Tenant in Bankruptcy Fighting Eviction

7 Replies

I have a tenant that just declared chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Northern District of Ohio, Toledo Bankruptcy Court and quit paying rent.  He stuck me with $1,000 in unpaid sewer bills also.  His lawyer informed me that I cannot evict him and won't give me any additional information aside from a case number.  I have done some reading online and it appears that the tenant is protected under bankruptcy law with a "automatic stay" which prevents collection actions or eviction.  It seems that I can get a "relief of stay" so that I can evict him, but I don't know the process and I'm traveling for work so couldn't handle it myself anyway if I need to be in a courtroom.

I've contacted several local lawyers but they all work on the other side, filing for bankruptcy and defending defaulters.  I'm searching for a lawyer, or even a property manager, who can guide me through this process and hopefully get my property freed up to rent again.  Collecting damages for past due rent and outstanding sewer bills (that get assessed to my taxes) would certainly be nice too.

My initial reaction is the $1000 in sewer bills is partially your fault for not staying on top of the rental!  I would see if there is any way to get him out by talking to him, even paying him something small to leave is better than him staying.  I've heard of people doing illegal things to force deadbeat renters to leave but I won't post it here.  I doubt you would collect anything from him, if he has no money you can only hurt his credit more, and the bankruptcy is going to hurt him the most anyway.

Yes I agree, this is my first rental and I haven't been stateside since I purchased it two years ago so I offload the operation to my property manager. I had requested duplicate copies of the sewer bill, but apparently once I transferred my property to my LLC the sewer department stopped sending them. Regardless, the tenant knew what they were doing because the sewer department was sending them my duplicate copy also.

Eric,

You say that you can "off Load" to a PM, so they should know how to walk you thru this process. As a PM, we typically handle the whole eviction with an attorney from beginning to end. I would lawyer up with a Real estate attorney or one that specializes in Landlord Tenant Law.

Kim, My rental is in a small city and my property manager is new and inexperienced with bankruptcy evictions. I have searched online but don't believe there is a more experienced property manager in my area. I've been looking for a good bankruptcy lawyer to sort this out but I haven't had much luck calling around. I've called five today and four don't handle these types of cases from the landlord perspective.

@Matt Weisenburger

If anyone handles the landlord side of things it Matt- he's part of our REIA group PIN in Toledo as well as the legal counsel for my brokerage, Stonehenge Realty. (Matt just handled an eviction with me Monday we well)

Matt- can you advise?

You are correct in that you would need to file a relief from stay.  

Matt,

Is that a particularly complex process?  Is that something that you could help me with?

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here