If past due bills and final notices have been piling up, you may find yourself at risk of repossession of your car, home, or other property. Repossessions can negatively impact your credit score for up to seven years and leave you without a mode of transportation or a place to live.
The Lerner and Rowe Law Group understands how difficult it can be to stay on top of payments when you’re struggling financially. A Phoenix repossession lawyer may be able to help you avoid repossession of your tangible assets by filing for bankruptcy.
What Is Repossession?
Repossession can occur when you fail to make payments on a car, home, or other outstanding loans. It signifies the reclaiming of property which has value and is not paid off. Generally speaking, any items that you have offered as collateral under a loan agreement may be subject to repossession. It should be noted that repossession is concerned only with secured debt, meaning that creditors cannot repossess unsecured debt such as most credit card purchases.
Contracts for car loans often include a clause which allows the lender to repossess your vehicle as soon as you miss a payment. In fact, under Arizona law, repossession agencies are not often required to notify you before repossessing your vehicle, nor is a court hearing required. This means that car repossessions can happen with little warning. With the help of a Phoenix repossession lawyer, you may be able to act quickly and avoid it altogether or even recover your vehicle.
For home repossessions, also called foreclosures, the laws are different. Mortgage servicers must wait until you are delinquent on your monthly payments by at least 120 days before they can begin the foreclosure process.
Arizona Repossession Rights
If you have been notified of a lender’s intent to repossess your property or if you believe repossession of your vehicle is imminent, it is crucial that you understand your rights in the state of Arizona. A Phoenix repossession lawyer at Lerner and Rowe Law Group can advise you of these rights and help you make the right decision for you regarding fighting a repossession, filing for bankruptcy, and more.
If your vehicle has already been repossessed, you still have rights. For example, repossession without a court hearing is only permitted under Arizona law if the creditor has perfected its security interest in the car and it is notated on the car title. If the creditor tries to repossess your vehicle without first going through the courts and they have not perfected the security interest, they could face penalties.
In addition, repossession agencies may not under any circumstances use violence, force, or threats to repossess your car, referred to under the Arizona Revised Statutes as “a breach of the peace” (ARS 47-9609). They also may not violate any of Arizona’s trespass laws. If they do, you may be eligible for damages.
Many Arizona home foreclosures occur outside of the court system in what is called a nonjudicial foreclosure, which may only occur if the mortgage contract includes a “power of sale” clause. Although Arizona does not require that the bank notify the debtor about starting the foreclosure process, trustees must notify the debtor by mail within five business days of listing the home’s notice of sale. The home sale must not commence any sooner than 90 days after the notice is posted.
What Are My Options if I’m Facing Repossession?
If you have defaulted on your car payments because of financial hardship, you may be able to work something out with your loan creditor. You may also be able to refinance the auto loan through your bank or credit union, in which case the bank pays off your creditor, and you make monthly payments to them instead.
If you’re facing home foreclosure, you have the right to reinstate your loan anytime in the 90 days prior to the impending home sale to avoid foreclosure. Financial assistance is available to those in Arizona who qualify.
Finally, if you have not yet had your vehicle repossessed or your home foreclosed, you may be able to prevent future repossessions by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and restructuring your debt. To find out if filing for bankruptcy is right for you, talk to a Phoenix repossession lawyer today. They can review any loan contracts you may have and advise you of all your options.
Whom Should I Contact About Repossession?
If you’re experiencing financial hardship including significant debt that makes it impossible to keep up on your monthly car or mortgage payments, a caring and skilled Phoenix repossession lawyer from the Lerner and Rowe Law Group may be able to help.
Our bankruptcy team will fight for your rights following an illegal repossession or foreclosure and make sure creditors don’t take advantage of you. Call us today for a free consultation at 602-667-7777, visit our Phoenix office during normal business hours, chat with a representative online, or submit a free case review 24/7. Alternatively, you can visit our Southern Arizona legal team located in Tucson.