Eviction Basics

A landlord commonly files an eviction complaint when a tenant fails to make their rent payment. According to your state law there could be other statutory reasons for an eviction filing. When the landlord files an eviction complaint the presiding court will set a court date.  This first date is for a hearing on the issue of possession of the property.  The court will schedule a second hearing if the landlord wants to claim money damages.  The timing of when you file a bankruptcy case determines what happens to your eviction case.

Filing Bankruptcy Before the First Court Hearing

Filing a bankruptcy case before the first eviction hearing will stop the eviction in its tracks.  This provides the tenant/debtor additional time to reside in the property.  The landlord will have to file a Motion for Relief from Stay in the bankruptcy case before doing anything else.  The tenant/debtor has 21 days to file a response to the motion.  The bankruptcy court will grant the relief from stay if there is no response.  Then the landlord can go back into state court to complete the eviction process.

Filing Bankruptcy After the First Court Hearing

The tenant/debtor is in a tougher position if the filing of a bankruptcy case comes after the judgment for possession.  11 U.S.C. § 362(b)(22) The bankruptcy court will extend the automatic stay to a tenant/debtor if they (1) files a certification with the bankruptcy court stating your state law allows you to cure the rent owed, and (2) deposits with the bankruptcy court any rent that will come due in the next 30 days.  If the tenant/debtor meets both conditions the automatic stay goes into effect for 30 days.  The tenant/debtor has 30 days to pay back the remaining rent.  The tenant/debtor will file another certification when rent is brought current.  At this point the stay remains in effect, and the tenant/debtor can remain in the property.

Application in Ohio

You need to be aware of your state’s landlord tenant laws to see if this process applies to your case.  Unfortunately, Ohio law does not allow a tenant to cure their rent default.  Therefore, Ohio debtors cannot stop a move out once a judgement for possession is granted.

In either scenario above the bankruptcy case will still get rid of any potential money judgment the landlord could obtain.  However, if the immediate reason for filing bankruptcy is to stop an eviction, it is important to understand what is going on in your eviction case.