landlords, if you have them. Even with a history of bankruptcy, it is often possible to still be accepted as a renter if you can establish that you are a successful renter.

Offer a Larger Security Deposit

A person who just navigated the bankruptcy process might not always have a ton of money on hand. However, if you can gather together enough money for a larger security deposit, this can sometimes increase your chances of being approved as a renter.

Have a Job or Proof of Income

It is important and helpful to bring pay stubs or some type of proof of income when applying to be a renter. If you have a job where your income varies between months, it is a good idea to have a letter from your employer or human resources department stating what you make on average each month. Landlords will be more interested in how much money you have to pay for rent than the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. They often look at factors such as your length of time at current job, current pay rate, and your prior employment to determine whether you should be able to make your monthly payments.

Get a Reference List Ready

If you are applying to rent a residence after having navigated the bankruptcy process, it is important to compile a list of people who are willing to provide a reference of your character and financial stability. The more people that you are able to list, the better. In some cases, a glowing review from a reputable source can help diminish the negative effects of a bankruptcy on your record.

Can You Get an Apartment After a Chapter 7?

While most landlords probably won’t rent to you if your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is still pending, you can often qualify for a rental within three months of a bankruptcy discharge. Many landlords understand that you are obliged to pay any debt you incur after the date you filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and that it will be easier for you to pay future debts once your past debts have been discharged. While some landlords will not want to rent to you during the couple of years immediately following bankruptcy, the fact that you went bankrupt will have less of an effect as time passes.

To make sure you can get an apartment, you must handle your finances as responsibly as possible, not run up additional debt, and take the necessary steps to clean up your credit report. Renting after bankruptcy is a good way to help build your credit.

If you cannot find a landlord to give you a long-term lease, you may be able to find one willing to start out with a shorter lease to ensure that you make your payments on time. Once you are making payments regularly, the landlord may be willing to turn the lease into a long-term one, and you will be reestablishing your credit history by paying your rent in a timely manner.

Speak with an Experienced Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, in addition to worries such as whether you will be able to rent an apartment, the process itself can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make it much less so. Contact the Adam Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your individual situation, answer your questions and concerns, and determine the road back to financial recovery that works best for you.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call our friendly and approachable staff today at (904) 329-7249 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.