If you are behind on your debts, you also may be having a hard time paying your rent. By filing for bankruptcy, you may be able to stay eviction proceedings. The bankruptcy lawyers at Anidjar & Levine provide guidance to Fort Lauderdale residents on whether filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 may help you avoid an eviction. We will carefully explore the details of your case to help you decide if bankruptcy is an appropriate course of action for you.Facing Evictions in Florida
When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay stops most creditor attempts to collect on a debt, including eviction proceedings. In 2005, however, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act gave landlords the right to evict tenants if the landlord has a judgment for possession of the property prior to the tenant filing for bankruptcy. In other words, the automatic stay does not stop a landlord from evicting you once the landlord has gotten a judgment against you.
If you have fallen behind on your rent but the landlord has not obtained a judgment, you may stall an eviction proceeding through bankruptcy. Once you file for bankruptcy, the landlord cannot start the eviction process without first asking the court to remove the automatic stay. Many courts will lift the automatic stay to allow a landlord to proceed with an eviction, but you may be able to at least temporarily delay that process.How to Keep Your Home
If you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, the trustee in your case has 60 days to decide whether to assume or reject your lease. If you are current on your rent, the trustee is unlikely to look into the lease. Your landlord may request proof that you can make your rent payments, but as long as you stay current, a landlord is unlikely to take any further action. If you are behind on your rent, but the landlord does not have a judgment against you, you can avoid an eviction by bringing your rent payments up-to-date and continuing to stay current on your rent. If the trustee in your case decides to reject the lease, or if it is not assumed within 60 days after the filing, the landlord can proceed with an eviction.
If you are current on your rent and file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, you can wait until the confirmation of your repayment plan to decide whether or not you can afford your lease. If you are behind on your rent, you must include any overdue rent payments in your repayment plan and stay current on your future payments to avoid eviction.
Landlords usually require assurances that you will cure any defects, stay current on your rent, and provide compensation for any financial losses if you assume a lease in bankruptcy. In some cases, however, the landlord may evict you regardless of where you are in the bankruptcy process.
This may happen if you endanger the premises or use illegal drugs on the property. The landlord does not need to ask the court to lift the automatic stay in these situations. Instead, the landlord can file a certificate with the court stating that you have either damaged the property or engaged in illegal activity on the property within the past 30 days. If you do not object in time, the court will decide in the landlord’s favor, and the landlord can proceed with the eviction. If you do object, the court will hold a hearing to determine if you did cause damage to the property or engage in any illegal drug use.Lawyers for Hollywood Residents Facing Bankruptcy
If you are running the risk of falling behind on your rent payments, or if you have already fallen behind, you may have more options than you realize. The Hollywood bankruptcy attorneys at Anidjar & Levine can review your case and discuss whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can offer a way for you to avoid an eviction. We have helped numerous clients make a fresh start through bankruptcy. Our South Florida lawyers can provide knowledgeable and compassionate guidance if you decide to proceed with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. For a free and confidential consultation, please call us at (800) 747-FREE or contact us online today.