Chapter 7 Bankruptcy & Renting Issues

Secrets

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Hi,
Having an awful time finding someone to rent to me.

Just to give you all some background, I am making $85,000 a year now. I used to make $56,800 as a Jr Software Engineer (honestly, it was a Software Engineer position with Jr pay for the area, but I needed the experience. plus it's game dev, so not many pay well), but recently was laid off from my position on August 27th, 2020. I got an interview the next day and am employed again with a new and started on September 28th, 2020. My Chapter 7 was discharged in June. I filed in February, discharged in June. I had to pay $700 a month on interest alone, as I basically got debt backed up and creditors refused to give me a debt consolidation loan anywhere due to my score.

I expected to get a pay increase this year, or a bonus - but it never came. Instead, I got a layoff 3 months after the discharged.

Soon after, COVID-19 hit and my two roommates were out of a job for 2 months. They did not qualify for PUA because of the lack of sufficient hours for unemployment compensation. I got my stimulus check and made ends' meet because of my bankruptcy filing.

We've tried most of the tricks in the book (Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Zillow with management companies excluded) and there is not only a shortage of private rentals, but a shortage of housing in general within a 50 mile radius. We want to avoid Philadelphia entirely, it's one of the worst places for us during COVID due to the roommate with asthma/lung issues, and my employer requires me to have a safe housing location. If you know Philly, it's not fucking safe.

I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania (Montgomery County) and my landlord is refusing to remove asbestos in our property.

My two roommates are disabled. The one has a history of cancer in the family, and lung/asthma issues, so being in an apartment like this is dangerous on top of the already bad threat of COVID. One half of our 2bd 2.5ba unit is unusable due to flaking in the ceiling tile in the hallway.
We're looking into a new place to rent from, however, we've been looking for well over a month and have had zero luck. We have 3 months rent saved up for the properties we've been looking at, ranging from $1200 to $1800 for a 2bd/3bd. In short, there's no reason why we SHOULDN'T qualify, especially given my gross income. However, it seems near impossible.

We have until April 2021 to find a new place; our lease is up then, and our landlord may or may not offer a renewal option (I have not got anything in writing or verbal stating that they will or not, but they are offering references to potential new landlords, however they have stopped short of renewing the lease.)

I currently have zero options here, short of new properties coming on the market - the management companies won't rent to someone with a bankruptcy in the last seven (!) years around here. And that's the only negative mark on my credit report. No missed payments or missed rental payments, no evictions, 5 year job history, 2 year rental history with a supportive landlord recommendation - and yet, I am the last on everyone's list.

I have family I can go back to, but my two roommates would be in danger of homelessness, and to be honest they are comforted by having me in their life as I provide safety and security financially. The one's mother died of cancer who has asthma and has an abusive family. The other one was disowned by their mother, and their grandmother only tolerates them, so they do not have a place to go back to. They both pull their weight financially. The one has collections on their record, and it'll impact anywhere we go. We also have 2 cats which limits our options significantly, we're expecting to put a cat deposit up front for anywhere we go and to pay to replace the carpet when I can qualify for an FHA loan.

They have nowhere to go if I am not here... and they both, for now, have safety until April. I am afraid that will end soon, hence why I am reaching out here for advice.

What should I do? Are there any government resources we can reach out to, to ensure our safety? Are there rentals anyone knows of in Montgomery County, PA that will aid us? It's a bit ridiculous, and it's day-in/day-out anxiety thinking about the fear of losing our apartment and possibly my best friends' safety. Open to advice.
 
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moonarchia

The Scientific Shitlord
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Buy a place. Simple as that. If you are planning to stay in the area for more than a few years just talk to a real estate agent to figure out how much house you could get for what you are paying in rent now. You might have to look at houses in shitty areas or a little further out, but you'll find a bank that will hook you up with an approval letter and you will have a place with a relatively fixed cost going forward. If the market stays hot you may even be able to get some equity building.
 
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Noodleface

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Have you been explicitly told it's due to bankruptcy or is it a combined thing. Having people in collections and with bankruptcy might be too much
 

Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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Buy a place. Simple as that. If you are planning to stay in the area for more than a few years just talk to a real estate agent to figure out how much house you could get for what you are paying in rent now. You might have to look at houses in shitty areas or a little further out, but you'll find a bank that will hook you up with an approval letter and you will have a place with a relatively fixed cost going forward. If the market stays hot you may even be able to get some equity building.

No commercial mortgages are approved, as far as I am aware until 4 years after bankruptcy.

That being said, I've considered a manufactured home. Might be going with that option, as that will allow me to save considerably and at least have a temporary home for the next 2-4 years. I've got zero experience in that sector, though there is a lot in the area I want to stay in and it's convenient for me and my roommates.

Have you been explicitly told it's due to bankruptcy or is it a combined thing. Having people in collections and with bankruptcy might be too much

The denial letter was only because of bankruptcy explicitly, and lack of active accounts, on both SmartMove and ResidentVerify, two of the bigger companies. So it's definitely that.
 

Control

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No commercial mortgages are approved
You'd have to do some legwork and would probably need to buy something that's hard to sell (in a bad area or needs a lot of work), but owner financing is possible and can avoid your bank issues. Just need to find a highly motivated seller.
 

Sanrith Descartes

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My honest opinion is to forget purchase for now. Bankruptcy is the kiss of death and you lack a large pile of cash and a solid stable work history. My honest advice is go ask the govt for help. Maybe Section 8 housing. Truth is you probably need to reconcile that for the near term you are going to have to live someplace you may not feel is that great for a few years. Erase the Bankruptcy. Establish solid work credentials and cash. If this was 2006 you would have a chance. Right now banks are very tight lending to even b category borrowers (740-ish). Wish I could offer better advice. I would definitely reach out to local/state/fed agencies for help.
 
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Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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My honest opinion is to forget purchase for now. Bankruptcy is the kiss of death and you lack a large pile of cash and a solid stable work history. My honest advice is go ask the govt for help. Maybe Section 8 housing. Truth is you probably need to reconcile that for the near term you are going to have to live someplace you may not feel is that great for a few years. Erase the Bankruptcy. Establish solid work credentials and cash. If this was 2006 you would have a chance. Right now banks are very tight lending to even b category borrowers (740-ish). Wish I could offer better advice. I would definitely reach out to local/state/fed agencies for help.

Not looking to purchase. These aren't mortgages I am applying for. These are rentals that are way above what any reasonable person would be paying on a mortgage. Even a place that costs $1600 a month when I make $5300 USD net income a month aren't biting, regardless of how much I put up front.

I'm reaching out to HUD and private rentals right now. Worst happens, I get a small loan on a manufactured house after 3 months of rebuilding credit with a local union. I don't qualify for Section 8, I make $85,000 a year and that's way above the threshold. My roommates may qualify for it, but I disqualify them.

I've had no issues paying for the last 2 years for any rentals. I have had no issues keeping my job. Historically, for the last 5 years, I have had more than the per capita income for the entire time. Just some stupid luck with friends & family having health issues led to APR spiraling out of control, and then lenders refused to distribute consolidation loans, etc...

I'm in an apartment right now that has the ceiling falling apart in the main hallway, with 3% asbestos which I confirmed after I had a striking suspicion they were lying to me about not having it (they were), and landlord is refusing to replace it. Chances are, they will likely be spiteful and not renew. I'm not sure, but I am not safe.

Beyond HUD, is there any other agencies to reach out to?
 
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Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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You'd have to do some legwork and would probably need to buy something that's hard to sell (in a bad area or needs a lot of work), but owner financing is possible and can avoid your bank issues. Just need to find a highly motivated seller.

I'm not sure I am comfortable doing that with anyone - unless both of us are close in some way.
 

Sanrith Descartes

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Not looking to purchase. These aren't mortgages I am applying for. These are rentals that are way above what any reasonable person would be paying on a mortgage. Even a place that costs $1600 a month when I make $5300 USD net income a month aren't biting, regardless of how much I put up front.

I'm reaching out to HUD and private rentals right now. Worst happens, I get a small loan on a manufactured house after 3 months of rebuilding credit with a local union. I don't qualify for Section 8, I make $85,000 a year and that's way above the threshold. My roommates may qualify for it, but I disqualify them.

I've had no issues paying for the last 2 years for any rentals. I have had no issues keeping my job. Just some stupid luck with friends & family having health issues.

I'm in an apartment right now that has the ceiling falling apart in the main hallway, with 3% asbestos which I confirmed after I had a striking suspicion they were lying to me about not having it (they were), and landlord is refusing to replace it. Chances are, they will likely be spiteful and not renew. I'm not sure, but I am not safe.

Beyond HUD, is there any other agencies to reach out to?
With all the moratoriums on evictions, renters are very skittish right now. If you are active in a local church try there also. If you haven't try real estate brokers. Many have a portfolio of rentals as well. They get a kick on each rental so they will do their best to find a place for you. If there is a college or university near by check the bulletin boards there. They are probably desperate for renters.

Also expand your search pattern. If it means a longer commute than so be it. At the end of the day, you just have to keep banging.
 

Sanrith Descartes

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I'm not sure I am comfortable doing that with anyone - unless both of us are close in some way.
Owner financing is normal. They don't have to deal with a buyer not funding and having to start the buyer search over again. It just means they own the home outright without a mortgage on it and thus can finance the sale. All the paperwork is the same as a bank funded sale, the difference is the seller holds the mortgage instead of a bank.
 

Daezuel

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If you have a flaking ceiling, paint it, it will trap the asbestos in.
 

Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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Owner financing is normal. They don't have to deal with a buyer not funding and having to start the buyer search over again. It just means they own the home outright without a mortgage on it and thus can finance the sale. All the paperwork is the same as a bank funded sale, the difference is the seller holds the mortgage instead of a bank.

Will give it a shot. Going to be making some posts in some Facebook groups soon. I'll keep an eye out for stuff like this. Are there any red flags I should be looking for beyond the whole, "person isn't who they are saying they are" deal?
 

Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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With all the moratoriums on evictions, renters are very skittish right now. If you are active in a local church try there also. If you haven't try real estate brokers. Many have a portfolio of rentals as well. They get a kick on each rental so they will do their best to find a place for you. If there is a college or university near by check the bulletin boards there. They are probably desperate for renters.

Also expand your search pattern. If it means a longer commute than so be it. At the end of the day, you just have to keep banging.

I work from home. There's basically no commute and my work is paying 'relocation' when I do find a new place, because of the dangerous situation I am in.

We order groceries here. We don't need a car as Lyft/Uber are actually decently affordable here ($5-10 a ride at times) and southeastern PA has reliable public transport. So basically, we have only the internet / utilities / small amount of grocery fees to pay for. Beyond that, my work pays for life/health/dental/vision insurance and my two roommates are on disability and have $1 copays thanks to PA's healthcare options.

We're trying to find anywhere at this point that's in a safe location with minimal crime. It doesn't have to be fancy. It has to not give me cancer the entire time I am residing in it, and have a low crime index for the area, and walkable preferred. Considering I will have a shit ton of expensive tech from work potentially... I cannot move to an area that is unsafe in terms of burglaries / theft.
 

Lanx

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No commercial mortgages are approved, as far as I am aware until 4 years after bankruptcy.

That being said, I've considered a manufactured home. Might be going with that option, as that will allow me to save considerably and at least have a temporary home for the next 2-4 years. I've got zero experience in that sector, though there is a lot in the area I want to stay in and it's convenient for me and my roommates.



The denial letter was only because of bankruptcy explicitly, and lack of active accounts, on both SmartMove and ResidentVerify, two of the bigger companies. So it's definitely that.
it seems the manufactured home area is in norristown by the river

they have a few houses for under 120k, they even have a nice one for 75k

looks like it was recently remodeled and theres even a new ac/furnace put in with that price
ac08267d176524a83271afb11712e08e.jpg


youre the definition of "beggers can't be choosers" you KNOW how fucked you are with that chapter 7, you KNOW how fucked you are dragging along another dude w/ collections you KNOW how fucked you are when you say to a landlord

"but we also have 2 cats, oh don't mind james over there, he just likes to weeze every so often!!!"

the 3 of you pool all your $$$ and sell everything you got to get 75k in cash and just out right buy the home, beg and suck dick if you have to to come up with that money
 

Khane

Got something right about marriage
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Where do you live that a landlord can legally ignore known asbestos issues? Eritrea?

Have you looked into contacting HUD about free legal consultation? Because here in CT the renters have pretty much all the rights. Including free legal consultation about any problems with their current units. And in the case of asbestos, not only would you be entitled to have it immediately removed and properly abated, you'd be entitled to hotel/motel fees in the interim while it's being taken care of.

It sounds like you're making the mistake of thinking your landlord has all the power, when in actuality, in most states in the USA, the opposite is true. Most renters just never actually look up what their rights are.

And when I say asbestos issues, I mean known issues such as frayed false ceiling tiling that is "shedding" or otherwise in bad condition or the like.
 
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Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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it seems the manufactured home area is in norristown by the river

they have a few houses for under 120k, they even have a nice one for 75k

looks like it was recently remodeled and theres even a new ac/furnace put in with that price
ac08267d176524a83271afb11712e08e.jpg


youre the definition of "beggers can't be choosers" you KNOW how fucked you are with that chapter 7, you KNOW how fucked you are dragging along another dude w/ collections you KNOW how fucked you are when you say to a landlord

"but we also have 2 cats, oh don't mind james over there, he just likes to weeze every so often!!!"

the 3 of you pool all your $$$ and sell everything you got to get 75k in cash and just out right buy the home, beg and suck dick if you have to to come up with that money
We aren't the definition of 'beggars can't be choosers'. We have nothing of value to really sell in our house. Hence the bankruptcy. Not going to sell my belongings that I don't have to get money for a house I can't afford. They have a word for what you're describing: "insanity".

Gotta be honest, I do know how fucked I am. Hence why I am making this post: to see what I am missing, if I am missing anything. However, idiotic advice like "go sell everything you don't have to buy a $75k USD house" are not helpful in the slightest. In fact, it's downright offensive and insulting. Not everyone has money saved up and spent their entire fucking life watching numbers go up and down on RobinHood. Some of us spent our time making elf simulators from a young age and grew the fuck up and have skillsets that should alone qualify us with flying colors for even a 2 bedroom.

If I had the means of getting that money immediately, I would, and this post wouldn't be here asking for advice.

I hope if you're ever in that situation that I am in right now that people do not nearly give you the amount of downright unhelpful advice that I am getting from you right now. I don't laugh at people having financial troubles during a pandemic.
 

Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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Where do you live that a landlord can legally ignore known asbestos issues? Eritrea?

Have you looked into contacting HUD about free legal consultation? Because here in CT the renters have pretty much all the rights. Including free legal consultation about any problems with their current units. And in the case of asbestos, not only would you be entitled to have it immediately removed and properly abated, you'd be entitled to hotel/motel fees in the interim while it's being taken care of.

It sounds like you're making the mistake of thinking your landlord has all the power, when in actuality, in most states in the USA, the opposite is true. Most renters just never actually look up what their rights are.

And when I say asbestos issues, I mean known issues such as frayed false ceiling tiling that is "shedding" or otherwise in bad condition or the like.

Pennsylvania. I'm going to look into what our rights are, but I am fairly certain there's nothing for PA renters. Checked the laws themselves about asbestos, and they aren't required to disclose or fix it. It's definitely 'shedding' and in bad condition.
 

Khane

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Let me help you start your search.

 

Secrets

ResetEra Staff Member
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Let me help you start your search.


Giving them a call tomorrow. I'm not a lawyer, don't know what kind of damages I would be entitled to - but googling showed very little information about my options.

Also - from that page: "If a landlord refuses to take action, you have the option of either breaking your lease without recourse or living in a potentially dangerous home rent-free."

In the case of the latter option, they could refuse to renew in April, and without a place to go in the meantime that would mean homelessness.
Breaking the lease without recourse would mean we would have nowhere to go.