Can I file Bankruptcy to Stop an Eviction?
The short answer is YES; you can stop the eviction if the lease has a remaining term. However, a lot depends on the timing of the filing of the bankruptcy case. Whether a tenant has filed for bankruptcy before or after an eviction judgment is filed affects the steps a landlord has to take in order to regain possession of the rental unit.
What If the Tenant Files for Bankruptcy before the Landlord gets an Eviction Judgement?
Filing a bankruptcy case causes an “automatic stay” to take effect immediately. This automatic stay protection prevents a landlord from starting or continuing any eviction that was or could have been started prior to you filing for bankruptcy. If you’re behind on your rent, filing for bankruptcy will, at least temporarily, prevent or delay the landlord from filing an eviction case against you in court.
Can I Catch Up on Past Due Rent Using Chapter 13?
Yes, if you file a Chapter 13 before your landlord gets a judgment of eviction against you, you may be able to propose a Chapter 13 plan that cures the past due rent on the lease in a reasonable time and allows you to remain in the residence and possibly catch up on your rent.
What if I Don’t Intend to Remain There and Want to Move Out?
Filing a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy before the landlord gets a judgment of eviction means the landlord can only proceed with the eviction by asking the Bankruptcy Court to lift the stay protection. Asking the Court to lift the stay may give you additional days or even months to relocate without feeling forced to act quickly. Also, the bankruptcy will most likely allow you to eliminate any amounts you owe under the lease.
What If I Filed for Bankruptcy after an Eviction Judgment?
The landlord can evict a tenant, regardless of an automatic stay. If the landlord gets a court‑ordered judgment for possession prior to the tenant filing for bankruptcy. The landlord can ignore the automatic stay. Therefore, it is very important to act quickly. However, even if the landlord is allowed to evict, you should still consider a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing as a way to eliminate any amount you owe under the lease.
Do you Have More Questions About Bankruptcy and Eviction?
Contact our office for a Free Consultation with one of our Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys. Eviction and Bankruptcy law may vary depending on the state you reside in. If you have questions about eviction and bankruptcy and want to know more, it’s best to get in touch with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can answer any questions you may have and help advise you through the process. We offer FREE Case Evaluations.