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Can an apartment garnish my wages in Arizona for unpaid rent and fees for breaking the lease?

Phoenix, AZ |

They charged me a $3000 fee for breaking the lease, I owed one months rent when I left. Can they garnish my wages for this or do I have to appear in court for that to happen? If they sue but I never find out about it can they just win by default?

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Attorney answers 2


Yes, they can garnish your wages, but they have to go through the proper motions to do so, and that includes properly serving you so you know about their lawsuit.

The typical motions are: sue you, win the lawsuit, motion for wage garnishment, win the motion, then garnish your wages until the bill is paid.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe this out, if that is an option for you.

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In Arizona they must sue you prior to being able to garnish your wages. For a judgment to be proper, they must serve you with notice of the law suit and give you an opportunity to respond. However, if they can show the court that they have made multiple attempts to serve you and have been unable to, the judge may permit them to serve you by publication of the law suit in a newspaper (classified section), which you will surely never see.

If you do end up with a garnishment, in Arizona they can take no more than 25% of your earnings each pay check. However, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop the garnishment and discharge the debt.

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