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I am often asked whether a debtor can keep personal property – such as a bicycle, television, etc. – when that person files for bankruptcy. The short answer is that there are 3 ways for a debtor to keep such personal property.

Normally, when a person (called the debtor) files for bankruptcy, property owned by that person becomes the property of the bankruptcy trustee. As a bankruptcy attorney, my goal in my job is to find as many ways as possible to keep the debtor's personal property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee.

There are three primary ways to keep property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. Each of those ways will now be discussed in turn.:

The first – and primary – way is if the property is exempt. The law provides that a certain amount of property is exempt and is automatically excluded from the property taken by the bankruptcy trustee. For example, there are exemptions for household goods and furnishings, motor vehicles (up to a certain value), jewelry, and many others.

Some states – in Minnesota is one of those states – permit debtors to choose between the exemptions provided by federal law and the exemptions provided by state law. Most of the time, the federal exemptions are the most appropriate. I especially like the wildcard exemption provided by federal law – that can cover any property, such as a lawn more, that would not normally be exempt.

The second way is for a debtor to reaffirm the debt. Reaffirm is a fancy word for continuing to make the payments. Most often, if a debtor is making monthly payments on a particular item of property, such as a motor vehicle, and the creditor – the person to whom the money is owed – could repossess the property unless the payments in such a case, the debtor might reaffirm the debt, or promise to continue to make the monthly payments in order to keep the property reaffirmation agreements are most common for motor vehicles, but sometimes exist for mortgages as well.

Most of the time, the exemptions, combined with reaffirmation agreements, cover all of the property that a debtor may own. However, if the trustee seizes an item of the debtor's property, the debtor can offer to buy that property back from the trustee. That is the third option, and it primarily comes up when the debtor is a small business with a large inventory or a lot of equipment.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer and small business debtors in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Please note that only individual debtors can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, not businesses.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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I am often asked what a landlord should do if the tenant is not paying the rent. The short answer is that the landlord should bring an eviction action, preferably as soon as the rent is late.

In Minnesota, unless the landlord is a mobile home park, the landlord does not need to provide any advance notice before bringing an eviction. Most residential leases provide a five day grace period, and state that the rent is late if it is paid after the fifth day of the month. Your lease probably has a similar provision.

The lease may also say that the landlord must provide notice to the tenant before bringing an eviction. In that case, a landlord should follow the requirements of the lease exactly, and provide the requisite notice. If the landlord does not follow the requirements of the lease, the tenant may have a defense to the eviction action.

At any rate, I recommend that a landlord bring an eviction action as soon as the rent is late. In the above scenario, rent is late if it is paid after the fifth day of the month. As such, I would recommend that the landlord commence an eviction action on the sixth day of the month.

Every landlord – tenant situation is unique, and I recommend that landlords talk to an attorney experienced in evictions and landlord tenant law before taking action based on this blog post.  To that end, I invite landlords to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss their unique situation. I typically do not represent tenants.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in Minnesota, and the information contained in this blog post may not apply to jurisdictions outside of Minnesota.  Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation