Being threatened with eviction is usually just one symptom of many other underlying financial problems that may lead you to consider filing for bankruptcy. Once you are behind on bills, including your rent, the resulting burden of bills can begin to feel like an avalanche of debt. While dealing with collection agencies can be annoying, worry about you and your family being put out on the street can ratchet the stress level even higher. If you are in danger of being evicted and are wondering how filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy could help you, read on.
When your bankruptcy attorney officially files your bankruptcy petition with the court, you will automatically be protected from bill collections, utility disconnections and sometimes from evictions, depending upon how far along in the process your landlord has progressed.
Landlord has not yet filed eviction papers.
Timing is important, so if you can get your bankruptcy filed before your landlord files for eviction, you may get a reprieve, if only temporary. The amount of time this filing buys you varies from state to state, so consult with your attorney for more specific information. Sooner or later the landlord will be able to file a motion and proceed with the eviction, however.
It's important to note that the automatic stay means that you no longer need to make credit card payments. If, like many people, you have been struggling to make even the minimum payments, you will now be able to use some of that money to try to get caught up on your rent. At the very least, the automatic stay should give you an opportunity to make other living arrangements.
Landlord has filed eviction papers.
In most cases, if the paperwork has already been filed, the landlord will be able to proceed with the eviction. State laws vary somewhat concerning this rule as well, and some states do allow you to "cure" the debt by filing a certificate with the courts and paying your back rent.
Exceptions to the automatic stay.
It should be noted that the reason for your eviction is important. Not all evictions are based on owing back rent, and if your eviction falls under other issues, you may still be evicted, even with an automatic stay in place. Here are some other reasons for evictions that do not qualify for an automatic stay:
- Drug use.
- Misuse of property.
- Destruction of property.
- Sub-leasing of property.
- Allowing people not on the lease to live on the property.
Consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer like William C Fithian III is vital to determine how your state treats automatic stays and evictions. If you can be protected long enough to being your rent up-to-date, you may have a head start on getting your financial future on a better course.