The Virtual Stop Sign Of Bankruptcy: The Automatic Stay And Evictions

4 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog

There are few legal documents more powerful and immediate-acting than the automatic stay afforded by a bankruptcy filing. You can be protected from evictions, collection calls, utility disconnections and more by simply filing your bankruptcy petition in federal court. Even if you are months behind on your rent, you can often remain in your home, at least temporarily, so read on to learn more about how the bankruptcy automatic stay affects evictions.

Timing Matters

The level of protection afforded by the automatic stay depends a great deal of how far along in the process your landlord has progressed in the eviction procedure:

No Official Filing of Eviction in Court

If you have fallen behind in your rent and your landlord is threatening you with eviction, you may have a reprieve. Keep in mind that you may still be evicted from your home at some point, but the bankruptcy filing will provide you with some more time to get caught up on your rent or to at least make alternate living arrangements. The amount of time allowed before the landlord can proceed with the filing varies by state. It's important to remember that once you have filed for bankruptcy, you can stop making those large minimum payments on your credit cards, so you may now have more money to put toward securing a place to live.

Eviction Papers Have Been Filed

If your landlord makes it to court before you can file your bankruptcy petition, the eviction will very likely be allowed to proceed. Keep in mind that eviction laws vary greatly from state to state, so even if the eviction proceeds you may have some time to get your rent payments caught up. Some states have provisions that allow a tenant to "cure" the eviction by paying the balance due on rent. 

Exceptions to Eviction's Automatic Stay Rules

You should understand that the automatic stay does not protect you from eviction for reasons other than failure to pay rent. Violations of the lease agreement, criminal activity in the home, drug use, unauthorized people living in the home, misuse and destruction of property, and other issues that could be listed as reasons on the eviction filing can still deprive you of a place to live, if you are in violation.

To learn more about how eviction laws work in your state, and how bankruptcy's automatic stay could give you some breathing room when it comes to evictions and other issues, contact your bankruptcy attorney, like Greg Dunn Bankruptcy Attorney, as soon as possible.