Does an automatic stay effect debt incurred after a bankruptcy filing?
I have a tenant who broke the rental lease and moved out of state at the beginning of last month. I received a court notice that they filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy prior to that. The paid the rent until last month. So they owe me for that, plus for damage they caused. I know that their debt that incurred prior to the filing is protected by the automatic stay, but what they owe me occurred after the bankruptcy filing, so can I pursue it? I plan on bringing a law sue in the small claims court but want to make sure that I don't violate the automatic stay.
This depends on the terms of the lease. Is this a month-to-month lease, or a lease for a term? If the latter, then there can't be any rental charges after the bankruptcy case is filed, unless the lease expired and they remained on the property and didn't pay rent.
If there is no lease, and they were month-to-month tenants when the Chapter 7 case was filed, then they also can't owe anything else--again, unless they stayed in possession of the property after the bankruptcy case was filed and failed to pay rent.
Mark J. Markus, Attorney at Law
Handling exclusively bankruptcy law cases in California since 1991.
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