Bankruptcy can help you with an eviction in New Jersey, but only under certain circumstances, and only if you file the right kind of bankruptcy. This also presumes that eviction is being brought for nonpayment of rent, and not for some other reason. If it has been brought for some other reason, like habitual late payment, then bankruptcy can’t help.
You Must File Before the Eviction Hearing
You cannot wait until the last minute, and avoiding eviction must be accompanied by the repayment of back rent to the landlord. The key deadline here is the trial date for the eviction proceedings brought by your landlord. If that lawsuit has been brought, and you have already been to court, it is too late to do anything.
Under New Jersey law, a judgment for possession is issued to the landlord if the unpaid rent is not paid by the end of the day of trial.
You Must File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Assuming you file bankruptcy before trial day, it must be a chapter 13 with a plan of repayment and not a chapter 7. To do that, you need to have positive cash flow. In other words, you need to have money left over at the end of the month after paying your bills (including things like the current rent, but not things like credit cards). This can then be used to pay your landlord the back rent.
The plan of repayment must also offer a “prompt cure” of your breach of the lease. What this is can depend on the judge assigned to your case, but is usually less than the three year plan period of most chapter 13s.
So What Do I Do?
If you live in southern New Jersey and are facing eviction from your home, and are considering filing bankruptcy, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.
If you are looking for more information about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.