When speaking practically, a tenant can continue to occupy an apartment in the way that is described by the lease as long as the tenant is up to date with the rent payments. It is vital for the tenant to keep making timely payments through the process of a bankruptcy filing while it is traveling through the court. However, if the landlord is already in the process of evicting their tenant when bankruptcy is being filed and a judgment of eviction has been obtained, the landlord may proceed with the eviction.
When bankruptcy is filed, the lease of an apartment is affected, when payments are up to date. In Chapter 7, the landlord must decide in 60 days if the tenant can keep the lease, and may ask the tenant to prove that they will be able to make all future payments. If the tenant cannot or if they fall behind, the court can terminate the lease based on the landlord’s request. In chapter 13, the debtor retains the right to retain or terminate the lease at any time before a repayment plan is confirmed. The landlord may request that the court provide a specific date that the decision of the lease has to be made.
In some cases though, the tenant may obtain a brief delay of the eviction consistent with the automatic stay provisions that are outlined in Chapter 7 and 13 within the Bankruptcy Code. This means that there may be a halt in eviction if it is currently in process. If the apartment is being damaged or used for illegal activity by the tenant, the landlord may obtain permission from the court to start or continue with the eviction process. The tenant is obligated to comply with the lift of stay, and if they do not, the bankruptcy judge will rule in the matter.