A deficiency judgment is a public record that appears within your credit history. Deficiency judgments often occur after a home foreclosure or a vehicle repossession and have a negative effect on your credit score.
When a creditor repossesses property to satisfy a debt, the value of the property may be less than the amount owed to the creditor. When this occurs, a creditor may sue you for the balance. If the creditor wins, a deficiency judgment will be issued against you.
A deficiency judgment will remain on your credit report for seven years. If the judgment remains unpaid, however, your creditor may apply with the court to have the judgment renewed for another seven-year period.
The purpose of a deficiency judgment is to help a lender recover losses beyond that of the repossessed property. These types of judgments are often necessary if the item was willfully damaged by a borrower prior to repossession.
If your loan paperwork states that the loan is a “no-recourse” loan, this means that, in the event of a repossession or foreclosure, your lender cannot sue you for any balance beyond the item itself.
In some states, a creditor may request a writ of garnishment from the court after being awarded a deficiency judgment. This will give the creditor the legal right to garnish a certain percentage of your wages every pay period.
- Lawyers.com: Ask a Lawyer Archive
- United States Marshals Service: Writ of Garnishment
- Nolo. "Deficiency Judgment." Accessed May 3, 2020.
- AllLaw. "How Are Deficiency Judgments Collected?" Accessed May 3, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Garnishing Federal Benefits." Accessed May 3, 2020.
- Nolo. "Can Judgment Creditors Go After My Retirement Accounts?" Accessed May 3, 2020.
- AllLaw. "Deficiency Judgments." Accessed May 3, 2020.
- Internal Revenue Service. "Recourse vs. Nonrecourse Debt." Accessed May 3, 2020.
Ciele Edwards holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been a consumer advocate and credit specialist for more than 10 years. She currently works in the real-estate industry as a consumer credit and debt specialist. Edwards has experience working with collections, liens, judgments, bankruptcies, loans and credit law.