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Fritz
Fritz, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 302
Experience:  Florida attorney with extensive experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases
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I have a storage locker and have a past due balance on the

Customer Question

I have a storage locker and have a past due balance on the rental.

I need to remove the contents in order to stop the meter but cant afford to pay the balance in full at the moment.

I'm midway in a Ch 13.

What to do ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cortrightlaw replied 3 years ago.

cortrightlaw : Sounds like your only remedy is going to be getting current on your storage fees to prevent the sale of your contents. If the charges arose after the filing of your 13 filing then they can not be included in or protected by your bankruptcy.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Again, thanks for your response, but I am not satisfied with your answer.

Please do not respond to my question if I decide to repost them.
Expert:  cortrightlaw replied 3 years ago.
No problem hopefully someone else can assist you.
Expert:  Fritz replied 3 years ago.

If your Chapter 13 Plan is still pre-confirmation, you can try amending your Plan to add this (presumably) post-petition debt, which should be scheduled to be paid at 100% of what you owe for the post-petition storage fees. The problem is that you'd likely have to include the monthly fees going forward until the arrearage is fully paid off through your Plan (so no matter how you handle this, you likely can't remove the stuff until you pay off the arrearage). Ideally, the storage locker company would then file a Proof of Claim.

 

If your Chapter 13 Plan has already been confirmed, you could file a Motion to Modify your Chapter 13 Plan, add the post-petition storage locker arrearage to your Plan, and try to have the Motion granted at hearing. See In re Trentham, 145 BR 564 - Bankr. Court, ED Tennessee 1992 for a rough idea of how this procedure might work and the types of substantive arguments you might make, here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7822896100300494833&hl=en&as_sdt=2,10

 

Note that neither procedure is absolutely guaranteed to work; some bankruptcy courts will not allow post-petition claims unless the creditor actually files a Proof of Claim. The answer from the prior expert was conservative advice along these lines, as there do not appear to be any Oregon cases directly on point.

Fritz, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 302
Experience: Florida attorney with extensive experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases
Fritz and 2 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

The storage contract predates the BK filing by nine months, but the delinquent charges are for months since the filing. Is that relevant to this matter ?

I'm in a catch 22 situation in that I cannot pay the full balance due at the moment and cannot thus remove my property to avoid incurring additional fees.

Is the property owner compelled to abide by Ch 13 rules with/out agreement ?
Expert:  Fritz replied 3 years ago.
Did you list the storage locker company as a creditor in your bankruptcy?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No - I didnt think to as I was current on rent at the time.
Expert:  Fritz replied 3 years ago.

Even though you were current on the storage locker at the time you filed, the lease should have been included on Schedule G of your petition as an Unexpired Lease. Since the storage locker company wasn't included in your Schedules, the storage locker at issue is NOT likely to be considered subject to the automatic stay, and the storage locker company could probably sell the contents of the locker at any time without violating the law. Since you obviously don't want that to happen, you would want to seriously consider amending your Schedules to add the storage locker company as a creditor ASAP. Once you add them to your bankruptcy case, the automatic stay will apply, and they would need to file a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay in your bankruptcy case before selling your property. If nothing else, this would at least buy you a little time to try to come up with the funds to come current so you can get your stuff out.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
THANKS. I'll amend asap.

What happens then to my property and to the arrearage given that the creditor has to be repaid at 100% but I want to retrieve my property and stop additional storage fees ?
Expert:  Fritz replied 3 years ago.
You may want to call your Chapter 13 Trustee and ask how he or she wants you to handle this situation in your Plan. Ideally, you would be able to frontload the arrearage (pay it over the first few months of your Plan) until you come current, then you would remove the storage locker company from your Plan, grant them relief from the automatic stay, and get your stuff out ASAP. However, some Trustees may not allow you to change the treatment of a creditor during the course of a Plan (i.e. pay arrears for X months, then surrender/permit relief from stay). If yours doesn't, let me know, and I'll think of another approach.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Fortunately, I was able to cut a deal with the property owners when I mentioned bk as 40% of their accts are in arrears.