Can a car be attached in an eviction?

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Can a car be attached in an eviction?

Hello thank you for reading my question I appreciate it very much. My elderly mother is being evicted. She has an older car worth about $4500. I am worried it will be attached for back rent that is owed. Can this happen? She has no assets and no cash, no checking account. The car is the only thing she has.Thank you so much.

Asked on August 6, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The car cannot be *directly* attached, unless your mother had signed something offering the car as a guaranty or security for her rent obligations. Apart from that, the eviction and rent owed has nothing *directly* to do with the car.

"Directly" is emphasized because IF the landlord sues for back rent and wins, and you mother does not or cannot pay, the landlord can try to use one of seveal other remedies to secure payment. If you mother had an income, for example, her income could potentially be garnished. (Most forms of retirement income are protected; a lawyer could advise your mother as to her specific case.) Another remedy which is theoretically available to the landlord, if it sues and wins, is to execute on property--i.e. to get a court order having some of your mother's property sold. This takes some effort on the landlord's part, so it's far from certain that a landlord would do this--or even sue a woman who seems to not have the ability to pay--but if the landlord chooses to sue and wins, it could then, as one possibly way to get paid, look to execute on the car.


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