Renting After Bankruptcy: Five Surprising Things You Need To Know

12 March 2015
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Having a bankruptcy on your credit report can make it hard to get loans or even rent apartments, but a bankruptcy doesn't necessarily preclude you from either of these activities. If you are thinking about declaring bankruptcy and wondering how it may affect your ability to rent a new place, here are five surprising things you may want to know:

1. Many people buy homes after bankruptcy so renting is definitely possible

A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for ten years, but this blemish does not necessarily stop people from getting credit or rentals. In fact, within three years after declaring bankruptcy, nearly 3.5 percent of filers have obtained a mortgage.

If people are able to get mortgages that quickly, you can certainly find someone to rent to you, and in fact, there is statistical proof that people can get approved for rentals after declaring bankruptcy.

2. Nearly half of bankruptcy filers rent homes or apartments after declaring bankruptcy

Many people who declare bankruptcy already own homes, and as mortgages are protected, these people are able to stay in their homes after declaring bankruptcy. Of the people who do not currently own a home or buy a new one after bankruptcy, nearly half of them sign a lease on a new rental.

The half who do not sign leases are in a range of situations. Some of them continue their current lease, and thus, do not need to sign a new one. Others move into homes owned by family or friends and rent from them without signing formal leases. Others stay with family and friends.

Typically,  the people who sign a new lease do so out of two possible scenarios. They either find landlords who do not check their credit history, or they find landlords who see bankruptcy in a positive light.  

3. Some landlords do not check renter's credit histories

Landlords want someone who will pay the rent on time and take reasonable care of the property. They want to see positive rental history and personal references. If you have that, you can often find an independent landlord who is willing to rent to you. However, even if a landlord wants to see your credit history, he or she may see the bankruptcy in a positive light.

4. Some landlords see bankruptcies in a positive light

Some landlords refuse to rent to people with bankruptcies on their credit reports, but others do not mind as much. In fact, they may see a bankruptcy in a positive light. As your debts have been discharged through the bankruptcy, the landlord may feel relieved that you have no outgoing monthly debt obligations – therefore, you are more likely to have the cash you need to pay the rent, provided you have sufficient earnings.

Additionally, the landlord doesn't have to worry about any possible garnishments. In contrast, if you have a lot of unpaid, ignored debts on your credit report – as you may have now – the landlord may worry about those debts resurfacing.

5. Landlords look at how you have handled your debts since bankruptcy

If you have declared bankruptcy, the landlord is likely to see how you have handled your debts after the bankruptcy. If you have paid your bills on time since the bankruptcy, it shows that you took advantage of the bankruptcy during a difficult time and then improved how you handled debt.

Keep in mind that credit reports also show any credit inquiries – if you have just declared bankruptcy, do not immediately apply for a credit card or loan. Having the inquiry on your report can make you look irresponsible or financially unstable to potential landlords. Also, if you are undergoing a bankruptcy and want to make sure you can bounce back afterward, consider contacting a bankruptcy attorney.