What to do if I’m a landlord who leases a condo to a tenant who is behind 4 months on rent?

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What to do if I’m a landlord who leases a condo to a tenant who is behind 4 months on rent?

We went to court to evict but when we got there the tenant had filed for bankruptcy. I don’t have a clue what to do and have no money to seek legal advice. I assume if she is filing bankruptcy then I lose all past due rent but how do I get her out of my condo now? I can’t afford her mortgage along with my own.

Asked on August 6, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that while bankruptcy can slow down the eviction process, it cannot stop it. If a landlord sued their tenant for eviction and won a judgment for possession before the tenant filed for bankruptcy then they can proceed to evict the tenant. However, if a landlord has not won a judgment for eviction before their tenant files for bankruptcy they cannot deliver a termination notice; in such a situation this is due what is known the "automatic stay" (i.e. a halt to the bankruptcy proeceedings). That having been said, the landlord can go to the bankruptcy court and ask the judge to lift the stay so that they can proceed/commence the eviction. In most cases the stay is lifted in a matter of days.

This is just a brief overview and depending on the bankruptcy filed (a Chapter 7 or 13) and other facts of the case, things may be more complicated. At this point, you should consult with an attorney to be more fully informed as to your legal rights/remedies.


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