Learning About Bankruptcy Proceedings

Two Ways Your Landlord Can Still Evict You After You File For Bankruptcy

by Seth Beck

If you're behind on rent, it's usually just a matter of time before your landlord tries to evict you from the home. You can effectively stop an eviction attempt by filing for bankruptcy before your landlord can acquire an eviction order from the court. While the automatic stay makes it illegal for the landlord to put you out while it's in effect, there are actually two ways the person can circumvent the bankruptcy filing and still evict you. Here's more information about this issue.

Petition to Lift Automatic Stay

One way your landlord can get past the automatic stay is to ask the court to lift it so he or she can proceed with the eviction. This typically involves the landlord filing a "Motion to Lift Automatic Stay" and then detailing at a hearing why the court should grant his or her request. You will typically be notified when this occurs and must show up at the hearing to defend yourself against the landlord's accusations of non-payment.

In many cases, the court will allow the landlord to proceed with the eviction. The court may deny the landlord's request, though, if you can provide a compelling reason for the court to do so. For instance, the court may show leniency towards you if the landlord is trying to evict you in the middle of winter. You can also defeat a motion to lift the stay by filing a certification showing the laws in your state allow you to continue staying in home as long as you pay the delinquent amount within a certain period of time.

Damage to the Premises or Illegal Drug Use

The landlord can also get permission to continue the eviction proceeding without asking for the stay to be lifted if he or she can prove you are damaging the premises or using illegal substances on the property. For instance, if the landlord has proof that you use marijuana and it hasn't been legalized in your state, he or she can use that to get an eviction request approved, even if a doctor prescribed it to you to treat a disease.

It's important to note, though, that the landlord must prove you used illegal substances or damaged the home within the 30 days prior to filing his or her petition for continuation of the eviction process. If there is no evidence of illegal actions or damage for this time period, then the court will likely deny the landlord's request.

For more information on using bankruptcy to postpone an eviction from your home, contact a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy law.