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Stop Eviction Through Bankruptcy: A Comprehensive Guide

Suze Orman’s Perspective

Look, I get it – being a landlord ain‘t easy. You’ve got tenants who don‘t pay rent, trash your property, the whole nine yards. When that happens, you gotta get ’em out, right? But eviction can be a long, costly process. That‘s where bankruptcy comes in – it can put a stop to an eviction real quick.Now, I know what you‘re thinking: “Bankruptcy? That‘s for deadbeats who can’t pay their bills!” But it’s not that simple. Sometimes good people fall on hard times – they lose their job, they get sick, whatever. Filing bankruptcy gives ’em a chance to reorganize their finances and get back on their feet. And in the meantime, the “automatic stay” stops the eviction dead in its tracks.Here’s how it works:

The automatic stay is like a force field that protects the tenant from being evicted once they file for bankruptcy. It immediately stops any lawsuits, foreclosures, or other legal proceedings against themSource

But there‘s a catch – the stay only applies if the landlord hasn’t already gotten a judgment for possession of the property. If you’ve already won the eviction case in court, you can go ahead and boot that tenant out, bankruptcy or not.So let‘s say your deadbeat tenant files for bankruptcy in the middle of the eviction process. What do you do? You ask the bankruptcy court to give you relief from the automatic stay. Basically, you’re saying “Hey judge, this guy owes me rent money – let me finish kicking him out!”The court will probably grant that request if:

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  • The tenant can’t prove they’ll be able to pay you back the missed rent payments
  • There’s evidence of property damage or illegal activity on the premises

But if the tenant can show they‘ll get caught up on rent within a reasonable time frame, the court may let them stay put for now.Bottom line: bankruptcy can delay an eviction, but it won’t stop a determined landlord foreverYou just gotta know how to play the game.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Perspective

Alright landlords, listen up! We all know tenants can be a real pain sometimes. They’ll try anything to stay in your property, even filing for bankruptcy. But you gotta be smarter than that – don’t let ’em play you!The key is understanding how bankruptcy affects the eviction process. See, when a tenant files, it triggers this thing called the “automatic stay.” Sounds scary, right? Well it just means you gotta put the eviction on pause for a little bit.But don‘t worry, it’s not a total roadblock. If you already have a judgment from the court saying the tenant has to go, you can ask the bankruptcy judge to give you “relief from the stay.” Basically, you’re saying “Hey judge, this deadbeat owes me money – let me kick ’em out already!”Now, the judge might let the tenant stay a little longer if they can prove they’ll pay you back eventually. But at the end of the day, the landlord almost always wins these battles. You just gotta play your cards right.Here are a few tips for dealing with a bankruptcy eviction:

  • Gather evidence of property damage or illegal activity. Judges love that stuff – it’ll help you get relief from the stay for sure.
  • Highlight how much income you’re losing every month. Remind the court that this deadbeat is costing you serious cash flow.
  • Bring documentation of all rent owed. Don’t let the tenant try to lowball you on missed payments.

The bottom line? Bankruptcy might delay an eviction for a bit, but it won’t stop a savvy landlord like you. As long as you stay on top of things and present a strong case, you‘ll get that freeloader out of your property soon enough. It’s all about using the system to your advantage.

Ramit Sethi’s Perspective

Hey landlords! Dealing with an eviction can be a total headache, I know. Especially when that sneaky tenant tries pulling the bankruptcy card to stay in your property. But don’t stress – I’ve got some insider tips to help you handle it like a pro.First off, let‘s get one thing straight: the “automatic stay” that comes with bankruptcy isn‘t some magical forcefield protecting tenants forever. If you’ve already got a court judgment saying they gotta go, you can absolutely still evict them.The key is filing a “Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay” with the bankruptcy court. Basically, you‘re asking the judge “Hey, can I please finish kicking out this deadbeat who owes me thousands in unpaid rent?” And you know what? More often than not, the judge is gonna side with you.Now, there are a few things that can help tilt the odds even more in your favor:

  • Prove the tenant can’t pay you back. Judges want to see that there’s no way this person will ever get current on rent. Bank statements, pay stubs – anything showing they’re broke.
  • Document any property damage or illegal activity. Photos of holes in the walls, evidence of a meth lab – this stuff will have the judge saying “evict away!”
  • Show how much income you’re hemorrhaging. Missed mortgage payments, unpaid maintenance costs – remind the court that every month counts.

You get the idea. The more ammo you can give the judge showing what a nightmare this tenant is, the quicker you’ll get relief from that stay.And let‘s be real – even if the judge wants to give your deadbeat one last chance to get the rent paid, it’s probably just delaying the inevitable. Once that final ruling comes down, bankruptcy can’t protect them anymore. You just gotta be patient and play your cards right.So don‘t get intimidated by the B-word, landlords. A little preparation goes a long way in bankruptcy court. With the right strategy, you’ll be kicking those freeloaders to the curb in no time!

The Automatic Stay Explained

When a tenant files for bankruptcy, one of the key protections is something called the “automatic stay.” But what exactly does that mean for landlords trying to evict? Let‘s break it down:

The automatic stay immediately stops any lawsuits, foreclosures, evictions, or other legal proceedings against the person who filed for bankruptcy. It‘s like a giant “pause” button to give the court time to sort things out. Source

So in plain English – if your tenant declares bankruptcy in the middle of an eviction case, that eviction is put on hold until further notice from the bankruptcy court. The stay kicks in automatically the moment that bankruptcy petition is filed.But here‘s the catch – the automatic stay doesn’t apply if the landlord already has a judgment of possession from the court before the bankruptcy filing. In that scenario, the landlord can go ahead and complete the eviction despite the bankruptcy.It’s also important to note that the stay is temporary. As a landlord, you can ask the bankruptcy court to lift or modify the stay so you can proceed with removing the tenant. More on that in a bit.

How to Get Relief from the Automatic Stay

Okay, so your deadbeat tenant pulled the bankruptcy card right in the middle of evicting them. Don’t panic! The automatic stay may pause things for a bit, but it doesn‘t mean you’re stuck with them forever.The key is filing a “Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay” with the bankruptcy court. This is basically you saying:“Hey judge, I know my tenant declared bankruptcy, but they still owe me a ton of unpaid rent. Can I please continue with the eviction already?”Now, the court doesn’t just automatically grant these motions. You’ll need to present a solid case for why you deserve relief from the stay. A few things that can help:

  • Prove the tenant has no way to pay the missed rent. Judges want to see evidence that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel – bank statements, pay stubs, whatever shows this person is flat broke.
  • Document any property damage or illegal activity. Photos of holes in the walls, police reports about a meth lab on the premises – this stuff will have the judge saying “evict away!”
  • Show how much income you’re hemorrhaging each month. Missed mortgage payments, repair costs, unpaid utilities – remind the court that every month with this deadbeat is costing you serious cash.

The more ammo you can give the judge showing what a nightmare tenant this person is, the better your chances of getting relief.Now, the court may still give your tenant one last chance to get current on rent before granting the motion. But in most cases, that’s just delaying the inevitable. Once that final ruling comes down saying you can proceed with eviction, the bankruptcy can‘t protect them anymore.So don‘t get intimidated by tenants pulling that bankruptcy card, landlords. With the right preparation and evidence, you can absolutely still remove them from your property. It may take some patience, but playing your cards right in bankruptcy court will pay off.

When Bankruptcy Can’t Stop an Eviction

While bankruptcy can sometimes delay or complicate an eviction case, there are certain situations where it flat-out can‘t stop the landlord from removing the tenant. Here are a few key examples:

The Landlord Already Has a Judgment for Possession

If the landlord has already won an eviction judgment from the court before the tenant files for bankruptcythe automatic stay won’t apply. The landlord is free to complete the eviction process and remove the tenant from the property despite the bankruptcy filing.

There’s Evidence of Illegal Activity or Property Endangerment

Even if the eviction case is still ongoing when the tenant declares bankruptcy, the landlord may be able to bypass the automatic stay by providing certification to the court that:

  • The tenant has participated in illegal drug use or activity on the property
  • The tenant has endangered the property in some way

As long as the landlord serves this certification properly, they can proceed with eviction after a short waiting period unless the tenant objects and the court rules otherwise.

The Tenant Can’t Prove Ability to Pay Missed Rent

When a landlord requests relief from the automatic stay to continue an eviction for non-payment of rent, the court will consider whether the tenant has any real ability to get caught up on missed payments. If the tenant can’t demonstrate a solid plan and means to pay the back rent owed, the court is likely to allow the eviction to proceed.So while bankruptcy can sometimes throw a wrench into the eviction process, it’s certainly not an ironclad protection for tenants in every scenario. As long as landlords understand the limitations and exceptions, they can often still remove problem tenants despite the bankruptcy filing.

Potential Pitfalls to Avoid

Even with all the tips and strategies we‘ve covered, trying to evict a tenant in bankruptcy still comes with some potential pitfalls to watch out for. Here are a few key ones:

Not Properly Serving Tenant with Required Notices

Specific notification requirements often apply when a landlord is trying to evict a tenant who has filed for bankruptcy. For example, the landlord may need to properly serve the tenant with:

  • Notice of the Motion for Relief from Stay
  • Certification of any illegal activity or endangerment on the property
  • Copies of any court orders lifting the automatic stay

Failing to follow all notification rules to a T can result in delays or even dismissal of your eviction case. Don’t let a silly paperwork mistake drag things out!

Falling Behind on Mortgage/Tax Payments During Delays

One big risk of a tenant bankruptcy filing is that it could force delays in you being able to collect rent for several months. Can you afford to fall behind on your mortgage, tax, insurance, and utility payments on the property during that time?Having a financial safety net is crucial, or you may have to spend even more money down the road to get caught up. Create a budget and plan for how you’ll cover expenses if the eviction gets held up.

Not Keeping Thorough Documentation

From day one of any eviction case, it’s absolutely vital to keep meticulous records and documentation of everything – every missed rent payment, every repair cost, every photo of property damage, every legal notice sent, etc.All of this paperwork will be critical evidence to present to the bankruptcy court when trying to get relief from the automatic stay. Don’t rely on your memory – you need those paper trails!

Expecting a Guaranteed Win in Bankruptcy Court

While landlords often do get the rulings they want from bankruptcy judges when it comes to evictions, it‘s never a 100% guarantee. There’s always a chance the court could side with the tenant and keep delaying the eviction process.Don’t just assume you’ll automatically get relief from the stay. Prepare a strong, airtight case using all the strategies we‘ve covered, but also have a backup plan in case the bankruptcy complications drag on longer than expected.Dealing with a tenant bankruptcy is rarely easy for landlords. But avoiding these potential pitfalls can help ensure you navigate the process as smoothly as possible when trying to remove a problem renter from your property.

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