Now that the eviction moratorium imposed by the State of Maryland and the Federal Government during the pandemic is expiring, more people are asking me how bankruptcy can protect their rights as a Tenant. There are many ways bankruptcy can be an affordable option to allow you to stay in your home or apartment, and to work out a reasonable way to either pay your landlord over time or vacate the premises without the trauma of an eviction. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer helping you in this very specialized area of law is important.
Upon filing bankruptcy, an automatic stay is created which applies to Tenants for at least thirty days after the bankruptcy is filed-under certain circumstances. It is important to note, bankruptcy court is a court of equity, which means that the Court must do what is right and fair. Sometimes, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer such as Adam M. Freiman and Freiman Law, P.C. can help you convince a Judge as to why you have a legal right to cure the back rent, among some other procedural requirements.
Rights for Tenants differ depending on if the eviction proceedings have begun, and how far they have progressed. If the eviction proceedings have advanced to where the Sheriff is scheduled to come to your home to evict you, bankruptcy filing grants you a 30-day reprieve on the eviction if you can pay a month’s rent at the time of filing your bankruptcy petition and meet certain other conditions outlined above.
Certainly, another option if you were scheduled to be evicted would be to file bankruptcy to discharge the back rent, as opposed to paying it, which would allow you to “discharge” (ie, release) the debt and surrender the premises to the landlord.
If you are several months behind on rent or have other reasons to suspect your landlord may be planning to evict you, filing for bankruptcy may be the best course of action to stop the proceedings. An experienced lawyer like Adam M. Freiman can help you show the Judge that the bankruptcy was filed with good intentions, and not simply for the sole reason of stalling your landlord. This is an important component and requires an experienced attorney, well versed in the law.
Evictions where the eviction date has yet to be set (before a “Judgment of Possession” has been awarded) must stop immediately upon the filing of the bankruptcy case. This is true even if the eviction is for a reason other than non-payment or late payment of rent. Once the bankruptcy process has started, your landlord must then get permission from the Bankruptcy Court in order to proceed with the eviction. This can be a lengthy process, and many landlords are not familiar with the bankruptcy process. This gives you a significant advantage when you are represented by an experienced bankruptcy lawyer like Adam M. Freiman and Freiman Law, P.C.
As a general rule, bankruptcy can be an effective way to reorganize your financial condition into one that works better for you than for your creditors.