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Elizabeth Prentice
Elizabeth Prentice, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 170
Experience:  Managing Attorney for one of the largest consumer bankruptcy firms in America.
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I filed bankruptcy Chapter 7 in August 2013. I sublease a retail

Customer Question

I filed bankruptcy Chapter 7 in August 2013. I sublease a retail space I am a sole-Proprietor. For this question S-Landlord is my landlord with whom I have signed a sub-lease. O-Landlord is the building Owner who S-Landlord has the original lease.

I have not paid rent since filing for bankruptcy and I am going to choose to reject the lease. Originally I was going to assume the lease and pay all due amounts but have since changed my mind and planning on moving out October 1.

S-landlord has stopped paying the lease as well and I have had the O-Landlord harassing me two previous times and now came in today and said pay all past to him or he is changing locks on Monday.

He has told me he does not care about the Bankruptcy and will do what he wants with his building.

On morals I can understand his frustration, but I am protected by the automatic stay unless it is lifted correct? What can I do if on Monday I come in and the doors are locked?

Am I stuck?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Elizabeth Prentice replied 1 year ago.
I am a bankruptcy attorney and I would be happy to assist you. You are protected by the bankruptcy stay and if the creditor(S or O) attempts to take your assets in the store by locking it, it would be considered a breach of the automatic stay. They need to first file a Motion to Lift Stay and have it granted by the Court in order to take your property. If you find that the landlord has locked you out, you should immediately contact the trustee assigned to your case and then hire a local bankruptcy attorney to file a Motion for Sanctions on your behalf. Attorney fees you pay to your attorney are recoverable if the attorney is successful on the motion, along with any damages you may have (such as interference with your business, loss of sales, etc.) For example) if you baked cakes as a business, and you had eggs or food in your store that went bad, you could sue as damages for the loss of the food. You could also sue for loss of business if you couldn't bake a cake for a customer who ordered one.

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