With about 310 days of sunshine a year and a relaxing beachfront, the medium-sized city of Santa Monica, California is considered a desirable place to visit, live, and work. Many famous businesses employ a large number of people in Santa Monica, including Microsoft, MTV, Universal Music Group, Lionsgate Films, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Yahoo!, Demand Media, the RAND Corporation, and a variety of game development studios. Because of its proximity to Hollywood, Santa Monica has been a shooting location for a number of movies and television shows, including The Sting, Forrest Gump, Three’s Company, and Baywatch.
Santa Monica has a number of affluent residents and celebrities, but the majority of Santa Monica residents (64.1%) rent their homes. As with other cities in America, residents of Santa Monica may carry significant debts, including expensive car payments, alimony payments, child support, student loans, medical debts, and more. If you are facing an unmanageable level of debt, an experienced Santa Monica bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine whether bankruptcy may provide you with the relief you need.What Happens To Renters’ Homes in Bankruptcy?
If you are a renter deeply in debt, you may be wondering whether there is any way to prevent a landlord from evicting you. Most creditors’ actions are stayed by bankruptcy. However, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 makes it relatively easy for a landlord to evict you. If a landlord has filed in state civil court to evict you and won a judgment for possession before you file for bankruptcy, the automatic bankruptcy stay does not apply to prevent him or her from evicting you.
On the other hand, if the landlord has not won a judgment by the time you file for bankruptcy, the landlord is prohibited from serving you with a 3-day notice, continuing an unlawful detainer action, or otherwise starting the eviction process. The automatic stay on creditors’ activities applies in this situation.
However, the landlord can ask a bankruptcy judge to lift the stay. Alternatively, if the landlord can show that you have been using illegal drugs on the property or endangering the property, he or she can move forward with a certification of your conduct in bankruptcy court. If you don’t object to the certification within 15 days, the landlord can proceed with eviction without asking the judge to lift the stay.
Bankruptcy can affect your lease even if you are not evicted. Once you are in bankruptcy proceedings, a trustee will determine whether you can keep your lease. If you are paying a high monthly rent for an apartment or house in Santa Monica, the trustee can terminate the lease and tell you to find a new home. Moreover, in Chapter 7, those assets that are not exempt are liquidated. You have 60 days to decide whether to assume or reject a lease. Typically, if you assume the lease, you have to cure any defaults, such as back rent owed, and assure the landlord you can continue to pay in the future.Filing for Bankruptcy in Bad Faith
The automatic stay that comes with filing for bankruptcy can improve your life. It can stop creditors from harassing you, halt collection activities or prevent eviction proceedings from starting, and help you reorganize and eventually discharge your debt. But bankruptcy is a last resort. You must be aware that you cannot file bankruptcy simply to frustrate the goals of a particular creditor. If the court decides you have filed for bankruptcy for an improper purpose, the case may be dismissed for bad faith and the court may levy sanctions against you.
Bankruptcy requires filers to complete complex and time-consuming procedures. Retaining a bankruptcy attorney can help ensure you are filing for the right reasons, help protect your property from sale or repossession, and allow you to get the rest of your life sorted out. Contact the knowledgeable Santa Monica bankruptcy attorney Devin Sawdayi at 310-475-9399 or via our online form for help.