Written by attorney Benjamin D Knaupp

Dealing With Foreclosure in Oregon Part V: What happens to my property debts after foreclosure?

This article is a continuation from a previously published legal guide.

#5. What happens to my property debts after foreclosure? So lets say your home is worth $300,000 on the open market, and you owe $350,000. The foreclosure sale occurs, and the bank ends up with ownership of your home. Can the bank pursue collection of the other $50,000 you owe? What if you also have a second mortgage for $25,000? Will the second mortgage lender pursue collection of its debt against you? Under an Oregon law sometimes referred to as the "anti-deficiency statute," currently the first mortgage holder cannot pursue you for the unpaid debt; but a second mortgage holder is not barred from a personal lawsuit to collect its debt from you. Homeowners with more than one mortgage typically face a foreclosure action from the lender in first position, which, if finalized, removes any junior mortgages as a lien against the property. However, this does not erase your debt to the lender, and they retain the right to sue you if you default on your promissory note. It is not common for a second position lender to pursue you for a deficiency after the foreclosure sale, unless they believe you have sufficient personal assets available to satisfy a judgment. Therefore in some circumstances, it might be advisable to continue paying the second mortgage, or negotiate a deal with the lender if you have other assets you want to protect from a lawsuit. Another debt that is becoming more common is homeowners association dues and assessments. Increasing numbers of young, first-time homeowners in Oregon are buying town-homes and condominiums. Many of these homeowners don’t understand that when you hold title to property which is governed by a homeowners association, you are personally liable for the debts and assessments. Oregon law allows the homeowners association to file a lien against your property for unpaid dues and assessments; and also to bring a personal lawsuit against the owners if the money is not paid. Therefore, a foreclosure sale does not relieve the homeowners of personal liability for dues and assessments levied during the time they held title to the property.

Next up is part 6: Will I owe tax on my debts after foreclosure?

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