Tenants contemplating bankruptcy

I Can’t Pay My Rent and My Landlord Is Going to Evict Me. Will Filing Bankruptcy Help?

Filing for bankruptcy will delay the process of eviction if your landlord has filed or is about to file an eviction. This is because as soon as your bankruptcy case is filed, the bankruptcy court will issue what is called an Automatic Stay of collection efforts. This is an order to all of the creditors listed in your case (and you will have to include your landlord in this list) to cease and desist with any collection efforts, including eviction actions.

Once you have filed your bankruptcy case, you or your attorney should show up for the eviction hearing and/or otherwise notify the eviction court that a bankruptcy filing has been made. The opposing party or its counsel is likely going to ask you for the Case Number in the Bankruptcy Court so you will want to have that handy, or better yet, a copy of something from the bankruptcy court showing your name and the bankruptcy court case number.

If you are facing eviction because of an inability to pay your debts, you should see an attorney in your geographic area who regularly practices in bankruptcy law as soon as possible. You cannot meet with your bankruptcy attorney on Wednesday and expect to have him file the case that same day, or even the next day. Bankruptcy attorneys are very busy and there are a lot of forms that need to be carefully filled out. Further, some jurisdictions require that the debtor attend certain classes on money management before the filing and if the certificate of attendance is no with the filing, then it will be rejected.

The bankruptcy attorney you select will want to see a list of all of your creditors to whom you owe money so that the attorney can list them in the bankruptcy filing. The more creditors you list, the more debt you may have discharged. If you don’t list someone to whom you owe money, then there is a good chance that after the bankruptcy, you will still owe that person money. So you want to list every creditor you can possibly think of to whom you owe or might owe money. Even if you know that the debt to that person is non-dischargeable (meaning that you can’t get rid of it in bankruptcy, you still need to list that creditor(s)).

A good starting point is to get online and order a credit report before you see your bankruptcy attorney. While this will not list everyone to whom you owe money, it will get you started since it will have all of the creditor’s contact numbers who have felt the urge to ding your credit. There are three major credit reporting services, Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. There are several online services which will sell you a copy of your credit report for just over $20.00. For this sum, they will send you a copy of all three credit reports in an easy to understand format.