Bankruptcy And Your Utility Bills

Anyone who is considering filing for debt relief should consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and answer all your questions. The Coleman Law Group, with offices (http://colemanlawgroup.com/) in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Land O’ Lakes, has experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing you with sympathetic, effective, affordable representation throughout the bankruptcy process.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_7_bankruptcy), a court-appointed trustee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankruptcy_trustee) cancels most or all of your debts. However, the trustee may take over and liquidate some of your property to pay back your creditors. Nevertheless, under Florida law, you may be permitted to keep certain “exempt” property, such as your car and home.

Utility bills after filing bankruptcy

Two questions many people who face bankruptcy have are: (1) whether utility companies are allowed to shut off their utilities after they file and (2) if bankruptcy protects them from having to pay ongoing utility bills.

Like it or not, utility bills are a fact of modern life. Whether you live in Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg or Land O’Lakes, everyone needs water to drink and for washing every single day. And we all use energy to some degree throughout the year, to turn on the lights or keep us warm.

Federal law prohibits utility companies from discriminating against people based solely on a bankruptcy filing. If you are current with your bills, utilities generally will not become an issue. However, very often this is not the case.

Usually, a creditor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creditor) has the right to stop giving credit to someone who has filed bankruptcy. Utility companies are different–they must continue to provide service even after bankruptcy is filed. However, under the law, companies have the right to demand “adequate protection” within 20 days of the date of filing to continue service on an ongoing basis. While the statute does not precisely define “adequate protection,” in practice it means that the company can require a deposit equivalent to or based upon the amount that is overdue at the time bankruptcy is filed. Then the debtor must keep current with ongoing monthly utility bills.

When filing bankruptcy, you are required to list all money then owed for utility bills. Bills that can be included in a filing include electricity, water, gas, sewage, and trash. Even less essential services such as telephone, television and internet can be included.

Consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney

More than one million people in the U.S. file for debt relief each year. Almost anyone can find themselves in the position of seeking bankruptcy protection, whether because of a failed business venture, a mortgage foreclosure, or medical bills. But the bankruptcy process is complicated, so it is important to seek out qualified professionals who have the expertise to help you navigate the legal maze.

The attorneys at the Coleman Law Group are not only dedicated to helping clients resolve their financial difficulties and obtain debt relief, they are committed to providing all their clients with the personal attention and compassionate representation they deserve.

Whether you live in Clearwater, Land O’ Lakes, St. Petersburg, Tampa, or anywhere in Pinellas County or along the Gulf Coast, please call one of the Coleman Law Group’s Florida offices to make an appointment.

In St. Petersburg: 727-214-0400

In Tampa: 813-749-9981

In Land O’ Lakes: 863-877-0007

You also can visit our website at colemanlawgroup.com/

One thought on “Bankruptcy And Your Utility Bills

  • Shahbaz says:

    This is something that you need to dissucs with your attorney. Generally personal bankruptcy only discharges unsecured debts. Home and car loans are secured by the property purchased and generally are not included in the bankruptcy filing unless you are severely upside down and the loan is a recourse loan. The repo may be put on hold while your BK case works its way through the court but once it’s discharged (or vacated) the lender will be free to repo the vehicle at that time.One consideration though. If you have a lot of unsecured debt that is the basis for your bankruptcy, the discharge may free up enough that you can get back in good with the lender on the car loan. You can either re-certify your intent to make good on that loan as part of the BK proceedings, or may communicate your desires to the lender AFTER the BK is discharged. Never engage in a private communication with ANY creditor while the BK case is active though. That is a CRIME and can result in the case being tossed out of court at the very least!But again, this is something that you need to dissucs with your attorney. He or she is familiar with your state’s laws and your personal circumstance and can advise you properly. Nobody here can give you legal advice.

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