Bankruptcy can be daunting and complex, especially considering the potential impact on your home. In Alberta, the rules surrounding bankruptcy and home ownership are intricate, but with the right guidance and understanding of the process, you can navigate this challenging time more confidently. In this blog post, we’ll explore the relationship between bankruptcy and home ownership in Alberta and address the question, “Do you lose your house if you declare bankruptcy in Alberta?” We’ll also discuss the role of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and the specific exemptions that may help you retain your home during this challenging period.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding bankruptcy and home ownership in Alberta is essential to identify potential strategies for retaining property.

  • Mortgage payments, consumer proposals, and exemptions may help retain a home during bankruptcy.

  • Seeking professional assistance from Licensed Insolvency Trustees can ensure fair treatment of assets throughout the process.

Understanding Bankruptcy and Home Ownership in Alberta

Declaring bankruptcy in Alberta involves working with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to assess your debts and file the necessary documents to initiate bankruptcy proceedings. The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act governs the bankruptcy process, and determining whether a debtor can retain their home during bankruptcy depends on several factors, including:

  • The amount of equity in the residence

  • The value of the home

  • The amount owed on the mortgage

  • The debtor’s ability to make mortgage payments

It is important to consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to understand Alberta’s specific rules and regulations regarding home ownership and bankruptcy.

It’s a common misconception that declaring bankruptcy automatically means losing your home. While this may be true in some cases, strategies and specific exemptions are in place to help homeowners retain their properties. We will explore further the bankruptcy declaration process and how it may affect home ownership in Alberta.

Declaring Bankruptcy

In Alberta, the procedure for declaring bankruptcy involves the following steps:

  1. Collaborating with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT)

  2. Relinquishing non-exempt assets as per Alberta’s Civil Enforcement Act

  3. Participating in credit counseling sessions

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) is responsible for adhering to the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act and converting surrendered assets into cash to repay debts.

Debtors undergoing bankruptcy must provide monthly income statements and attend credit counselling sessions to prevent future financial difficulties. These sessions can help you explore various debt relief options, including managing unsecured debts and making informed decisions about your financial future.

The Impact on Home Ownership

Home equity, defined as the difference between the value of a home and the amount of debt secured against it, plays a crucial role in determining whether a debtor can retain their home during bankruptcy. In Alberta, certain assets are safeguarded from bankruptcy. These include:

  • Your home (up to $40,000 equity and depending on your mortgage arrangements)

  • Car

  • RRSPs (depending on when you contributed)

  • Locked-in pension plans

  • Some household items

Homeowners can leverage strategies like maintaining mortgage payments and submitting consumer proposals to retain their properties during bankruptcy. Nevertheless, being aware of the potential risks and fallout, such as emotional distress and financial repercussions, is crucial when facing the possibility of house loss during bankruptcy.

Alberta Bankruptcy Exemptions and Your Home

Alberta bankruptcy exemptions significantly influence the potential for a debtor to retain their home during bankruptcy. Specific exemptions exist for home equity; other factors may affect the outcome. Comprehending these exemptions and influencing factors can aid in maneuvering the bankruptcy process and safeguarding your home.

Home Equity Exemption

When determining how much equity is involved, it’s important to note that the home equity exemption in Alberta bankruptcy permits homeowners to retain up to $40,000 of equity in their home. If a debtor’s equity falls beneath the $40,000 limit, they may keep their home if they can continue making payments.

However, if a homeowner possesses more than $40,000 of home equity during bankruptcy, they may be required to pay the difference or dispose of the home. This underscores the need to know your home equity and the exemption limit when confronting bankruptcy.

Factors Affecting Home Retention

Several factors can influence the probability of retaining a home during bankruptcy in Alberta, such as liens, unpaid property taxes, and the debtor’s capacity to remain current with mortgage payments. A foreclosure may be triggered if a debtor fails to settle their condo fees and assessments. Unpaid property taxes and utility bills during bankruptcy will be satisfied from the equity in the debtor’s home.

Liens on a home can also impact home retention during bankruptcy in Alberta. Any liens on the home are considered when determining whether the homeowner has equity in the property. It is recommended to seek counsel from a bankruptcy professional to comprehend how liens will influence home retention during bankruptcy in Alberta.

Strategies for Keeping Your House During Bankruptcy

Various strategies exist to aid in retaining your house during bankruptcy, which includes ongoing mortgage payments and contemplating alternative debt solutions such as consumer proposals. Understanding these options and their implications can make a significant difference in navigating the bankruptcy process and retaining your home.

Continuing Mortgage Payments

Continued mortgage payments during bankruptcy can be pivotal in retaining your house in Alberta. Suppose the equity in your home is minimal. In that case, it may be possible to retain the property and continue making mortgage payments by paying the equity amount into the bankruptcy through other means. Staying current on mortgage payments is also imperative to avert foreclosure or repossession by the bank.

The procedure for sustaining mortgage payments during bankruptcy can vary based on the jurisdiction and the nature of the bankruptcy filed. Options such as reaffirming mortgage debt or filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be available. It is highly advisable to consult with a bankruptcy attorney or financial advisor to understand the specific options available.

Consumer Proposals

Consumer proposals offer a bankruptcy alternative allowing debtors to keep their assets, including their home while negotiating a repayment plan with creditors. A consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement between a debtor and their creditors, administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT).

The debtor offers to pay their creditors a portion of their outstanding debts. Regarding home ownership in Alberta, a consumer proposal does not necessarily mean the debtor must lose their house. They may be able to continue making mortgage payments and fulfill the terms of the consumer proposal, thereby retaining their house. However, it is advisable to consult with a LIT to comprehend the particular implications for home ownership in each case.

Risks and Consequences of Losing Your House in Bankruptcy

Losing a house during bankruptcy can have a significant emotional impact on individuals and families and lead to long-term financial repercussions. Grasping the risks and repercussions of losing a house during bankruptcy can support you in making informed decisions and adequately preparing for the process.

Emotional Toll

The emotional toll of losing a home during bankruptcy can be considerable, with feelings of:

  • Depression

  • Shame

  • Embarrassment

  • Guilt

  • Grief

  • Anxiety

  • Hurt

  • Hopelessness

  • Insecurity

  • Numbness

  • Apathy

Furthermore, the loss of a house can be experienced as a diminishment of identity, self-esteem, and confidence.

Research has shown that when people file for bankruptcy, it is associated with decreased self-rated health, and financial stress can trigger or aggravate mental health issues. As such, it is essential for those filing for bankruptcy to seek assistance and resources to help manage the emotional repercussions.

Financial Repercussions

Financial repercussions from losing a home during bankruptcy could encompass a decreased credit score, challenges obtaining future loans, and potential forfeiture of other assets. Bankruptcy remains on one’s credit report in Alberta for six years from the date of discharge for a first bankruptcy and 14 years for a second bankruptcy.

Obtaining loans in the future after enduring a home foreclosure due to bankruptcy can be problematic, including restricted borrowing alternatives, greater interest rates, and longer waiting periods. Understanding these potential consequences when facing bankruptcy and the possibility of losing your home is crucial.

Seeking Professional Help: The Role of Licensed Insolvency Trustees

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are pivotal in assisting individuals to navigate through the bankruptcy process and evaluate their financial condition. Firms like Fox-Miles & Associates in Alberta offer expert guidance, ensuring fair treatment for debtors and creditors while minimizing the risk of losing valuable assets like a home.

Fox-Miles & Associates

Fox-Miles & Associates is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm that provides the following services:

  • Personal bankruptcy assistance

  • Reliable information and options for insolvency and bankruptcy

  • Aiding clients in navigating through bankruptcy in Alberta

They offer support and advice for individuals facing bankruptcy and other debt-related issues.

The Licensed Insolvency Trustees at Fox-Miles & Associates possess the requisite qualifications, having satisfied the necessary educational, experiential, and licensing requirements to offer dependable debt relief and bankruptcy services. By collaborating with Fox-Miles & Associates, you can receive the guidance needed to traverse the intricate bankruptcy process and make the best decisions for your financial future.

Assessing Your Financial Situation

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can help assess a debtor’s financial situation, including their ability to retain their home during bankruptcy and recommend appropriate debt solutions. They take into account factors such as:

  • The equity in the home

  • Mortgage arrears

  • Monthly mortgage payments

  • The market value of the home

  • Provincial exemptions

  • The debtor’s mortgage lender

These factors determine a debtor’s capacity to retain their residence during bankruptcy. Collaborating with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can offer you the following benefits:

  • A clearer perception of your financial state and the choices at your disposal

  • Help in locating a debt solution that is most appropriate for your circumstances

  • Guidance on how to preserve your home during bankruptcy.

Navigating the Bankruptcy Process

Collaborating with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can assist individuals in maneuvering the intricate bankruptcy process, ensuring both debtors and creditors are treated fairly and the risk of losing valuable assets, such as a home, is minimized. They are responsible for administrating proposals and bankruptcies, managing assets held in trust, and providing information and advice regarding the bankruptcy process.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees represent the interests of debtors and creditors, supplying guidance and information, respecting their rights, and guaranteeing fair distribution of assets and repayment terms. By collaborating with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee during the bankruptcy process, you can receive the support and guidance needed to make informed decisions and work towards a brighter financial future.


In conclusion, understanding the relationship between bankruptcy and home ownership in Alberta is crucial for those facing financial challenges. Working with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, such as Fox-Miles & Associates, enables individuals to navigate the complex bankruptcy process, assess their financial situation, and explore strategies for keeping their house. Though the emotional and financial consequences of losing a home during bankruptcy can be significant, seeking professional help and understanding specific exemptions can make a considerable difference in retaining your property and achieving financial stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do they take your house when you claim bankruptcy?

In Alberta, your equity in your home up to $40,000 is exempt from bankruptcy. Any positive equity beyond this amount may need to be realized by the Trustee.

What happens if you declare bankruptcy in Alberta?

Declaring bankruptcy in Alberta leads to remaining bankrupt until you are discharged. Depending on circumstances, you may have to apply for a discharge and must inform creditors when applying for more than $1000 in credit.

How does a consumer proposal operate in the context of bankruptcy and home ownership in Alberta?

A consumer proposal allows debtors to pay a portion of their outstanding debts and retain ownership of their assets, including their home, through a legally binding agreement with creditors in Alberta.