Rent Arrears & Bankruptcy

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    Eviction Delay

    • Once you file for bankruptcy, the court issues an "automatic stay" against your creditors, including your landlord. If your landlord has not yet filed for eviction against you, he won't be able to unless he asks the bankruptcy court for permission to do so. However, if he filed for eviction before you filed for bankruptcy, your bankruptcy filing won't delay the eviction process.

    Lifting the Automatic Stay

    • Bankruptcy law gives landlords the right to go to court and ask the judge to lift the automatic stay. Judges usually grant this request, which means that your landlord can continue to try to collect back rent from you and may proceed with an eviction. Unless you are able to negotiate matters with your landlord, the automatic stay of bankruptcy may only give you a few extra weeks in your home before the eviction process begins.

    Back Rent and Reaffirmation

    • If you owe your landlord rent and he wants you out of your apartment, you can include the back rent in your debts, which can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or possibly included in a Chapter 13 payment plan. If your landlord is willing to work with you, however, you may be able to reaffirm your lease and remain in your home, provided you can repay any back rent owed, while also fulfilling your other bankruptcy obligations.

    Credit and Tenant Screening Reports

    • The combination of both a bankruptcy and an eviction on your tenant screening report can make it very difficult for you to find rental housing in the future. If you are having financial difficulties and fear that you cannot pay your rent, talk to your landlord. Try to avoid eviction by asking your landlord to terminate your lease so you can move right away. You may also want to look into landlord-tenant mediation services in your area, which can let you work out an agreement with your landlord without going to court.

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