Category: Bankruptcy News

California eviction moratorium

California Eviction Moratorium Ends, Renters Have Protections

California Eviction Moratorium Ends, Renters Have Protections

The California eviction moratorium ends September 30.  Foreclosures have spiked as those moratoriums ended. But for renters, there are still options, particularly locally with Los Angeles County and City of Los Angeles moratoriums on evictions.

How We Got Here: September 30 Deadline

Bill Signed

Back in June, California governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation extending the California eviction moratorium.  While federal eviction protections ended last month, California was still protected. The end date for Calif renter protections is September 30, 2021.

Legislature on Break

The COVID-19 Delta variant is running rampant. You’d think that the California state legislature would pass a bill extending the deadline. In June, legislators beat the deadline with days to spare before June 30. However, now, there are just hours to go.

The legislative session ended weeks ago on September 10. So the people California sent to Sacramento are not there to extend the moratorium.

Regardless, it appears that state representatives don’t have the will to extend the protections again. “I believed our eviction protections for tenants should be extended beyond September 30. The Delta variant and the end of many unemployment benefits make that more urgent. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues feel differently, and there’s not consensus for that,” said David Chiu of San Francisco.

So, California’s legislature is out of the picture. This leaves Gov. Newsom as the last hope to extend the landlord restrictions. However, earlier this week, Newsom signed an affordable housing package.  Missing in that and his statement was any indication he’d extend the protections.

What Renters Can Do When California Eviction Moratorium Ends

Los Angeles County Eviction Moratorium

First, the Los Angeles County moratorium on evictions is still in place. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors extended it to January 31, 2022.

City of Los Angeles Moratorium on Evictions

Also, there’s an LA eviction moratorium protecting renters in the City of Los Angeles until August 1, 2022.

Court Protections for Some California Renters

Further, California renters still have hope.  A renter can submit a declaration that they’re unable to pay the full rent.  City of Los Angeles renters can apply for relief of 100% of rent and utilities owed.  Statewide, beginning Oct 1 and going through March 31, 2022, renters earning 80% of the area median income will be protected by a process through the courts . If facing eviction in state court, renters will need to show evidence they applied for rental assistance, so this is a key step.

Bankruptcy Can Protect Renters in Some Cases

Finally, if there’s the ability to make some sort of monthly payment on back-rent, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can maybe be an option. Because landlords are sacred cows in bankruptcy, renter protections are thin. But it could mean working out a deal if you have enough income to make normal rent payments, cover living expenses, and still have money left over for catching up quickly.

In short, while not perfect, it seems the best shot for CA renters with the looming end of the California eviction moratorium is the state program. This is not a guarantee that this will protect renters from a future eviction if taken to court. However, it’s at least one measure California renters can take to try to have a defense.

 

cdcbaa logo

cdcbaa Moderator Hale Antico to Host Panel for Chapter 13 Trustees

cdcbaa Moderator Hale Antico to Host Panel for Chapter 13 Trustees

Program to focus on Variances, Particularly in the Age of Covid

chapter 13 antico
Chapter 13 Trustees’ Counsel Share A Lighter Moment with cdcbaa President Attorney Antico

Post-Seminar Update: It was a fun, two-hour cdcbaa program, and the Chapter 13 trustees’ attorneys were very open with their policies. For instance, the panel shared a lot of information in an engaging format. Also, one of the trustee lawyers said it helped to have them share information; they learned a more efficient way to do things. Finally, the bankruptcy lawyer attendees were very involved, asking questions and even bantering with the Chapter 13 trustees’ lawyers.

Hale Andrew Antico has been keeping busy being a cdcbaa moderator or host of the bankruptcy association programs. On 9/18/2021, cdcbaa President Hale Andrew Antico will moderate a panel with attorneys for Los Angeles bankruptcy Chapter 13 trustees.  The two-hour talk will focus on policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the focus will be ontrustee variances between the offices. This will help bankruptcy attorneys know how to best work with each respective office.

Chapter 13 Trustees and cdcbaa Coordination

In March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic started causing quarantines and lockdowns. Many people in Chapter 13 bankruptcies couldn’t continue making their payments. This caused a lot of concern. This caused the Chapter 13 trustees to have to adjust their policies. The trustees’ offices started developing policies about suspending payments, or keeping tax refunds. That’s the good news.

The challenge came from each trustee’s office doing things differently. The policies were difficult to track.  So, one benefit of a free-ranging panel discussion is to learn which office expects what. Consequently, This will allow attorneys to better anticipate what’s needed or expected. Also, it will make the trustee’s offices operate more efficiently.

During the two years as president of the group of Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys, Hale Antico has hosted over a dozen webinars. These information sessions have featured prominent bankruptcy lawyers, trustees, and judges. As cdcbaa moderator, Mr. Antico also takes questions from the group’s members, and tries to stir helpful discussion.

If you’re not a member of cdcbaa, you can buy tickets for Saturday’s program from the lawyers’ association website.

 

cdcbaa president's message fall 2021

President of CDCBAA’s Message from Hale Andrew Antico for Fall 2021

CDCBAA President’s Message for Fall 2021

The following was provided to the newsletter of the cdcbaa, the largest organization of Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys serving consumer debtors, by its two-term President, Hale Andrew Antico.

We’re approaching autumn. That means the start of school, football,  pumpkin spice everything, and this: welcome to our final cdcbaa newsletter of 2021, and the last of my second term as President of cdcbaa. We thought we were turning the corner against the pandemic. But, the dreaded Delta variant has affected many people, causing a new wave of cautions. With it, we as a society, and yes, attorneys helping people, have become somewhat accustomed to a new normal. This means embracing doing business remotely while trying to balance with safely connecting in-person.

Membership Total Increases

With that, the cdcbaa is proud to announce that our membership total continues to increase to over 215 members, despite the fact that the year is almost three-quarters over. The cdcbaa hasn’t seen membership levels this high seen since the Great Recession almost ten years ago. Much credit for our growth goes to Membership Chair David Shevitz, the cdcbaa board members on his committee, and their stalwart outreach efforts.

2021 Central District of California bankruptcy filings statistics

We’re almost two years into a global pandemic. One would think that with rising membership in a bankruptcy organization, consumer filings would be spiking with an anticipated surge. Yet, filing numbers continue to surprise expectations. In 2021, filings for all chapters in the Central District are down about 13% from lockdown year 2020. And that year showed a total 27% lower than 2019. Thus far in 2021, only two months have broken 2,000 Chapter 7 filings. In contrast, during the 2020 pandemic, eight months last year surpassed that benchmark.

Changing Legal Landscape

The California eviction moratorium, which has protected so many renters, is set to expire on September 30, 2021. Mortgage forbearance programs are set to also end on that day. September 30th is also the expiration of student loan forbearance. If not extended, any one of these events may impact consumers and filings, and we must be ready to help those who need it with compassion and skilled expertise.

There’s some promising news which could help college graduates in the U.S. Senate. Two senators introduced a bipartisan bill which would make many student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy by amending 11 USC 523(a)(8). This potential student loan reform through bankruptcy is long overdue. The Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act is still in committee. However, it’s our hope that this bill will become law to help millions of struggling people discharge their school debt, so stay tuned.

Educational cdcbaa MCLE Programs

One way to keep informed in this fast-changing world is the cdcbaa’s very popular MCLE programs. This month, I’ll be moderating a panel of Chapter 13 trustees’ staff attorneys. We’ll be discussing their offices’ measures in response to the pandemic such as the CARES Act. We’ll also take a look at their standard procedures, and where there is variance and agreement among the divisions to better help Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys.

Under the leadership of M. Jonathan Hayes and Roksana Moradi-Brovia, the cdcbaa continues to put on timely, informative, and popular programs to inform its members about developments in the law in an everchanging landscape.  In May this year, Judge Mark S Wallace and Judge Wayne Johnson led a discussion of lien-stripping and family law-bankruptcy crossover with CDCA.

In June, we had fantastic programs on the developing issue of 706(b) conversions, as well as state court litigation. July saw two panels: one presenting on postpetition sales and another on nonattorney professionals in bankruptcy. A judge in attendance remarked both hours formed the best program they ever attended!  The cdcbaa is appreciative to all those who give their time to present and help keep our members informed with the latest and best information.

Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner And Honoring Chief Judge Maureen Tighe

Under the leadership of cdcbaa board member Keith Higginbotham (who also serves on the Bar Advisory Board), the cdcbaa is looking forward to gathering to host our annual Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner this November. We’ll be the awarding the honor of Judge of the Year to a deserving Chief Judge Maureen Tighe. This gala will be held in a ballroom atop the Universal Sheraton with a spectacular view overlooking the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills, so you won’t want to miss out this November.

The Tremendous Board of Directors

As always, I’m appreciative of the cdcbaa board of directors. Together, we accomplished so much these past two years. Marcus Tiggs led us on a migration of our popular listserv and added our recorded programs to our upgraded website. Under the stewardship of Treasurer Jeff Hagen, the cdcbaa is financially healthy and strong.  Hard-working Daniela Romero edited this newsletter, and many others the past two years. And of course, my vice-president Lucy Mavyan has been key in helping out with numerous projects. She and Tamar Terzian have reached outside of our district to partner with consumer groups in other states.

And all this doesn’t even mention how tremendous the cdcbaa board of directors was in adapting to sudden change. Responding to pandemic measures and social distancing, we went from an educational organization that presented primarily in person, to one that pivoted to be transformed overnight to online-only, with eight webinars a year, each attended by hundreds of people. The feedback gathered by board member Gary Wallace shows that all this was done by providing outstanding customer service. And for that, I can only give enormous credit to the longtime heart and soul of our organization, celebrating her 10th year helping people, our skilled and talented administrator, Linda.

Closing Statement: A Strong Organization Poised for Growth and Success

It’s been an exciting two years, and the cdcbaa is in fantastic shape to face a future that’s as unpredictable as life since 2020 has been. It’s been my honor serve cdcbaa and its members while working shoulder-to-shoulder with our many stakeholders and partners as we weathered through a devastating global pandemic. I’m humbled by our members and board to have been provided this honor, and I look forward to continuing to support the cdcbaa in the years ahead.

 

Hale Andrew Antico is President of the cdcbaa and has practiced bankruptcy law in Palmdale and Santa Clarita for almost 20 years.

 

eviction moratorium california

Eviction Moratorium 2021, California, and Supreme Court

Eviction Moratorium 2021, the Supreme Court, and California

Supreme Court Rules on Eviction Moratorium

Sept 30 Update:  There are still some renter protections now that the California eviction moratorium ends today. Click for more details.

In 2021, eviction moratorium by the CDC has been in place since for about a year-and-a-half. It’s been protecting people and keeping them in their homes during a global pandemic. You probably heard that the Supreme Court ruled on the eviction moratorium, ending the protection. What does the Supreme Court ruling mean, and especially to California renters?

The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 opinion that the eviction moratorium was not constitutional, with the three liberal justices dissenting.  A key part of the ruling said

“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened. Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”

Bottom line is that the Supreme Court said that if the eviction ban were to continue, the right way to do it would’ve been through Congress, not the CDC.

What about the Eviction Ban and California?

The good news is that the eviction moratorium in California is still in place, for now. Back in June, California governor Gavin Newsom extended the existing California eviction ban until September 30, 2021.

After yesterday’s ruling , the California governor wrote, “California renters will NOT be impacted by this news, the state’s eviction moratorium remains in effect. We’re focused on ensuring tenants and small landlords get the rent relief they need under California’s renter assistance program, the largest in the country.”

As a result, despite the Supreme Court ruling, the California eviction moratorium protects Californians until September 30, 2021. Given Governor Newsom’s statement yesterday, it seems that he’s ready to extend protections for California renters into October and beyond.

READ MORE: Successful court ruling for Los Angeles eviction moratorium

Bankruptcy and Evictions

When the California eviction moratorium ends, it’s not clear if bankruptcy can provide much help. In some cases, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy could help cure rental arrears. However, debtors must repay the arrearages for executory contracts and unexpired leases  “promptly” in the Chapter 13, per 11 USC 365(b)(1).

Here’s where it gets interesting. Most Chapter 13 cases are 5-year terms. That doesn’t seem very “prompt.” Given the nature of rental agreements, five years isn’t a reasonable time to cure a one-year lease. Experience shows that it sometimes can be done in six months.

Most landlords don’t want vacant property, or to have to go find a new renter. Sometimes some money is better than none. A 6-month period has worked in some Los Angeles bankruptcy cases, but it needs to get the consent of the landlord. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to compel the landlord to be reasonable. Each case is different, so it may be worth contacting a local bankruptcy attorney for a consultation.

fresh start through bankruptcy act of 2021 bankruptcy for student loans

Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021: Bankruptcy for Student Loans

Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021: Bankruptcy for Student Loans

Student Loan forgiveness may be an option soon in bankruptcy

The Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021 was introduced into the Senate this week. What’s startling about this is that it’s a bipartisan bill, helping its future.  The impact of the Fresh Start bill (or FSTBA) is that it would provide student loan forgiveness in bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy for student loans hasn’t been an option for decades now, being a massive burden. This student loan bankruptcy reform would change that.

Bill Summary

If the Fresh Start bill becomes law, it would eliminate student loan debt in bankruptcy for those  student loans that were first due ten years prior.  The undue burden test would apply for those newer than ten years. It’s still going to be tied to the means test, making a Chapter 13 a good solution for those who can afford to pay some, but not all.

In short,  bankruptcy for student loans is on the table. But as of August 2021, student loan reform is still in the future. Write or call your senator and if/when it passes, contact your member of Congress. The Fresh Start bill still needs to become enacted into law.

Deeper Dive into FSTBA

If you’re interested to learn more about the text of this student loan forgiveness bill and more precise information how it would work, I did a much more detailed write-up on the Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021 here.

 

 

 

Sworn in President Hale Antico

Hale Andrew Andrew Named President of CDCBAA, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyers

Attorney Hale Andrew Andrew Named President of CDCBAA, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyers

Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Hale Andrew Antico was named president of one of the nation’s largest groups of bankruptcy lawyers in late 2019. 2021 Update: Attorney Antico was honored to be chosen by some of the top attorneys in Los Angeles to lead this prestigious bankruptcy lawyers’ association for a second term.

The CDCBAA, a group of Southern California bankruptcy attorneys, elevated and swore in Attorney Antico to lead the group at its annual Calvin Ashland Awards Dinner. It’s an honor to be chosen to lead such a talented and dedicated collection of bankruptcy professionals.

Below is Hale Antico’s first president’s message for the CDCBAA‘s January 2020 newsletter.


President’s Message

Happy new year, and allow me the word play of wishing you great “2020 vision.” As incoming President of the CDCBAA, it’s easy to see an organization that is vibrant, successful, and thriving.

This success is due, in large part, to past presidents, including my immediate predecessor, Roksana Moradi-Brovia. As her Vice-President the past two years, I was privileged to see up-close how much Roksana cares about the CDCBAA as evidenced by her contagious passion, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. Roksana will remain on the CDCBAA board of directors, and continue helping provide the excellent programs to which we’ve grown accustomed.

Looking Back

With some recent hindsight, I look back at the success in November of the Calvin Ashland Award Dinner. The CDCBAA Trustee of the Year in 2019 was Howard Ehrenberg. Howard was introduced by a wonderful speech from Peter Anderson, the United States Trustee for Region 16. Howard himself gave an amusing but insightful address, where he highlighted the time-consuming, but often-fruitless search for assets in many offbeat types of cases which Chapter 7 trustees have the duty to perform. Our bankruptcy system relies on a balance of judges, trustees, and attorneys, each important for its smooth operation. Howard’s sense of professional courtesy, compassion, and fairness make him a key member of our community.

The Present

Looking around at the present, we see a bankruptcy landscape where filings remain down overall (28,861 new chapter 7 cases filed in 2019, just above the year prior), continuing a decade-long trend since the Great Recession. The CDCBAA is a valuable community of information-sharing, knowledge, and learning. Members can stay informed with important case decisions, news that affects consumer lawyers (both nationally and locally), and dive deeper in lesser-known areas of our specialty. The slowdown in filings creates an opportunity to invest time in the CDCBAA and to share knowledge with and learn from the community.  

Moving Forward

Peering ahead into the future, 2020 is sure to be an exciting year. We are about to kick off the year with the always-popular Ninth Circuit Review of the prior year’s bankruptcy cases, and the James T. King Symposium coming up this summer, with other valuable programs in between. Later this year, we’ll honor a Judge of the Year, and I’m excited to see who this will be. But mostly, I look forward to the CDCBAA keeping a sharp focus on strengthening the bonds between the debtor bar and the judges and trustees, in elevating the practice of bankruptcy law, and keeping our goal of benefiting the consumer debtor who needs our help, truth, and compassion.

Hale Andrew Antico is President of the CDCBAA, and has practiced bankruptcy law in Palmdale and Santa Clarita for over 15 years.

Woman Facing Jail

Disclose, Disclose, Disclose: Woman Facing Jail for Bankruptcy Fraud

When you file bankruptcy, you’re signing a stack of papers under oath. You’ll then be asked, under penalty of perjury, whether they list all your assets, income, and about any recent transfers. The wrong answer, a lie, could land you in jail for bankruptcy fraud.

A woman in Michigan recently pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud. Wait, jail? Bankruptcy is just forms, right? Just before filing bankruptcy, she had received a $12,000 workers’ compensation award. She, then made it disappear. After that, she lied about the whole thing. Now she faces five years in prison, $250,000 fine, or both.

The sad kicker is this: in California, this likely could’ve been avoided. All she has to do was everything disclosed everything. With a good bankruptcy attorney, it could then properly exempted. She’d be free today, enjoying her discharge and money.

She only had to tell the truth to her bankruptcy lawyer. Then, she needed to be honest in the bankruptcy papers. a good Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney could have exempted the award, and she’d have it to spend when the bankruptcy is over.

By trying to save a few bucks on maybe the best bankruptcy lawyer, she’ll not only lose $12,000, but maybe twenty times that, and her freedom.

Contact me today for a consultation, and let’s guide you to a honest fresh start.