Will anybody rent to me after my bankrutpcy?
Whether you're just considering bankrutpcy or have just been through one, you are likely
to ask yourself this question. The good news is yes, there are plenty of places willing to give you
a second chance. But as you may have discovered, many others won't even consider renting to you.
So how do you find those that are willing to work with you? You can start with our listing service
which includes only properties where the owners and managers will consider renting to those with bankruptcy
and or bad credit. You can also use your local listing service and call the numbers on the ads to ask if they would consider renting
to you. Either way, you'll need to be prepared to convince them that renting to you is a good business move for them.
We've assembled some tips to help you through the process
When should I bring up my credit history?
Bring it up too soon and a landlord might write you off. Bring it up too late
and you'll look like you've been trying to hide something (not to mention you'll have
wasted time and possibly money for a credit check). Your strategy should depend on
which type of landlord you are talking to. If you are looking at a professionally
managed apartment complex, our advice is to bring it up right away during the initial phone call
or visit. The reason? Typically, large complexes have established policies and rarely
deviate from them. They do this to manage risk, and also to protect themselves from lawsuits (treating everybody
the same avoids the appearance of discrimination). You'll save yourself time, money and frustration by asking right away.
Individual landlords are a different story. They own the properties they manage
and are more likely to consider your individual circumstances instead of just relying
on your credit score. Although you certainly can bring up your bankruptcy on your initial
call to an individual landlord, we advise that you wait until you can meet in person. This
gives you the chance to make a great first impression and to make your case as to why you will
make a great tenant. A compromise approach you can adopt is to allude to the fact that you've had credit
problems in the past without spilling all the gory details. A conversation might go like this:
You: "I've had some credit problems in the past, but those are behind me now. Would you be willing
to work with me?"
You: "Great. I'll explain more when we meet to see the house."
That's much better than saying "Hi, I just filed bankruptcy last week. Will you rent to me?"
The next section of this article deals with the initial meeting with the landlord.
How do I convince a landlord to rent to me?
Tip #1: Make a great first impression
Everything from how you are dressed to the condition of the car you drive will make an impression. Wear nice, clean clothes.
Don't pull up in a 15 year beater with a broken muffler and a plastic bag over the missing window! If you've got two cars, by all means
drive the nicer one. In the landlord's eyes, someone who has a poorly maintained car is likely to neglect the house too.
By the same token, if you were able to keep your brand new Escalade after your bankrutpcy, you might want to drive
something else, lest you give the impression you went into bankrutpcy because you overspent. Don't smoke and throw your butts in the driveway, street
or yard. Better yet, don't smoke at all. You're starting to get the idea by now!
Tip #2: Be completely honest
Your potential landlord will most likely do a credit check as well as check your
previous rental history, so there's no sense in hiding anything.
Tip #3: Make your case
You've learned from your mistakes and won't repeat them, right? Now that you've
come clean about your past, explain what happened without making excuses. Whether you
ended up in bankruptcy due to job loss, illness, sudden expenses, divorce or other reasons, you should be
prepared to explain what you learned and what you'll do to prevent it in the future. And of course, actions
speak much louder than words, so bring evidence: pay stubs, bank statements, savings account statements, even your
Tip #4: Be prepared to make concessions
Your landlord will be making an investment decision when deciding to rent to you. In all
investments, the greater the risk, the bigger the payout (in this case your monthly rent). Be prepared to either
make the investment more profitable for your landlord (higher rent) or reduce his risk. This could mean a higher
deposit for example.
I got the lease! What else should I do?
Of course, be the best tenant you can be. Pay on time, keep up the place and be
a good neighbor. You should also work to rebuild your financial security. Something unexpected
like an illness, divorce or job loss probably led to your credit problems. Now that you're wiser, do
everything you can to plan for the unexpected. Check out our blog for useful financial tips.
Most of all, keep your chin up. With hard work and discipline, you'll
get back on your feet again. For inspiration, check out our list of famous and successful people who filed bankruptcy.