My tenant has filed for bankruptcy. Can I still proceed with an eviction action against the tenant?
In these situations where the tenant claims to have filed bankruptcy, a landlord must determine if that is actually the case. Oftentimes, it is at the eviction hearing that the tenant notifies the landlord for the first time that he or she has filed for bankruptcy. If the tenant cannot produce a case number or a document proving that he or she has actually filed for bankrutpcy, the landlord should attempt to proceed with the eviction hearing. Tenants often confuse talking to a bankruptcy lawyer with filing for bankruptcy. It may not be clear to the tenant that they still have to pay the bankruptcy lawyer before the bankruptcy filing will take place.
If the tenant has indeed filed for bankruptcy then the bankruptcy proceeding will bring the eviction action to a stop. If the landlord has already been awarded restitution at the eviction hearing, the tenant can still file for bankruptcy and stop the eviction process. Basically, the landlord is in a race with the tenant. The landlord must get the tenant out of the premises (in a lawful manner) before the tenant files for bankruptcy. If the tenant files for bankruptcy while he or she is still in the premises, the tenant can stop the eviction proceedings.