Whether you rent or own, most people filing bankruptcy do not want to move. In most bankruptcy cases people keep paying their rent or house payment and are not expected to move. Even so, one of the scariest things for people filing bankruptcy is the worry that in the future they will not be able to find a landlord to rent to them because of their credit. The law gives a landlord discretion to accept or decline a potential tenant for almost any reason. That said, most landlords have three goals in selecting a tenant:
1. Must be able to pay the rent – Many landlords use a credit score as a gauge of a person’s ability to pay the rent but a credit score is not the only method. Rental history and documented income can overcome a bad credit report with many landlords.
2. Must take care of the property – Landlords want their property to be taken care of. Landlords will quickly and quietly assess a person based on their appearance. A person that cares for their personal appearance may be assumed to care for the place they live with the same attention to detail. This sounds superficial, and it is, but landlords often make decisions with limited information.
3. Must stay for some period of time – Landlords like people with established jobs, established families, and roots in the community. People who, the landlord hopes, will move in and stay for years. Landlords do not like vacancy. In fact, this is the reason many landlords ask tenants to sign a 12-month lease prior to moving in.
If you’re looking for a place to rent within two years of filing bankruptcy, you should expect a few questions about your situation. Some landlords may ask for a co-signer. Ultimately most people find perseverance pays and they are able to find a place to rent. Remember, landlords need you as much as you need them. So if your credit is not good, you should plan to show a good rental history (hopefully it’s good) and documented income. Dress well and be on time when meeting a prospective landlord. Be ready to discuss any connections to the community and your willingness to sign a lease for a period of time.
At the Law Office of Michael Primus we have helped thousands of clients get out of debt, stop wage garnishments, and start fresh through bankruptcy. If you live in Contra Costa, Alameda or Solano counties and have debt problems, contact us for a free in-office consultation. We have offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch and Hercules.