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VanDLaw, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 833
Experience:  Chapter 7 & 13
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I am in a lease with Hometowne America in Fair Haven, MI which

Customer Question

I am in a lease with Hometowne America in Fair Haven, MI which the lease is not up until April 29th but unfortunately I need to move December 1st. I filed Chapter 13 earlier this year, around April or May, and will be having regular payments coming out of my check for the next five years. Can Hometowne garnish my wages while I am under Chapter 13? Thanks!
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  VanDLaw replied 8 years ago.

Hello Isquared1986,


If the creditor was listed in your Chapter 13 as a debtor and is included in the plan they cannot garnish or attempt to collect in any form. However, it appears your problem has arisen after you have had your plan confirmed.


First, Hometowne America can only garnish your wages if they have sued you, and received a money judgment from a court. It is not an automatic process, they must receive the judgment before any garnishment of assets can take place.


You are going to need to amend your Chapter 13 plan to include this creditor if they are going to pursue you for the remainder of the lease. If you can negotiate something with them to let you out early you are fine. If they are going to pursue you, the only way to stop them from getting a judgment would be to include them in your plan, and that means amending your plan.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

One last thing, would you be able to give me your opinion if you think they will come after the money due for the remainder of the lease? Should we tell them now that we are moving or just move? My husband is saying they won't try to sue us during the bankruptcy but possibly would try in five years. I don't know if he is just trying to calm my nerves or what. Thanks!

Expert:  VanDLaw replied 8 years ago.

In my opinion its going to be how much money is remaining on the lease. If you are leaving 4 months early, it could be significant and they may sue. However, since you are in a Chapter 13 that may dissuade them. I agree I don't think they will try and sue while you are in Chapter 13, because it would be fairly easy to amend your plan, and they wouldn't get anything.


You could give them notice that you are leaving, maybe they can find another lessee and then they wouldn't bother coming after you. They can't sue you just because you give notice, they have to wait until you breach the lease. Also there is a statute of limitations for purusing a written contract and in Michigan it is six years. My guess is they wouldn't sue.


So your options are

1. Move, and take your chances. if they sue, include them in your Chapter 13 if they do not, then you wait six years and they can never sue.


2. Give Notice, and try and get them to let you out of the lease or negotiate a settlement where they do let you out. If you do this make sure you get it in writing that your settlement satisfies the leasehold.