Will my wages be garnished for unpaid rent/lawyer fees?

Asked almost 4 years ago - Phoenix, AZ

in sept i was going to be evicted. i owed a total of almost $900 & was onlya able to paymy rent of $562. we went to court & case was dismissed because landlord accepted partial payment & i did not sign anything saying i would pay remainder. landlord refused to take oct rent & took us to court again because we had balance from sept. judge found us guilty even though we believed our lease ended in oct & landlord said it was month to month. judge wants us to pay nov rent because we didnt return keys. oct 31 was a sunday & no one was in office to take keys. landlord lied in court but judge did not care & now we owe almost $2100. what happenss next? i filed bankruptcy in march & was discharged last month. can i still have my wages garnished? my mom is on the lease also.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. John M McKindles

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Since the judgment has been entered recently, presumably in Justice Court, you might timely appeal it to Superior Court. It does not sound as though an appeal would be successful, however. Your bankruptcy filing in March would not have included your liability for the subsequent judgment, and so the judgment is viable and can be collected against any non-exempt assets you have. It is very likely, with what you have stated, that your wages could be garnished. Unfortunately, your mother may have some liability under the lease, but I doubt that she was included in the eviction action which rendered the money judgment. If she was not included as a party to the eviction (Forcible Entry and Detainer), she would not be liable for the judgment you refer to. The landlord could possibly bring a separate action against her for breach of contract.
    You may have other strategic options which might be explored in a fuller discussion of all the facts. You might consider contacting the landlord to propose a discounted payoff or terms for payment on the judgment, without revealing anything specific about your financial resources. You do not want to give a judgment creditor any information which can be used by him to collect.

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