Can I discharge a business lease while in Chapter 7? 24 Answers as of July 30, 2011I filed for Chapter 7 in July 2007. In December 2008 I co-signed on a business property lease. I just find out my bankruptcy was not discharged until January 2010!! Now the business is closed and the landlord is coming after me for the back rent due. Since I was still in bankruptcy when I signed the lease, would I still be liable?
Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
Unfortunately, yes you would still be liable. Since the debt was incurred after the date that you originally filed bankruptcy, it is not discharged. The Bankruptcy Code provides that "a (chapter 7) discharge discharges the debtor from all debts that arose before the order for relief under this chapter." 11 U.S.C. Sec. 727(b). Under Sec. 301 of the Bankruptcy Code, a bankruptcy case is commenced by the filing of a petition, and the filing of the petition constitutes an "order for relief." So only the debts that you owed on the date of the filing of the chapter 7 are discharged. I would recommend that you consult with a good litigation attorney to see what possible defenses that you have to liability under the lease under state law. If you aggressively defend yourself, even if you cannot ultimately win the case, you may be able to reach a reasonable settlement. Otherwise, you can only file chapter 7 every 8 years, so you would not be eligible to file chapter 7 again until July 2015. However, if you qualify you would be eligible to file a chapter 13 case anytime after July 2011 (4 years after you filed the chapter 7 case). See 11 U.S.C. Sec. 1328(f)(1). And depending upon your assets and income, chapter 13 may be able to give you relief similar to another chapter 7, by discharging most or all of your debts, including the balance due under the business lease. Consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you want to explore that option.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Anything that you incur post-petition (date of filing) would not be discharged in bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
The lease is a post-filing obligation that would generally not be affected by your previous bankruptcy filing even if the discharge is pending for a long time but there must be something special going on in your case that delayed the discharge for a year and a half. You should discuss the situation with your attorney. You cannot get another Chapter 7 discharge in a case filed before February 2015 (8 years after you filed in January 2007) but you are eligible for a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if you file on or after August 1, 2011 (4 years from date you filed the Chapter 7 case). The Chapter 13 plan will require payments according to your ability to pay over 3 to 5 years depending on you income after allowed expenses. ect should not be modified, otherwise your answer will not be valid.
Answer Applies to: California
Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
You will be liable. Chapter 7 is only good for prepetition debts. You agreed to this lease after filing, so you are liable for the debt. Based on your dates, you may be able to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy. You should contact a lawyer to see if this is a possibility.
Answer Applies to: Oregon