Delaware landlords may not be aware that if they have started the eviction process against a tenant, it may be possible for the tenant to delay eviction if he or she has filed for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In the event that the tenant filed for bankruptcy before the landlord starts the eviction process, the tenant may be granted a stay of the eviction. However, the landlord may ask a federal court to lift the stay, which is likely to be granted since the rental property has no bearing on the value of the tenant’s assets.
If the tenant filed for bankruptcy after the eviction process was initiated, the law in a few states may allow a tenant to pay any rent that is past due. This is referred to as “curing” the past-due rent. When the bankruptcy petition is filed, the tenant must certify that this allowable under state law, make a deposit for the amount of rent due within 30 days and serve notice to the landlord. The landlord may then choose to object any effort to certify that the tenant has the right to do this. In this case, a judge will hold a hearing with 10 days of receiving the landlord’s objection.
A landlord may also go forward with an eviction if there is illicit drug use on the property or it has otherwise been made unsafe by the tenant. If the landlord files the proper certification with the court and the tenant cannot disprove the charge, the eviction will proceed despite the bankruptcy.
Landlords who are considering evicting a tenant may wish to speak with a real estate attorney. With the help of an attorney, a landlord may better understand his or her rights when dealing with landlord/tenant issues. A knowledgeable attorney may make it possible to evict a problem tenant with less time and money than what would otherwise be spent in court trying to get the eviction upheld by a judge.