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Help! Can You File Bankruptcy To Avoid Being Evicted?

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Many people who file for bankruptcy often have questions regarding how bankruptcy will affect certain situations. One of these common situations is whether or not you can be evicted if you have filed for bankruptcy protection. The answer really lies on when you file for bankruptcy and when the landlord wins the court judgment to evict you.

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was enacted on April 20, 2005. The act was put into place in order to make changes to the United States Bankruptcy Code that was already in place. Before 2005, if a tenant filed for bankruptcy protection, the landlord had the right to ask the court to proceed with the eviction process, essentially lifting the automatic stay.

However, since the law was enacted in 2005, landlords can essentially evict you, even if there is an automatic stay in place. This is only true in two cases: you filed for bankruptcy after the landlord won their judgment and you are being evicted for property endangering or illegal drug use.

Filing for Bankruptcy Before Landlord Wins Judgement

If you have already filed for bankruptcy protection and the landlord has not yet won a court judgment, the court will issue you an automatic stay. This automatic stay prevents your landlord from starting any eviction proceedings or serving you with an eviction notice. However, it is important to note that even with the automatic stay in effect, the landlord can file a court motion to have the automatic stay lifted, so they can proceed with the eviction process.

Filing for Bankruptcy After Landlord Wins Judgement

If you have already filed for bankruptcy protection and the landlord has already won a court judgment, the landlord still has the right to proceed with the eviction. Basically, it was just as though you never even filed for bankruptcy in the first place. While there are some exceptions to this, they vary pretty greatly depending on where you live. Some states have laws in place that allow you to still remain in your place of residence and catch up on the rental payments you are behind on.

So, while filing for bankruptcy can help you avoid being evicted, it also depends on when you filed and when the landlord filed. Filing for bankruptcy will not exclude you from paying your rent, but it may help with any back rent you may owe. There are also exceptions to the rule of bankruptcy and eviction, so you may want to consider consulting with an attorney to help you sort it all out. Check out for more information.