Utility Bills and Bankruptcy
Tampa Bay Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Attorney
What is Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal process whereby individual consumers and businesses can eliminate or repay some or all of their debts. If creditors are hounding you or you face repossession or foreclosure, filing for debt relief may be the right path to take. It is a complex process, however, and there are many issues to consider. Here, we will look at one of the most common areas people have questions about: how utilities and utility bills are affected by bankruptcy.
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 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
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. We know that cost is a factor, and we stand out as an affordable bankruptcy lawyer in the Tampa Bay. Learn more about the steps to filing bankruptcy and get sound bankruptcy advice specific to your situation.
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 schedule a free bankruptcy consultation.
St. Petersburg and Tampa: 727.214.0400.
You also can visit our website at colemanlawgroup.com