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How Soon After Bankruptcy Can I Lease or Rent?


Rent After Bankruptcy

We often get these questions from clients:

Can you lease after bankruptcy?

Can I rent an apartment after Chapter 7?

How do I go about renting an apartment after bankruptcy?

Do I need to worry about renting after Chapter 7?

One of the biggest fears most people have about bankruptcy is losing their apartment and not having a place to live after their debt is discharged. This can be especially scary for people who waited too long to file bankruptcy and have lost their homes to the bank or were evicted when they couldn’t make their rent or lease payments.

For a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer on how you can rent or lease an apartment or home after filing bankruptcy, and how to otherwise quickly get your financial situation under control call The Law Offices of David M. Offen at 215-625-9600. Our office is located in Center City Philadelphia and is very easy to reach from Philadelphia and the suburbs.

How Long Will It Take to Rent An Apartment?

Most people will qualify for a rental within three months of a bankruptcy discharge. It is possible to rent or lease after bankruptcy–and depending on how you handle your fresh start, it may even be possible to become a homeowner again without waiting seven years.  Different lenders have different policies and some lenders will allow you to get a mortgage after thirty-six months.

How you handle credit after your discharge will play a big role in what is available to you. After the early 2000s housing bubble and the 2008 financial crisis, many landlords have rented to couples and families who came through foreclosure and bankruptcy. They may be strict about late payments and will expect proof of income, but it will be possible to find a rental property.

How to Rent an Apartment After Bankruptcy

Renting after bankruptcy is a fantastic way to build your credit. There are several things you can do to improve your chances of finding an apartment that will help benefit your credit situation.

Regarding bankruptcy and apartment rental, you must be upfront with the landlord. He or she is going to see your bankruptcy when they run a credit check anyway, so trying to hide or excuse the fact that you went bankrupt won’t help you. Instead, be open and humble about your mistakes, and have proof, including proof of employment and a record of responsible borrowing since your bankruptcy, to support your search for housing. For example, if you recently purchased an automobile, being able to show that you have made your payments is a plus.

It also may help to look at smaller, privately owned apartment blocks instead of larger corporately administered and professionally managed complexes. A local landlord will have a lot more latitude to make decisions than a management company checking your financial statistics against a risk-assessment formula.  A smaller company may treat you as a human being while some larger companies unfortunately sometimes treat people as a number.

Renting or Leasing a House After Bankruptcy

It will be harder to rent or lease a house after bankruptcy than it would be to rent an apartment, but it is by no means is it impossible. You should be prepared to offer a larger security deposit to offset the fact that you are considered a higher-risk tenant.

When looking for a real estate company or landlord, your best bet is to be as honest as possible. Often times a landlord may be more willing to work with someone than a rental company. This is because many property management companies have strict processes and procedures they need to follow for rental applications. Instead, try going directly to the landlord who may negate these procedures and can give you a yes response directly.

If you decide to go with a rental company, ask if there are any landlords that would consider renting to you given your current situation. This way, you won’t waste a credit fee for a landlord that isn’t willing to consider your application. You could also provide a copy of your own credit report and a letter explaining your circumstances and why you feel you would make good renters. You have no debts now (other than maybe a car payment) so paying the monthly rent is not a problem.  When you’re ready to rent make sure to save some money by shopping renters insurance rates.

In truth, landlords today understand the economy and are often more forgiving of a bankruptcy. In fact, a person with a recent bankruptcy and no debt is a much safer bet for a landlord than someone with lots of debt and no bankruptcy. When it comes down to it, landlords are looking to rent to people that will be able to afford the rent every month and won’t damage the property.

Being able to show that you can manage the payments and that you have owned property before puts you in a much better position to rent a home. Just remember to be upfront and honest with any potential landlords.

Considering Filing Bankruptcy in PA?

Life after bankruptcy is a chance to start fresh and move forward into a more financially stable future. If you’re struggling with deciding whether to file bankruptcy, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney David M. Offen by calling 215-625-9600. In his 20 years of practice, Mr. Offen has helped over 12,000 clients get a fresh start.  He can help you too.

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