The Automatic Stay and Residential Tenants in Las Vegas

Many homeowners file bankruptcy. Those facing a Las Vegas foreclosure are frequently advised that if they file before the process begins, they can stay in their homes because of the automatic stay. This is a powerful tool that bankruptcy gives debtors. It not only stops all collection efforts, but it also stops foreclosure actions. However, many people don’t own their homes but are in fact renters. Does filing bankruptcy give them any protection if their landlords try to evict them?

Yes, but it depends on where in the legal process the landlord is in evicting the tenant.

First, the tenant must be behind in his or her payments. The landlord must demand the rent, and then the landlord must begin an eviction proceeding in state court. Once the court has issued the landlord a judgment, which can have different terms in different jurisdictions, such as an “ejectment,” the tenant has no options but to leave the premises.

If, however, the tenant files bankruptcy before the landlord obtains the judgment, then the bankruptcy stays the eviction proceeding.

On the other hand, even if the landlord does obtain a judgment and then the tenant files bankruptcy, there are a handful of exceptions the tenant may able to use to remain on the premises. Namely, if the lease allows the tenant the right to cure the default on the lease, then he or she may be able to do so by repaying the landlord within thirty days of filing bankruptcy. Alternatively, the tenant may be able to deposit the amount of rent that would be due in the same thirty-day period with the court.

Regardless of whether the tenant has been evicted yet, bankruptcy does protect the tenant from other acts of the landlord. In particular, this applies to the landlord’s collection efforts for past rent.

Preventing a rental eviction is often a highly adversarial process, and landlords are a lot harder to deal with than impersonal creditors such as banks when their debtors file bankruptcy. For this reason it’s important to hire a smart, experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy to handle your case.

For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation by calling 702-880-5554.

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