One of the myths surrounding bankruptcy we hear a lot in New York City is that after filing Bankruptcy it will be difficult to find an apartment. This is actually one of the biggest fears we encounter during our free client consultations. We often find that despite mounting debt and out of control financial situations people will prematurely dismiss bankruptcy as an option because of this false notion. They think they will have nowhere to go, but the truth is that filing for bankruptcy and eliminating your toxic debt will actually make it easier to pay for an apartment, and often times actually improve your chances of getting an apartment as well. In New York City we know what it means to have a good apartment, but if you find yourself overwhelmed by bad debt, do not let the fear of never finding another place keep you from consulting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
While it is true that some landlords will pull your credit report prior to accepting you as a renter, your bankruptcy will not always be the huge red flag to landlords you may think it will be. Landlords also understand the value of a good apartment in New York City, and know that people are more likely to pay their rent then a credit card bill when push comes to shove. They also know that if you just filed for bankruptcy you should now actually be in a better position to pay rent since the toxic debt that was eating you alive is now gone, leaving you more per month to pay rent and get to back on your feet. Beyond this, your prospective landlord also knows you can’t get another Chapter 7 discharge again for another 8 years which leaves them in a very strong position to collect any past due rent from you.
The irony here and what many clients fail to see is that filing for bankruptcy may actually leave you as a better rental candidate then not filing. If your credit is a mess and a landlord sees that you are on the verge of bankruptcy already, then you may appear to be more of a risk than if you had already filed for bankruptcy. Will you be as strong as a candidate with perfect credit that has never filed bankruptcy? No, but YOU will often be in a better position to get the apartment you want, and in better position to pay your rent with a successful bankruptcy discharge. Landlords know this too. Most bankruptcy results from medical debt, bad credit card debt and toxic loans. Landlords know that most people make paying their rent a top financial priority. Remember, millions of people file for bankruptcy in America every year and landlords are not unfamiliar with renters who have filed. Who knows, they may have filed for bankruptcy themselves at some point.
If you are drowning in debt, and can’t make your ends meet don’t let the concern over finding an apartment in New York City tip the scales on your decision to file bankruptcy. In our office we help prepare clients for their post bankruptcy life and will offer some guidance in dealing with future landlords to maximize your chances of getting the apartment you want.
First, we recommend you demonstrate your past ability to pay rent by obtaining a letter of referral from your current and/or previous landlord. Your bankruptcy will be a negative mark on your credit, but a future landlord will be more concerned with your past rental payment history. If you have been good about paying your rent for years, then having this in writing will go a long way with a potential landlord.
Next, do your best to contact the property owner, in person if possible. This will give you a chance to make a good impression, but will also give you an opportunity to candidly discuss your recent bankruptcy. Highlight your past rental history, current job, and the other things that will make you a responsible renter and good candidate. Most property owners will appreciate your effort, and it usually has a very positive effect on your chances.
When all else fails you can also offer an increased rental deposit. Cash in hand is a strong motivator, and will make you less of a risk to a landlord.
If the worry over finding another apartment in New York has kept you from seriously considering bankruptcy but you are consumed with debt and unable to make your ends meet, consult a qualified bankruptcy law firm today. The benefits of bankruptcy will almost always outweigh the consequences even when it comes to finding an apartment.
If you live in New York contact the Law offices of William Waldner at 212-244-2882 anytime. We only practice bankruptcy law and have a 100% Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge record as of 8/14/2013.
This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading this article no attorney-client relationship has been created.