Monthly Archives: January 2014

I Filed Bankruptcy, But Still Own My House?

This is a problem across the country, in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy HOUSEtrashDAY

cases when the debtor, my client, the person filing, WANTS to give up her house.

Lots of folks still cannot afford their mortgage payments, because their income went down, or the payment went up, or both.

No matter how many times I go through the explanation, some folks

still miss that simply filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and stating you want to give up the house, does  NOT get your name off the deed.

In Michigan, where I practice bankruptcy law, as in most states, there s NO WAY to force a mortgage company to take title to a house on which they hold the mortgage.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you keep all your property.

I filed a plan for clients who wanted to give up an empty condo.  One of their children had lived there, could not afford it, and left.

My clients tried to sell it, worth less than what was owed.  They tried to rent it, no luck.

So, we filed a plan which said we would surrender the house to the mortgage company.


And, in this case, they still have not taken it, or tried to.  Though we would just give it to them.

Going on five years now with NO payments.

Even if they signed a deed, putting the house in the mortgage company’s name, that deed is NOT effective unless the mortgage company accepts it.

In or out of bankruptcy, you can do a deed in lieu of foreclosure.  If the mortgage company is willing.

It saves them the cost of, and time waiting for, a foreclosure.  Of course, you have to leave the house, as you no longer own it.

With a short sale, in or out of bankruptcy, again, the mortgage company has to agree.  In a short sale, they release their lien for less than you owe, to get some money out of the new buyer.


The home remains in your name.

If the property taxes are not paid, the government will eventually take title to the property.  But that could take years.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee only wants your home if he or she can sell it and get money for your creditors.

Obviously, this is not the case if you owe more than it is worth, the situation I normally see.

So, a bankruptcy discharge takes your name off the mortgage note, the debt, but NOT the deed, the ownership of the real estate.

You will still have responsibility for the property, and complying with city ordinances about snow removal, et cetera.

Sometimes mortgage companies just decide they do not want the expense of taking a house back and re-selling it.

Can Filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Avoid Damages For Poisoning People?


Freedom Industries filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy after some of its chemicals leaked into the Charleston, West Virginia water supply, forcing it to shut down. Filing any chapter of bankruptcy invokes the automatic stay, stopping all collection actions, like, lawsuits. Which are flowing fast and furious out of the chemical spill. West Virginia-American Water said itContinue Reading

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Why Should You File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy should be a last resort; when there is no other way out of your debt problems.  Well, you cannot borrow your way out of debt, so I do not count getting money from friends or relatives to pay bills as a viable bankruptcy alternative. You feel like the pumpkin in the picture when youContinue Reading

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Creditor Harassment Remedies


Creditor harassment is what drives clients into my bankruptcy office.  Relief is what the bankruptcy code provides, and I make a living getting folks and small businesses that relief from creditor harassment. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is another avenue that may provide relief from creditor calls and letters. Though it seems they no longerContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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