Bankruptcy, Eviction & Automatic Stay

Eviction is a serious legal matter. It is not, as some people think, a personal problem between a landlord and his or her tenant or tenants. If, the tenant fails to live up to his or her rental agreement with the landlord or fails to honor the contract, the landlord can begin the eviction process. In Los Angeles and Long Beach, this follows the laws of the State of California in this matter.

Typical Reasons For Eviction In Long Beach

The State of California allows a landlord to start eviction procedures if the tenant falls into any of the following categories:

  • Failure to pay the rent within the stated time
  • Failure to comply with the terms of the rental agreement or contract
  • If the tenant interferes with the quality of life of the other tenants

Other reasons may be included such as unlawful firearm. A landlord can also seek eviction if the tenant is manufacturing, dealing or trafficking with drugs.

Yet, will the landlord be able to file an unlawful detainer if the individual declares bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy and the Eviction Process

If a tenant files bankruptcy, will he or she thwart eviction? This is not always the case. Although the Automatic Stay is intended to prevent the landlord preceding with the action he or she started with a notice and followed up with an unlawful detainer, it may not be the permanent answer to this aspect of a tenant’s financial difficulty.

Before a tenant decided to file for bankruptcy he or she needs to consider all options. It is important to talk to a debt counselor as well as a bankruptcy expert and professionals at a housing clinic. After all, deciding to go bankrupt is no light matter. It will affect more than your rental situation. Declaring bankruptcy will have an impact upon your entire life.

If you decide to file for bankruptcy make sure you do it BEFORE the landlord files the unlawful detainer action (It usually does not apply if filed after.). This will result in an automatic stay being put into effect. This will prevent the actions of your landlord including the serving of a notice and the filing of an unlawful detainer. In other words, it will block the entire eviction process.


The results of declaring bankruptcy may result in temporary or permanent relief. Yet, the landlord may apply for and receive a relief from automatic stay so he or she can proceed with the eviction process in Los Angeles or Long Beach court. The court may also choose to lift the stay in order to provide the landlord with relief. This will require proof of need from the landlord.

Other exceptions to the stay can affect the outcome. The argument of bankruptcy is inapplicable if the landlord can prove the tenant is destructive to the property and/or is involved in the use of illegal substances. The bankruptcy can also come to nothing as a protective measure if the tenant fails to live up to the requirements, including failure to pay the requisite fees, lack of filing the required information. Furthermore, if it is discovered the tenant applied in bad faith, the bankruptcy and its protection form an automatic stay are off.

The eviction process, bankruptcy and an automatic stay are a potent mix. Declaring bankruptcy can effectively halt the eviction process in Los Angeles and Long Beach. However, it should also be done in its proper judicial context and not as a means to avoid paying rent.

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