Bankruptcy is a tough and grueling process that can last several years. Sometimes, giving yourself a fresh start by hunting for affordable apartments that accept bankruptcies can add to the struggle. Some landlords are more picky about potential tenant credit than others. But ultimately, having bankruptcy on your credit will make apartment shopping feel nearly impossible. At O’Bryan Law Offices, not only do we want to give you financial freedom through bankruptcy, but we also want to boost your credit enough to get a nice apartment. Call us today at 502-339-0222 for a free consultation.
Bankruptcy Case Status
If your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is still ongoing, your chances of getting an apartment is undoubtedly low. However, your chances of getting an apartment while enduring Chapter 7 is higher than if you’re enduring Chapter 13. This is because some landlords may understand that the debt you rack up after your Chapter 7 filing date will be your responsibility to pay off.
How Soon Can I Rent an Apartment After Bankruptcy?
The best time to rent an apartment is three months out from the conclusion of your bankruptcy case. If you filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you will likely receive the discharge order at the three month mark. Meanwhile if you filed for Chapter 13, you will likely receive a confirmation order at the three month mark. By this point after bankruptcy, many people are fairly financially stable even if their credit score is still low.
Is Bankruptcy Discrimination Illegal?
You may be asking yourself: is it even legal for a landlord to deny me an apartment because of my bankruptcy filing? The answer is yes, only because landlords aren’t government entities. It’s illegal for government entities to discriminate against you because of your bankruptcy filing. However, U.S. law considers landlords as private entities. Private entities can discriminate based on bankruptcy filings.
Unlawful Discrimination for Landlords
While it’s legal for landlords to discriminate based on bankruptcy filings, it’s illegal for them to discriminate based on:
- Race or color
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
- Marital status
- Medical condition including pregnancy, physical disabilities, or mental illnesses
What Will a Landlord Look For in My Credit History?
Most landlords will take a look at potential residents’ credit reports whether they have filed for bankruptcy or not. They will usually hunt for:
- Late payments on any debts
If your credit report shows that you’re struggling with your finances, most landlords typically won’t approve your application. Additionally, if you’re wondering how long does an eviction stay on your record, we answer that question in our blog.
The Best Ways to Improve Your Chances of Getting an Apartment After Bankruptcy
If you’re trying to recover from a bankruptcy filing, you may feel hopeless when it comes to apartment hunting. But there are ways to find apartments that accept bankruptcies while your credit is still on the rise.
Be Honest About Your Finances
When apartment hunting, it’s important to be honest with potential landlords about your finances. Potential landlords most likely already know about your bankruptcy through credit checks. But for the best possible outcome, you must notify landlords that filing for bankruptcy was a necessary step in getting your finances under control. Additionally, many people resort to a bankruptcy filing due to life events that are completely out of their control such as chronic illness, a loved one’s death, divorce, or a sudden job loss. Explaining the exact reasoning behind your bankruptcy filing may help your case.
It’s also important to note that the longer it’s been since you filed for bankruptcy, the better chance you have at getting an apartment. Additionally, the more responsible you are with your money since your bankruptcy filing, the better your chances of getting an apartment.
Rent From a Private Property Owner
Apartments managed by big companies often have strict credit and income rules for its residents. For this reason, it may be easier to get an apartment from a private owner instead. To find an apartment managed by a private owner, you can look around your community for “for rent” signs. Additionally, you can do a search on Zillow or Craigslist.
Use Your Past Rental History
If you’ve been a good tenant in the past despite your bankruptcy filing, use that history to your advantage. When you’re meeting with potential landlords, make a point about how you always paid your rent on time and followed all of your previous landlords’ rules. Even if your credit score is still suffering from your bankruptcy filing, your perfect rental record may convince a private owner to give you a chance.
Offer a Larger Security Deposit
Something else you can do that may increase your chances of getting an apartment is paying a larger security deposit. If you’re still recovering from bankruptcy, this may be impossible for you. But if you’re planning on hunting for apartments that accept bankruptcies a few months from now, try to save some extra bucks for a security deposit. For example, offer two months’ security deposit or more if the apartment requires one month’s security deposit.
Make Sure You Have a Secure Job
Possibly the most important thing you can do in order to get an apartment is to have a stable job and income. If your income happens to vary month to month, make sure to give your landlord a written letter from your boss that explains why. Additionally if you’re self-employed, it’s crucial to prove your income with current bank statements.
If a landlord sees bankruptcy on your credit, something else that can improve your chances of getting an apartment is showing your employment history. The landlord may also want to know:
- How long have you been at your current job? The longer you’ve been working there, the better.
- Why you have gaps in your employment history over the last five to ten years.
- Have you had more permanent positions compared to seasonal or temporary positions? The more permanent positions you have in your employment history, the better.
- What’s your rate of pay?
- What’s your wage history?
The landlord is likely to compare your current debt-to-income ratio to how you handled finances with your pre-bankruptcy income. When the landlord does this, you need to explain how your money management skills have improved since you filed for bankruptcy.
Create a List of References
Similarly to job applications, it’s important to have references for apartment hunting too, especially if you have bankruptcy on your credit. A solid list of references may include previous landlords, previous or present bosses, trustworthy co-workers, etc. The more solid references you include, the better your chances of getting an apartment.
Search For “No-Credit Check” Apartments
Believe it or not, no-credit check apartments exist, although there may not be many of them and they may not be your ideal apartment complex. But it doesn’t hurt to hunt online for no-credit check apartments that accept bankruptcies in your area.
Look Into Apartments Near Colleges
Apartment complexes near colleges may be a great temporary home for you while you’re recovering from bankruptcy. This is because apartments in these areas are often rented to college students who have either no credit or very poor credit. If these landlords will rent to students with poor credit, they will likely rent to you while you’re recovering from bankruptcy.
Live With Someone
If all else fails, co-sign a lease with a close friend, a partner, or a family member who has good credit. This doesn’t have to be a long term arrangement. Living with a loved one with good credit can help you recover from your bankruptcy filing.
Improve Your Credit
Lastly, it’s crucial to improve your credit while you’re getting back on your feet after a bankruptcy filing. Not only can poor credit complicate apartment hunting, but it can complicate other aspects of your life too. With poor credit, you will struggle with receiving loans, buying cars, buying houses, and more. Life after bankruptcy is tough because it’s the time to rebuild your life, your finances, and your credit. If you need help getting on the right track, bankruptcy attorneys at O’Bryan Law can certainly help you restore your credit.
Call a Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
At O’Bryan Law Offices, we can help with all things bankruptcy: Chapter 7, Chapter 13, divorce-related bankruptcy, and recovering from bankruptcy. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to giving our clients a life of financial freedom. If you’re looking for a fresh start from your life of crippling debt, call us today at 502-339-0222 for a free consultation.