Tag Archives: public notice

Will My Name Be in the Newspaper If I File Bankruptcy?

Pub_Notice_in_NewspaperASK LEON 

Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions.

Dear Leon, 

I am getting ready to file bankruptcy. Obviously, it is something that I am not proud of. Some people have told me that I will have to publish a notice in the newspaper saying that I have gone bankrupt. That would be embarrassing. Is there any way I can get around it? 

Sincerely, 

Jack

Dear Jack,

Don’t worry. There is no such requirement in modern American bankruptcy law. However, there was a time in legal history when such a notice was required. Perhaps that is the reason some people think that a bankruptcy notice has to be published. Actually I get this question quite often.

A Bit of Bankruptcy History

In 1712 the British Parliament passed “An Act to Relieve Insolvent Debtors.” One feature of that law imposed a legal requirement to print a notice in a newspaper advertising the meeting of creditors in every bankruptcy case.

The reason behind the requirement was not to shame the person filing. Instead, it was to prevent secretive proceedings for the benefit of insiders seeking to defraud other creditors who had not received notice.

The publication rule was a great benefit to newspapers, who charged for printing the notices as advertisements. The most prominent of such papers is the London Gazette, which is the first newspaper to be regularly published in London, and is still in business.

No Publication of Bankruptcy Filing 

Unless you are a celebrity or a public figure (in which case the gossip magazines will be sure to talk about your filing), I’m pretty sure no one will care about your bankruptcy nor will it appear in any newspaper or magazine.

Of course, future lenders and creditors will care, and will see it on your credit report.  But you can take steps to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy in order to minimize its impact.

-Leon

Leon Bayer is a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney.  He is a partner at Bayer, Wishman & Leotta, a California law firm specializing in bankruptcy.  The opinions and advice in this blog post are from Mr. Bayer alone, and should not be attributed to Nolo.  By answering a question on this blog, Mr. Bayer does not become your lawyer.

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Can a Landlord Post a Notice That I’ve Filed for Bankruptcy?

Closed_Restaurant_iStockASK LEON 

Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions.

Dear Leon, 

I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed the debt I owed to my restaurant’s landlord. I voluntarily returned the premises to the landlord and got a discharge in Chapter 7 shortly thereafter. The landlord took possession of the premises and posted a notice on the window of the restaurant that says, “John L. filed bankruptcy and is no longer here.” He also taped a copy of my bankruptcy petition and schedules to the restaurant’s window. Can I do anything to make him take the notice down? It’s humiliating to have my former customers see this. I have tried to be reasonable, but he is a jerk. 

Sincerely, 

John 

Dear John,

Oh, I so agree with you. The guy sounds like a real jerk. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything legally to make him take the notice down, but his actions may make it harder for him to rent the place in the future.

Your Landlord Did Not Violate the Bankruptcy Discharge

A creditor violates the bankruptcy discharge when it tries to collect a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy. Although your bankruptcy discharged the debt you owed to the landlord, the landlord hasn’t done anything to try to get you to pay the debt.

If the landlord sent you a letter offering to take down the bankruptcy notice in exchange for you paying what you previously owed, then you’d have a “smoking gun” that you could use to prove that the landlord was trying to collect on the discharged debt. But without any collection attempts, the landlord hasn’t violated the discharge order and you can’t take any legal action to make him remove the notice.

Your Landlord Might Have Trouble Renting the Building

If it’s any consolation, though, your landlord’s actions may make it difficult for him to rent the space. When they see the posted notice, prospective tenants will see what a jerk the guy is. As you know, running a restaurant is hard enough without constant warfare with the landlord. A prospective tenant is likely to ask, “Do I really want to rent from a hothead like this?”

I think the place will probably stay empty until the landlord takes down the bankruptcy papers, which means he loses a month’s rent for every month he keeps the notice up.

-Leon

Leon Bayer is a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney.  He is a partner at Bayer, Wishman & Leotta, a California law firm specializing in bankruptcy.  The opinions and advice in this blog post are from Mr. Bayer alone, and should not be attributed to Nolo.  By answering a question on this blog, Mr. Bayer does not become your lawyer.