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Can a previous landlord garnish my wages after I filed bankruptcy?

Fredericksburg, VA |

He called my place of employment telling my ofc.mngr that I was a bad person. It has been 2.5 yrs since i lived in that property. He never showed up to court for the judgment he issued. What can i do?

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Attorney answers 3


Your question is interesting and leads me to several questions.

When was the lawsuit he filed?
When was the Bankruptcy filed?
What is the status of the Bankruptcy?

If he did not show up for the lawsuit hearing, then you should have won the case. It is a decision on the merits, and as a matter of law, you do not owe the money. His contacting other people to claim that you owe money MAY be a violation of law- defamation. That may be a hard case to prove, but it might be worth the effort to look.

As long as the debt was incurred before the filing of the Bankruptcy, and the Bankruptcy is not dismissed or denied a discharge, the former landlord is not permitted to collect.

If your Bankruptcy is still active, (typical of a Chapter 13), then he is barred by the automatic stay, which says that any effort to collect any debt is stayed. See 11 US Code section 362.

If the Bankruptcy is discharged, then the discharge is an injunction against collection. See 11: US Code section 524.

One of the things that is possible is that you did not list the former landlord in the Bankruptcy. If your Bankruptcy was a no-asset Chapter 7, then the debt is discharged, you just need to give him proper notice.
If the Bankruptcy was a Chapter 13, and the debt was not listed, the debt is not discharged. (This is one of the most important reasons why you need to list everyone to whom you MIGHT owe money in your Bankruptcy. Of course the other is that intentionally leaving someone out might be Bankruptcy fraud, a crime.)

Because this is the landlord, not a collection agency collecting on this debt, the Federal Fair debt Collection Practices Act is not applicable. If the landlord has hired a collector (a collection agency, or a lawyer, etc), then the collector is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which may be another avenue to pursue.

If you need assistance with any of these, please feel free to contact my office.

Mr. Krumbein is admitted to the courts of Virginia. His advice is often based on Virginia and Federal law, however, you should consult a lawyer in your geographic area for more detailed advice.



The suit was filed in 2010. My bankruptcy was filed in May and was discharged in September 2011

Jason Meyer Krumbein

Jason Meyer Krumbein


Yeah, that sounds like something that a lawyer would have fun with.


If you discharged your debt to him in your bankruptcy, you may have a claim against your ex landlord for violating your bankruptcy discharge. Wouldn't it be sweet to have him be ordered to pay damages to you and pay your attorney fees?

I would suggest contacting a bankruptcy attorney that handles litigation for representation or return to your bankruptcy attorney to see if this is worth pursuing.

Hope this perspective helps!


If the discharge injunction applies to him then you can file suit against him.

This answer does not create an attorney client relationship between you and I. I am not your attorney unless we both sign a written contract that describes our relationship and terms of the representation. Any information provided to you here is not a substitute for the advice you need to pursue any legal matter. I advise you to retain the services of a local attorney before taking any legal action in this matter.