Does Filing Bankruptcy Stop an Eviction? – San Diego Landlord Tenant and Bankruptcy Attorney

Oftentimes, tenants that are facing eviction have additional unpaid debts which make filing for bankruptcy a legitimate option. In these cases, tenants often ask whether the filing of a bankruptcy case will stop, or “stay” a pending eviction.

If an individual files for bankruptcy before his/her landlord files an eviction, or unlawful detainer, lawsuit, the eviction is placed on hold due to the automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy code. In that case, the landlord must request that the bankruptcy court allow him/her to move forward with the eviction. Those requests are typically granted, but can slow the eviction proceedings down by approximately two to four weeks.

Additionally, if an individual files bankruptcy after the eviction lawsuit has been filed, but before a judgment for possession of the property has been entered, the landlord must place the eviction lawsuit on hold and request that the court allow him/her to proceed. Again, these requests are typically granted, but can slow the proceedings down by approximately two to four weeks.

If, however, a landlord obtains a judgment for possession of the property and the individual files for bankruptcy after judgment was entered, the Sheriff will move forward and enforce the judgment by administering a lock out of the property. It should be noted, however, that in this situation, an individual filing for bankruptcy may be able to stop the lockout from occurring if: (i) the judgment in the eviction proceedings was for nonpayment of rent; (ii) within 30 days of filing bankruptcy the individual certifies that under applicable California law, tenants may avoid eviction by paying unpaid rent, plus any court costs and attorney’s fees awarded to the landlord; (iii) the individual deposits that sum owed with the bankruptcy court clerk, plus any rent due 30 days from the date of the bankruptcy case filing; and (iv) the individual certifies to the bankruptcy court that those amounts have been paid.

The interplay between eviction and bankruptcy is not complicated, but everyone’s circumstances are different. To find out whether a bankruptcy filing can stop an eviction that you are a party to, please contact us at info@thevclawgroup.com or 858.519.7333 to discuss your situation.