Tenant in Bankruptcy

I have a tenant in Illinois who is behind in rent and when threatened with eviction, he replied that he is in bankruptcy and the Court determines who gets paid. The Court never informed me he was in bankruptcy, and I am told that I cannot pursue eviction while he has the Court protection. In the meanwhile, the tenant continues to live rent free. What should my course of action be?

Verify this with a lawyer but if you can get the eviction (serve 5 day notice, file at the courthouse, go to court, get eviction served) before bankruptcy, then you’re ok. You can enforce an eviction notice but can’t get one.

I would think if you’re listed as a creditor, you would be notified of their bankruptcy case.You can look up such things here: Request Rejected
(There is a nominal fee after looking at a certain number of pages, but I haven’t hit that threshold yet.)

I have a friend who is apparently declaring bankruptcy. This person has been talking about it for awhile, met with a lawyer in early December, and is going through counseling or coursework on it, and THEN I think it gets filed. My understanding is if you could get it all done before filed, you’re OK. Of course this person has also said if the job change she’s going for happens, she wants to move into one of my POHs. (Noooo!)

In short, hurry.

If he’s in bankruptcy you will have to line up at the (federal) courthourse for the back rent – the line with all the other creditors. But you still are entitled to current rent from the day of bankruptcy forward. You need to find out what that date is and evict based on failure to pay that amount from that day forward (or get him to pay it).


Your course of action is the same as for any tenant not paying rent on time. When a tenant does not pay on time and has not informed you of their inability to pay on time prior to the rent coming due you begin the eviction process. Never wait for excuses or reasons, always serve notice on the 2nd of the month and ask questions later. This is the primary responsibility of the landlord in teaching tenants to meet their financial responsibilities. Once they learn this you will always be paid first.

What Greg said. Will bankruptcy stop his cellular carrier or cable company from shutting off his service? File the eviction. Worst case he can drag it out a bit if you get a tenant hugger judge but you’ll get the eviction most likely.