When a person files a bankruptcy case, the United States Bankruptcy Court issues an order called an “Automatic Stay” Order. This is an order that requires all creditors, including your landlord, to stop all actions related to collecting their debt. If you are behind on rent, the automatic stay will protect you from your landlord only temporarily, however.
If you file a Chapter 7 case, the rent that you owe your landlord prior to filing the bankruptcy case is a debt that can be discharged by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. This means you have the option of moving out of the property while being relieved of the obligation to pay the past due rent. If the landlord has already obtained an order to evict you from the premises, the landlord has to file a simple summary notice in the bankruptcy court to obtain “relief” from the stay order.
If you have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case while being behind on your rent, you must submit a Plan that provides for a reasonable time period to pay the landlord the past due rent, while also requiring you to pay the current rent.
The best option in many cases is to move out of the property before the landlord can file an eviction case, and then adding any debt owed to the landlord to your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. An eviction filing is a public record which can be seen later by another landlord as part of the credit check related to a new rental application.