If my landlord has started eviction proceedings, will bankruptcy stop the eviction?

Learn if bankruptcy can stop you from being evicted.

Question: My landlord has started eviction proceedings, but does not yet have an eviction judgment. If I file for bankruptcy, will that stop the eviction?

Answer: If your landlord does not yet have a judgment for possession (an eviction judgment), bankruptcy's automatic stay will stop the eviction, at least temporarily. There are a few exceptions to this rule. 

(If the landlord already has a judgment, the eviction can proceeds. For more information, see Will Declaring Bankruptcy Prevent Eviction?)

Exceptions to the Automatic Stay for Evictions

Even if the landlord does not have a judgment against you, the landlord can still evict you if the eviction is based on:

  •  your endangerment to the rental property, or 
  •  your illegal use of controlled substances on the property. 

The landlord must certify that the endangerment or illegal use of controlled substances has occurred within the past 30 days.

The Landlord Can Ask the Court to Lift the Stay

If one of the two exceptions above do not apply, the landlord can still ask the bankruptcy court to "lift" or remove the stay. If the court agrees, the stay is removed and the landlord can continue with eviction proceedings. Because your tenancy often has no bearing on your bankruptcy estate, courts are inclined to lift the stay.

by: , J.D.

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