Can You Rent an Apartment after Bankruptcy?
Renting an apartment is challenging, especially in South Florida. Once upon a time, landlords agreed to rent to a tenant based on nothing more than a handshake. But today most landlords require an extensive application—and a credit check.
It should not be surprising that a bankruptcy will stay on your credit for years. In particular, a Chapter 7 will stay on for 10 years,, so a landlord who pulls a background check will find out about it. Does this mean there is no hope for finding an apartment?
Actually, it is still possible to find the apartment of your dreams, but you need to take several steps to strengthen your application. Our Plantation bankruptcy attorney explains more.
How Bankruptcy Can Work to Your Advantage
At the outset, we should say that not all landlords will view a bankruptcy as a massive negative mark. There are sensible reasons why they might actually see it as a positive.
For one, you can’t file for bankruptcy back to back—there’s a mandatory waiting period between bankruptcies. For example, if you completed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait 8 years before you can file another Chapter 7. A landlord knows this. It sounds counterintuitive, but you are less of a risk wit a recent bankruptcy on your record—provided you have solid income and other factors.
For another, filing for bankruptcy can show a landlord that you were serious about getting your financial house in order. Remember, a landlord is looking at how likely it is you will pay rent every month.
Show You Have a Solid Employment History
A landlord wants to see that you can pay rent. This means showing that you have sufficient income and that you are gainfully employed. Most landlords will feel comfortable if you can show that you have been working at your job for a decent amount of time.
Don’t lie about your work history or how much you make. Instead, find ways to maximize your income. For some people, this might mean finding part-time income to supplement your main job.
What happens if you just started at a new employer? You might give them the name of your supervisor as a reference. The landlord can check out whether you are likely to remain employed for the near future.
Improve Your Credit
After filing for bankruptcy, you should do everything possible to rebuild your credit. This means paying all your bills on time. You can apply for a credit card—even a secured credit card—and use it sensibly, paying off the balance in full each month.
If you are currently renting, then you absolutely should not miss a rent payment. Any prospective landlord will probably call your previous landlords to find out whether you were ever late. Many landlords will probably overlook a bankruptcy provided you were a model tenant for a previous landlord and always paid your rent on time.
Discuss Other Bankruptcy Concerns with Our Lawyers
Many of our clients fear how a bankruptcy will impact their future. Let us discuss how you can move forward after filing. Call our Plantation bankruptcy attorneys at Nowack & Olson today to schedule a complimentary consultation.