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Can You Use Bankruptcy to Delay an Eviction?


To help renters during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor DeSantis suspended evictions based on non-payment until July 1. But that suspension will soon come to an end, what can tenants do if they are still unable to pay their rent? This has been a difficult time financially for many people, and not all jobs have come back.

Bankruptcy might be an option. When a debtor files for bankruptcy protection, an automatic stay immediately springs into effect. This stay prohibits a creditor from taking any action taken against the debtor, and it also applies to landlords who are trying to evict a tenant.

Of course, bankruptcy is not free. And those who are behind on rent need to carefully consider all options before rushing to court and seeking bankruptcy protection. Contact one of our Plantation bankruptcy attorneys today for help with your case.

The Automatic Stay is Temporary

Although the stay will halt an eviction, it does not last forever. Indeed, your landlord might ask the bankruptcy court to lift the stay immediately, and many bankruptcy judges will grant the request. This means the eviction process can start back up and you can be forcibly removed from your home.

Generally, it takes a few weeks to lift the stay. During that time, a debtor needs to get someplace else to stay. You might also be able to find the money to pay any past-due rent payments, which might allow you to stay in your home. If you filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your landlord might just wait for it to play out before evicting you. A typical Chapter 7 takes about 3-4 months from start to finish.

Remember that the automatic stay will not help you if your landlord obtained a final judgment of eviction before you filed for bankruptcy. In that case, he or she can move to evict you immediately.

You Can Eliminate Unpaid Rent

Once you vacate the premises, you will not have to pay any rental arrears, nor will you have to pay rent going forward, since your lease will no longer be in effect. These are excellent reasons for considering bankruptcy. If your rent was simply too high, you can walk away free and clear.

True, you will need to find a new place to live. However, eliminating any rental arrears can often free up considerable money and relieve stress. You can also eliminate other qualifying debts in a bankruptcy, like credit card balances and personal loans. Unsecured medical debt can also be discharged.

One negative to consider is that the bankruptcy will show up on your credit report, and many landlords pull this report before agreeing to let an apartment. One option is to try and line up a new place to stay before filing for bankruptcy.

Learn More in a Free Consultation

The Plantation bankruptcy attorneys at Nowack & Olson, PLLC have helped the Broward County community with bankruptcy for years, and we can discuss your options in a free consultation. To speak with us, please call us today at 888-813-4737.



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