Food and shelter are the most basic human needs, and when dealing with debt, this becomes more evident. After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there’s no covering it up since it stays on your credit report for seven years. Most bankruptcy filers think this will affect their ability to rent since most landlords often run a credit report on rental applicants.
This is a valid concern as you need to provide a home for yourself and your family.
That said, it is possible to rent an apartment or house during and after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Here’s what you need to know.
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy puts you on a strict debt relief payment plan so you can pay off your existing debt. During the case, you cannot go into more debt without the court’s approval. You cannot apply for a new credit card or a new mortgage. However, a rental agreement is not a loan agreement. You are pledging to pay rent monthly to get a place to live; as such, you don’t need the court’s approval. Before entering a rental or lease agreement, talking to a bankruptcy attorney is important. The unique facts of your bankruptcy case could change the process of renting or leasing a place.
A credit history report is a statement showing your credit activity, credit score, and current credit situation. It includes your loan repayment history, the status of the credit accounts, and collection items such as your bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens, civil suits, and judgments.
Landlords and leasing companies are interested in your credit report because it’s a good indication of how you manage your money. If this credit check is filled with repossessions, late payments, and foreclosures, this could increase the likelihood of rejecting your application. However, while filing for bankruptcy negatively affects your credit, a less-than-perfect credit report is not a guarantee you will be rejected.
Many landlords understand some circumstances that might drive you to file for bankruptcy are out of your control and instead focus more on how responsible you are with your finances. While your credit report plays a significant role here, other factors rank higher in determining your eligibility to rent.
Most landlords consider the amount of disposable income you have, as this determines your ability to pay rent. If you are making enough to cover the rent, your landlord won’t consider your bankruptcy as a determining factor. Explaining that you had financial struggles, but you are back on track and even have predictable income will enhance your chances of getting approved.
Aside from how much you can pay toward rent, a landlord might also look at how long you have worked at your job and whether it is a permanent or temporary position. By reviewing your employment history, they get an accurate read of how reliable you are when paying your obligations. Having a strong employment history indicates job stability, which can increase your chances of getting approved.
This is perhaps the most vital consideration of all in determining whether you can rent an apartment or home after chapter 13. Someone who hasn’t filed for bankruptcy but has a rental history filled with evictions is less likely to get approval compared to an individual with a less eventful rental history but who has filed for bankruptcy.
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy negatively impacts your credit, making it harder to obtain financing and even rent an apartment. However, there are ways to strengthen your chances of getting a place.
If you need to move during the case, you should discuss this with your Chapter 13 trustee even before looking for places to rent. Remember, you are on a strict payment plan during the case, and your trustee is in the best position to figure out how much rent you can pay. The trustee makes payments to your creditors every month, so they know how much is leftover and which creditors are nearly paid off. Keeping them informed about any major decision you are planning will make the process easier and avoid further financial difficulty.
Renting from private property owners is a great way to find a place torent an apartment after chapter 13. Approach your relatives, friends, and even coworkers and ask if they have a spare room or know of any apartments available to rent. Property owners who know you directly or who have obtained a personal recommendation from someone who knows you will be more willing to lease to you regardless of your bankruptcy status.
On the same note, avoid applying to rent apartments owned by large property management companies. They have stricter screening procedures and financial qualifying requirements. While some might rent to you while under Chapter 13, most might use it as a point to discharge you by. Additionally, even though they advertise rent specials and other tempting discounts, your Chapter 13 payment plan might greatly reduce your chances of qualifying for these specials. You will have more luck looking into smaller complexes with private owners.
Having someone close to you co-sign your lease can help persuade the landlord to rent you the apartment during your bankruptcy case. Co-signing means, they have to pay your rent should you fail to make your rent payments. This offers the property owner reassurance since they have a backup option.
If your case is still active or hasn’t received a discharge yet, landlords might be reluctant to rent to you, especially while under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, any debt you acquire after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be your obligation to pay. Submitting a rental application with an ongoing bankruptcy case is bound to raise concerns, and since most don’t know how the bankruptcy works, they will be very worried about your ability to make rent. Explaining how the Chapter 13 repayment plan works and that the court-managed plan doesn’t allow you to have extra debt could reassure a potential landlord.
Once your Chapter 13 case is over, there’s no financial hold on you anymore. This means you are free to rent an apartment you can afford. It is up to the leasing company or landlord to agree to or deny your request. This means you will have to try a couple of places before you get an apartment.
Navigating bankruptcy is nothing to be afraid of if you have the right law firm to help you make the right decisions. If you have filed for bankruptcy but fear not being able to move to a new place, let us help ease your fears. At Van Horn Law Group, we can offer you legal advice helping you make a knowledgeable decision that will offer you the best possible results for your unique financial situation. Call us today, and let us figure out your rental situation together.
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