What Is A Deficiency Judgment?

A deficiency judgment is a judgment lien against a debtor, defendant or borrower whose foreclosure sale did not produce sufficient funds to pay the mortgage in full. This option may or may not be available to the lender, depending on whether they have made a recourse or non recourse loan.

The fuller, statutory definition as defined by New York is: "the whole residue, or so much thereof as the court may determine to be just and equitable, of the debt remaining unsatisfied, after a sale of the mortgaged property and the application of the proceeds, pursuant to the directions contained in such judgment, the amount thereof to be determined by the court as herein provided.

The plaintiff's attorney (in other words, the bank's lawyer) must make a motion to receive such a deficiency judgment. Otherwise, the amount gained from the sale shall be deemed the full amount owed, and the plaintiff has no right to collect the additional debt. However, if the parties (mortgagor and mortgagee) have already agreed in their mortgage or promissory note, then the debtor could be liable for the full amount.

A debtor who has a deficiency judgment should see an attorney for possible remedies, including bankruptcy, an exemption from creditors,an appeal, or a motion. As with all legal research sources on-line, Internet users should take caution before applying such advice to your own case, and perhaps should consult an attorney.

Example: Upon Default by the Mortgagor a lender Forecloses on the mortgage. The unpaid balance of the loan is $120,000. The property is sold at public Auction and brings $89,000. The lender then seeks a deficiency judgment against the mortgagor to recover the $31,000 shortage, plus foreclosure expenses.

Deficiency States

Legislation enacted during the Depression still restricts the availability of deficiency judgments in several states. In some jurisdictions, deficiency judgments are prescribed in certain situations, while in other states, they are limited to the amount by which the debt exceeds the fair market value of the property. Waiver, the intentional relinquishment of a known right, of the benefits conferred by anti deficiency legislation contravenes public policy and is ineffective.

In non-deficiency states like Arizona a lender is unable to pursue any type of a deficiency judgment. Concerning foreclosures non-deficiency states are advantageous to owners in foreclosure because the lender is unable to pursue the deficiency judgment.

The good news is many lenders do not pursue deficiency judgments because someone that has lost a house to foreclosure is a poor candidate to collections on a deficiency judgment. However, our negotiators do their best to have lenders provide letter waiving intend for deficiency judgment..


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