A.R.S. § 33-814 - When And How May A Mortgage Lender Pursue A Deficiency Claim?
In some cases a lender or their successor may maintain a legal action to recover a balance left owing after the sale or foreclosure of real estate pursuant to a trust deed, which is addressed in A.R.S. § 33-807. Section 33-814 addresses the ninety-day time limitation for bringing such actions, the procedure for establishing the fair market value to determine the amount of a deficiency judgment, and the obligations of guarantors. A.R.S. § 33-814 states:
A. Except as provided in subsections F and G of this section, within ninety days after the date of sale of trust property under a trust deed pursuant to section 33-807, an action may be maintained to recover a deficiency judgment against any person directly, indirectly or contingently liable on the contract for which the trust deed was given as security including any guarantor of or surety for the contract and any partner of a trustor or other obligor which is a partnership. In any such action against such a person, the deficiency judgment shall be for an amount equal to the sum of the total amount owed the beneficiary as of the date of the sale, as determined by the court less the fair market value of the trust property on the date of the sale as determined by the court or the sale price at the trustee's sale, whichever is higher. A written application for determination of the fair market value of the real property may be filed by a judgment debtor with the court in the action for a deficiency judgment or in any other action on the contract which has been maintained. Notice of the filing of an application and the hearing shall be given to all parties to the action. The fair market value shall be determined by the court at a priority hearing upon such evidence as the court may allow. The court shall issue an order crediting the amount due on the judgment with the greater of the sales price or the fair market value of the real property. For the purposes of this subsection, "fair market value" means the most probable price, as of the date of the execution sale, in cash, or in terms equivalent to cash, or in other precisely revealed terms, after deduction of prior liens and encumbrances with interest to the date of sale, for which the real property or interest therein would sell after reasonable exposure in the market under conditions requisite to fair sale, with the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably and for self-interest, and assuming that neither is under duress. Any deficiency judgment recovered shall include interest on the amount of the deficiency from the date of the sale at the rate provided in the deed of trust or in any of the contracts evidencing the debt, together with any costs and disbursements of the action.B. If a trustee's sale is a sale of less than all of the trust property or is a sale pursuant to one of two or more trust deeds securing the same obligation, the ninety day time limitations of subsection A of this section shall begin on either the date of the trustee's sale of the last of the trust property to be sold or the date of sale under the last trust deed securing the obligation, whichever occurs last.C. The obligation of a person who is not a trustor to pay, satisfy or purchase all or a part of the balance due on a contract secured by a trust deed may be enforced, if the person has so agreed, in an action regardless of whether a trustee's sale is held. If, however, a trustee's sale is held, the liability of a person who is not a trustor for the deficiency is determined pursuant to subsection A of this section and any judgment for the deficiency against the person shall be reduced in accordance with subsection A of this section. If any such action is commenced after a trustee's sale has been held, it is subject, in addition, to the ninety day time limitations of subsections A and B of this section.D. If no action is maintained for a deficiency judgment within the time period prescribed in subsections A and B of this section, the proceeds of the sale, regardless of amount, shall be deemed to be in full satisfaction of the obligation and no right to recover a deficiency in any action shall exist.E. Except as provided in subsection F of this section, the provisions of this chapter do not preclude a beneficiary from foreclosing a deed of trust in the same manner as a real property mortgage. In an action for the foreclosure of a deed of trust as a real property mortgage the provisions of chapter 6, article 2 of this title are applicable.F. A deed of trust may, by express language, validly prohibit the recovery of any balance due after trust property is sold pursuant to the trustee's power of sale, or the trust deed is foreclosed in the manner provided by law for the foreclosure of mortgages on real property.G. If trust property of two and one-half acres or less which is limited to and utilized for either a single one-family or a single two-family dwelling is sold pursuant to the trustee's power of sale, no action may be maintained to recover any difference between the amount obtained by sale and the amount of the indebtedness and any interest, costs and expenses.
Subsection G is of particular interest to many borrowers, due to its limitation on the ability of lenders to seek a deficiency judgment in the case of residential real estate comprising less than two and one-half acres.
If you are facing a deficiency claim by a lender or you believe you are owed a deficiency after a foreclosure sale you should speak with an Arizona real estate attorney as soon as possible to confirm your rights and obligations.