Will I Be Able to Rent an Apartment After My Bankruptcy Discharge?

By Tracy L. Hirsch

If you’re concerned about getting approved to rent an apartment while having a bankruptcy listed on your credit report, we have three tips that may help you secure a rental agreement.

If you filed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Louisville, KY, and recently received a discharge from your bankruptcy plan, congratulations! You’re now on a path to financial stability where you have a fresh start.

Even though you’re enjoying your new-found freedom, you may have concerns about renting and leasing.

As you’re already aware, a bankruptcy filing stays on your credit report for several years (ten years for a Chapter 7, and seven years for a Chapter 13).

As a result, you may be worried about trying to rent an apartment since any potential landlord will want to run a credit check to see your payment history.

While it’s true that some landlords may initially be hesitant to rent to you if they see that you filed a Kentucky bankruptcy in the past few years, many of them will be will to rent to you if you do your homework upfront.

Here are five tips on how to secure an apartment after being discharged from your bankruptcy:

1.) Make sure you’re paying all of your bills on time and in full.

If you have monthly payment obligations (such as car payments), make sure that you’re paying those on time every single month, and also paying the full monthly payment amount.

For example, if your car payment is $275 a month, and it’s due on the 15th of every month, be sure to pay $275, and pay it a few days early (such as the 12th or 13th or every month).

If you were making your car payments on time while you were in your bankruptcy plan, and the landlord sees that you’re still making those car payments on time, it will show that you that you are responsible, and that you will most likely pay your rent on time.

Having late or missed payments on your credit report will be much more of a factor than having a bankruptcy on there.

Remember: Going above and beyond with your application could pay off in the long run.

2.) Be upfront and honest with a prospective landlord.

If you’re filling out a rental application, it’s important to let the landlord of the apartment complex know that you filed a bankruptcy, and have received a discharge.

Even though they’ll be able to see that for themselves on your credit report, it’s wise to let them know ahead of time (before they review your application), so that you can explain your situation.

Maybe you had a lot of medical debt from a car accident, or you lost your job and had to rely on credit cards, and as a result, needed to file for bankruptcy to get back on your feet financially.

If you can show that you’ve been making your payments on time, and explain that the bankruptcy helped you get through a tough time in your life, it’s more likely that they will see you as a person, and not just a name with a bankruptcy attached to it.

Also, be sure to emphasize that because of your bankruptcy, you no longer have any debt, and as a result, you have enough money to put toward rent. Since most people assume that bankruptcy is ‘bad’ (which is a myth), turning it into a positive can go a long way!

If you can explain that in person, it’s ideal, but if the landlord is unable to meet with you, be sure to write a well-written letter, and staple it to the top of your application (or add the letter as a PDF if you’re submitting your application electronically).

Additionally, tell your landlord upfront that you’re willing to pay first and last month’s rent in order to secure a rental agreement. This leads us to our next tip.

3.) Save up money for a security deposit.

To reassure your potential landlord that you will make your rental payments on time, let them know upfront (in person or in your letter) that you’re willing to pay your first and last month’s rent upfront as a security deposit.

This will prove to them that you’re serious about your rental agreement, and that you’ve prepared for it financially. When they see that you’re responsible, and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to prove that you’ll be a reliable tenant, you’ll be more likely to gain their trust, and thus secure a rental agreement.

4.) Attach copies of your pay stubs with your rental application.

In addition the above mentioned tips, it’s a good idea to attach your past six months of paystubs so that the landlord can see that you have steady income.

They’ll be more likely to offer you an apartment if they can see that you make enough to be able to afford rent, and that your income situation is stable.

5.) Provide reference letters with your application.

Providing references, from people who can attest to your upstanding character, will go a long way. Kindly ask your employer, church leader, and/or past landlords to write a reference letter for you, outlining the ways that you are responsible and reliable.

This will help bolster all of the other documents that you attach to your rental application.

Most landlords will be really impressed with all of the work that you did ahead of time, and will be willing to consider approving you for a rental agreement.

Again, going above and beyond to reassure them that your bankruptcy actually helped you get back on your feet, and providing documents to prove that, will increase your chances of landing an apartment that you love.

If you or someone you know needs to file for bankruptcy, but you (or they) have concerns, I’m here to reassure you that filing a bankruptcy will not permanently ruin your financial future.

I’ve been a Louisville bankruptcy attorney for 22 years, and am here to tell you that it’s possible to rebuild your credit fairly quickly after being discharged from bankruptcy.

To find out if bankruptcy is what you need to get back on your feet, I offer free phone consultations. You can text or call my cell phone at (502) 435-2593.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about bankruptcy, check out the main menu on our homepage to find the specific topics that you’re interested in.

Just remember, no matter what’s going on in your situation, there’s always hope!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch

Louisville Bankruptcy Attorney

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