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Getting sued by landlord after filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Springfield, IL |

I'll keep this brief. I was sued back in October 2012 by an ex landlord for rent and cleaning in the amount of $3125. It was a bad situation involving a crazy ex and me fleeing for my life. Anyway, I missed the court date and he got the default judgement, and soon the wage garnishment kicked in. It got the the point that I couldn't afford my living, so I filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy pro se, and just received my discharge, which included his suit. Now I just got served by him claiming I owe nearly $5,000 to him for "damages and storage of rental items". Is this in violation of the bankruptcy?

Thank you Diane. I will do so. Does it make any difference that he is calling these two different things? The first time, he called it "Rent and Cleaning" with a $3,125 pricetag, and now he's calling it "Damages and Storage" with a $4,950 pricetag. I imagined that since it was a "No Asset" case, and he was included in the discharge initially, it wouldn't matter...but I know there can always be a gray area. Thanks again.

Attorney Answers 3


Yep! Big time violation. If you have not yet been served a Complaint, just mail him a copy of your bankruptcy Notice and a copy of your Discharge. If he has had you served with a Complaint, just mail this documents to the court where the suit was filed. Be sure to put the Complaint case number on all these BK documents. Good luck.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.

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I suggest you find an attorney to assist you. In the circumstances you describe, I would be reopening the case and filing a motion in the bankruptcy court to find the landlord in contempt of court. The blatant disregard of the bankruptcy laws by your landlord needs to be met with a serious response. You should also consider a motion to recover garnished funds taken in the 90 days before you filed the case (although, if the case is closed you may be out of luck). You should not have done this alone, as you are not at all versed in the nuances of the bankruptcy code. An attorney now may help you get a better fresh start than you managed on you own.

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Good information. I would have liked to have retained an attorney from the beginning, but circumstances were dire and with the garnishment in place, I was barely treading water. However, things are different now. I will follow your recommendation. Thank you very much.


Speak with the attorney who handled your bankruptcy. I agree the landlord's actions sound like a violation of your discharge and a claim can likely be pursued. The question is whether it is worthwhile or whether you would be satisfied if a letter threatening action against the landlord would simply end the contact. The letter also sets up your claim better if it is disregarded. The only remote thing I can see from the information you have given, depending on how things played out, is some type of argument that you should have dealt with the storage of your stuff at the time of the bankruptcy and that there are now post-bankruptcy fees,

The scope of this space does not afford an opportunity to adequately advise you. The response provided is intended to be informative, but not final. You are advised to arrange a consultation at which all facts and documents can be explored and terms for representation agreed. An attorney-client relationship must be formally established.

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