At what point can I put a lien on a house after the owner has filed Chapter 13?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Once the owner has filed a bankruptcy petition (7 or 13) he/she is protected from all unsecured creditors through the automatic stay. You thus cannot engage in any activity intended to collect on the debt. Placing a lien on the debtor's property would be a violation of the automatic stay, so you can't do it. In a Ch 13 plan you would be paid, if at all, only as an unsecured creditor to the extent there is any disposable income to distribute to unsecured creditors... the priority and secured creditors get paid before unsecured (you) creditors. However, you should keep an eye on the process of the case, because if at any time prior to discharge the case gets dismissed, then once the dismissal is entered, you are able to proceed with collection (i.e. lien) as if the case had not existed. Many 13's actually end up in dismissal because the debtors cannot sustain the plan payments. Not so much with 7's.
It depends on the nature of your claim. IMO, it is never worth doing without a lawyer because the penalty for doing it wrong is too severe.
I concur with the lawyers above me. This is a matter you need to discuss with an attorney over the phone or in person because it is very complicated and we need to know all the aspects of your claim. We don't want you doing something that will get you into trouble.
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