If my tenant filed bankruptcy but rejected the lease, where do I go from here?
Question Details: My tenant filed Chapter 7 last week. In the paperwork I got, she rejected the lease but won't move out. What should my next step be?
You need to contact the bankruptcy court and ask for it to lift the "stay," or temporary bar on, evicting the tenant. Once that is done, you can file the eviction case, but you have to get the stay lifted first: courts consider (wrongfully, in my opinion) eviction to be a "collections" attempt (an effort to force the payment of money owed--i.e. pay or be evicted) and so like other collections efforts, it is automatically stayed, or held in abeyance, during the bankruptcy case. But the bankruptcy court has the power to lift the stay in appropriate circumstances, such as if the lease is rejected; and once the stay is lifted, the case can go forward. Ideally, retain an attorney to help you; if determined to do this yourself. contact the clerk's office in the bankruptcy court and also look on the court's website for instructions.
You MUST do this: attempting to evict while the stay is in effect can subject you to serious penalties for violating the automatic stay.