Will Filing For Bankruptcy Stop an Eviction?

The answer is: maybe, maybe not. If you file for bankruptcy protection under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, you are granted certain immediate protections from creditors, including protection from many types of collection activities. This immediate protection is referred to as an “automatic stay.”

It is provided for in section 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code. Its purpose is to give you “a breathing spell” from creditors, “stopping all collection efforts, all harassment, and all foreclosure actions.” As such, the it prohibits creditors from pursuing most types of collection activities while your bankruptcy case is pending, including disconnecting your utilities and/or making harassing telephone calls. It does not, however, provide protection against all creditor actions. Eviction attempts are one such action that may or may not be protected against under the automatic stay.

If a court has already ruled to allow your landlord or lessor to re-possess your property, an eviction has already been approved and the automatic stay cannot help you. If, however, there has not yet been any court action regarding your eviction at the time you file your bankruptcy petition, the automatic stay may be able to postpone and/or stop your eviction.

However, it is worth noting that it can only help you if your landlord is attempting to evict you for nonpayment of rent. If you are being evicted for some other reason, such as the illegal use of controlled substances or endangerment to the property, an automatic stay will not affect the proceeding.

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