Eviction and Bankruptcy

Finding an eviction notice on your front door isn't exactly a welcome home.  If you've received an eviction notice, you first need to figure out what kind of “eviction notice” it is.  The notice may either be directly from your landlord, from a court, or from a sherrif.  The difference is important. 

If the eviction notice is from your landlord, it will likely demand you to either pay any unpaid rent within a few days or move out of the unit.  In most states, the period to either “pay rent or quit” is 3 or 5 days long.  If you fail to do either, your landlord may file his or her eviction lawsuit in court.
 
If the eviction notice is from the court, it is probably a summons notifying you that your landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit.  However, you will have a chance to defend yourself in court.
 
If the notice is from the sheriff's office, it is probably an order to vacate by a certain date. If you don't, a sheriff can come by and physically remove you from the premises. 
 
You should contact a lawyer if you get any of these kinds of eviction notices.  Remember, you ultimately have the right to defend yourself in court – so if you haven’t been given that opportunity yet, a lawyer may be able to get the notice set aside and advise you of what legal options are available for your situation.

Can I be evicted if I file for bankruptcy?

Yes, in some circumstances. While a bankruptcy filing does prevent your landlord from terminating your lease or filing an eviction lawsuit against you, the landlord is likely to be able to get permission from the bankruptcy court to terminate your lease and/or evict you in a relatively short period of time.

Do I have tell my landlord that I have filed for bankruptcy?

No. You have no obligation to tell your landlord that you have filed for bankruptcy. However, you may look at your lease to see if it contains any provisions about a tenant filing for bankruptcy, such as being grounds for terminating your lease. Plus, your landlord is likely to become a creditor in your bankruptcy proceedings, so he or she may receive notice of the bankruptcy directly from the court.

Can my landlord evict me for filing bankruptcy even if I am current on my rent payments?

In some cases, your landlord can evict you for filing bankruptcy, even if you have paid your rent in full. Some leases give your landlord the right to evict you and/or terminate your lease for any reason or no reason, including filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy might temporarily delay eviction and/or lease termination proceedings, it will not stop the proceedings.

If I am being evicted by my landlord, can I stop the eviction by filing for bankruptcy?

Maybe, depending on the stage of your eviction proceedings. If your landlord has already completed eviction proceedings and won a judgment of possession, a last-minute bankruptcy filing will not stop your eviction. On the other hand, if the eviction is not complete, a bankruptcy filing may temporarily delay your eviction proceedings, but is unlikely to stop the proceedings altogether.

For more information on eviction, contact a landlord tenant attorney.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

Related Topics In This Section

Search LawInfo's Eviction Resources

State Eviction Articles