Bankruptcy can cause all kinds of problems for individuals who need a place to live. When you apply for an apartment to rent, the landlord will run a credit check to verify his or her standards for renting, and often bankruptcy will preclude the possibility of being accepted. However, there are plenty of people who are able to rent an apartment after bankruptcy; you simply have to approach the problem from a logical point of view.
Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy: Don’t Try to Hide the Bankruptcy
As I mentioned above, your potential landlord will run a credit check before offering you a lease, which means there’s no point in trying to hide the bankruptcy from them. In fact, I would advise you to be as up-front as possible about past credit problems when first meeting with possible landlords. Explain the reasons why you filed for bankruptcy (i.e. divorce, failed business) and let them know that you understand their concerns. This will mark you as an honest individual with nothing to hide.
Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy: Be Professional
Since bankruptcy is a strong black mark against you when attempting to rent an apartment, you should give the landlord no other reason to deny your application. Wear a suit or dress when meeting with the landlord, ask appropriate questions, and maintain decorum. These seemingly insignificant efforts will go a long way.
Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy: Be Employed
If you have filed for bankruptcy in the recent past and have no job with which to assure your ability to pay the rent, you aren’t going to be approved. Ideally, you should be gainfully employed for at least six months before attempting to rent an apartment, and you should be able to provide the landlord with your employer’s contact information as a reference. Further, bring with you at least two paystubs to confirm your income. Make sure it is at least three times the amount of the rent.
Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy: Give References
Having an employer reference is good, but usually not good enough. Your objective is to win over the landlord despite your credit problems, which means providing at least three additional references to your character and responsibility. Previous creditors, employers, community leaders and other individuals who can vouch for your credibility will be of enormous help.
Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy: Offer a Co-Signer
If you have a relative or friend who would be willing to co-sign on your lease, I would go that route. A co-signer is an individual who agrees to pay the rent if you default, which is sometimes required in the case of bankruptcy. I’ve written other articles warning people not to co-sign for a loan, but if you are a responsible and good-hearted individual who will pay your rent, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy: Offer a Larger Deposit
In the past, renters have been required to offer first, last and security, which means that they must provide the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent and a security deposit before occupying the dwelling. Now, that practice is much less common. For example, my niece just started her first apartment lease, and she moved in for only $99.00. That said, you might be able to present a bargaining chip to your landlord in the form of a larger deposit, or you can offer to pay the first, second and last month’s rent before you move in. Whatever the case, sometimes money can solve what credit problems attempt to preclude.