Renting after Bankruptcy
Life after filing for bankruptcy protection can be a combination of exhilaration and frustration. One stepping stone many filers face is renting after bankruptcy. Navigating the world of landlords, credit checks and security deposits can be a challenge, but it's by no means impossible.
Here's a look at some basic strategies to keep in mind when renting after bankruptcy.
- Know the budget and stick to it. Most financial advisers recommend spending no more than one-third of monthly income on housing. To avoid taking on rental payments that could lead to renewed debt, it's important to know what that number is and to commit to staying below it.
- Look for housing in the right price range. Nothing is quite as discouraging as finding the perfect place to live and then realizing it's too expensive. Renters can head this off at the pass by viewing only places that they can afford.
- Present a responsible front. It's common practice for landlords to run credit checks on prospective renters, so demonstrating responsibility and professionalism during in-person meetings is essential for those with damaged credit.
- Find a person, not a business. Taking the initiative to explain the reasons behind a bankruptcy filing can give potential renters a chance to explain themselves. However, that explanation may not make it up the chain of command if the person showing you the apartment and processing the application is not the person who's actually making decisions.
- Ask for a recommendation. A letter from a former landlord attesting to a renter's positive qualities might go a long way in making up for the presence of a bankruptcy.
- Downsize. Living in a smaller apartment or one with fewer amenities for a year or so may be a necessary (and temporary) part of rebuilding after bankruptcy for some filers.
- Explore property management companies. In some cases, apartment complexes are stricter about application requirements than individual property owners. Property management companies allow people to rent from folks who have investment properties; these people tend to be more lenient about credit check requirements.
Ask a Lawyer about Your Rights when Renting after Bankruptcy
While it's true that some landlords may refuse an applicant because of a previous bankruptcy filing, bankruptcy filers still have rights in the rental process. If you'd like to learn more about your rights as a renter, you can speak with a lawyer today.