How Long Can I Stay in My House if I Filed a Chapter 7 and Elected to Surrender My Home to the Mortgage Company?

02 Oct How Long Can I Stay in My House if I Filed a Chapter 7 and Elected to Surrender My Home to the Mortgage Company?

If you choose to surrender your home in a Chapter 7, when do you have to move out?

I received this very relevant question in an email:

My husband and I filed chapter 7 and had our meeting of creditors on sept. 12,2007. We included our mortgage in bk. How will we know when we need to be out of here? We dont want to get a knock at the door from the sheriffs dept. What is the next step. We would like to stay here as long as we can to save some money. Thanks Christy

Here is my response: Even if you choose to surrender your home as part of your Chapter 7, the automatic stay provision of the Bankruptcy Code still protects you, at least temporarily. At some point in the near future, the mortgage company will file a motion in bankruptcy court called a Motion for Relief from Stay in which they ask the Judge to lift the automatic stay so that they can pursue their state law remedies.

In a Chapter 7 case where you have stated your intention to surrender your home, this motion is somewhat of a formality. Your lawyer will likely advise the mortgage company’s lawyer that you (the debtor) have “no opposition” to the Motion and it will be granted. Nevertheless, the mortgage company has to follow the procedure of getting relief from the stay.

Once stay relief is granted, the mortgage company can start the foreclosure process again. Depending on where you live this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

So, until stay relief is granted you can sit tight and stay in your house. Once stay relief is granted, the clock will start ticking.

Finally, if the mortgage company does nothing, the stay will remain in effect until your case is discharged and closed. At that point the stay would terminate and the mortgage company could start the foreclosure process post-discharge.

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Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.

I represent individuals in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Newnan, Gainesville and Rome. I publish several informative web sites, including www.atlanta-bankruptcy-attorney.com and an Atlanta bankruptcy blog, www.thebklawyer.com/thebkblog. Please mention Bankruptcy Law Network when you call.
4 Comments
  • Christine
    Posted at 20:29h, 03 May

    WE FILED CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY IN NOV. OF 2009. WE CHOOSE NOT TO REAFFIRM THE LOAN. SO WE ARE VOLUNTARILY GIVING THE HOME BACK TO THE MORTGAGE CO. ITS IS MAY 3RD 2011. WE ARE STILL IN OUR HOME AND HAVE NEVER HEARD A WORD FROM ANYBODY. ITS GOING ON A YEAR 1/2. ??? IM KINDA SHOCKED NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE. IM THANKFUL FOR SURE AS THIS HAS GIVEN US THE OPPURTUNITY TO SAVE SOME MONEY. I THINK IT JUST DEPENDS ON WHO YOUR MORTGAGE CO IS. OURS IS METLIFE. IS THIS NORMAL?? (I LIVE IN MONTANA)

    ~CHRISTINE

  • Alight
    Posted at 04:34h, 14 May

    We filed Chapter 7 March of 2010 and it was discharged in October 2010. We haven’t made a payment on the mortgage of our house since March 2010 and we also surrendered it in the bankruptcy. We haven’t heard a thing either. When we tried to save the house before filing bankruptcy the mortgage co told us it could take up to 2 years for the process to happen.

  • Rissa
    Posted at 12:41h, 07 June

    We have been in ours for almost 2 years and havn’t heard anything either…what is the average time now to stay in your home after all this? We filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and we’ve been in the house w/ no payment for a long time now..its nice to save money but like yall said..i don’t want a letter one day saying get out in 24 hours. Whats the time line? How long do you have now a days?

  • Jason from Filing Bankruptcy
    Posted at 08:06h, 09 June

    Good read. Chapter 7 is the most popular and used form of bankruptcy because it gives the immediate stay so we need not to worry about the creditors. In short chapter 7 bankruptcy helps us to get relief from debt and to make a new and fresh start.