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Foreclosure Help

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Please see the list of common foreclosure questions below. If you can't find what you're looking for, CLICK HERE to ask your own question.

The Arizona Attorney General’s office has provided funding from the National Mortgage Settlement for legal assistance to Arizonans impacted by the foreclosure crisis that swept our nation over the last several years. For more information about services that are available, please follow the link below.

Click on the arrows below to advance the PowerPoint slide presentation on Foreclosure Legal Assistance!


Frequently Asked Questions about Foreclosure

  1. What is Foreclosure?
  2. This is the legal means by which your lender can use to repossess (take over) your home.

    Most people do not have enough money to buy a house or property without financing it through a financial institution or bank. When the bank decides to give a person a loan, they take out a security interest on the property as an assurance that you will continue to make the payments for the property and fulfill the obligations of the loan. This security interest is called a deed of trust. When a person fails to make payments or defaults on the loan, the bank can start a legal process of foreclosure where the lender takes back the property to satisfy the loan.

  3. Is there more than one type of foreclosure?
  4. Yes, there are two types of foreclosure in Arizona: judicial foreclosure and foreclosure by trustee sale. Judicial foreclosure requires the lender to file a lawsuit against the borrower in court. A foreclosure by trustee sale requires the appointed trustee to serve notice of the sale, and wait the statutory period of 90 days before selling the property. Trustee sales are the most commonly used method in Arizona because it is quicker and less costly, making it the preferred option with lenders.

  5. What are my legal rights in the process of foreclosure?
  6. After missing the first few months of payments, your lender will begin to send you notices of default letting you know that you are falling behind in your payments. After several months, usually three, the lender will make a demand that you make your payments.

    If you continue to fail to pay your mortgage, the lender will start the foreclosure process. A notice of trustee sale will be sent to your residence. This notice will be recorded at your county recorder’s office, and will specify a date for your house to be auctioned. This date will be at least 90 days after the notice was sent.
    If the lender sends this notice by certified mail, the process of forcing sale of your home can continue even if you refuse to pick up the certified letter.

    On the date of the sale your house will be put up for auction and sold. Once the property is sold, you will need to leave the property.

  7. Can I work this out with the bank prior to my house going into foreclosure?
  8. If you have missed payments or know that you are going to miss payments, contact your lender. Many banks have programs to help individuals who are at risk of foreclosure. Ask your lender if there are any programs that may assist you.

  9. Do I need an attorney, or can I handle this myself? Whom do I contact?
  10. The answer to this question depends on where you are in the foreclosure process. If you are current on your loan but know that you are going to fall behind, or have just recently started missing payments, you may want to speak with a housing counselor (see this related question ("How long does a foreclosure stay on your credit report?")).

    If you are significantly behind on your payments or have received a notice of trustee sale, you may want to contact an attorney. If you would like to see if you qualify for legal aid, please follow this link. If you don’t have PowerPoint installed, you can click here for the PDF version.

  11. Can legal aid help me with my foreclosure?
  12. To determine if a legal aid agency may be able to help you, please follow this link. If you don’t have PowerPoint installed, you can click here for the PDF version.

  13. I don’t qualify for legal aid. Where can I find an attorney?
  14. If you are looking for an attorney, you can visit one of these resources:
    State Bar of Arizona
    Maricopa County Lawyer Referral Program
    Pima County Lawyer Referral Program
    Legal LEARN—call 866-637-5341

  15. How much time do I have until the foreclosure after receiving papers from the bank?
  16. A person has 90 days after receiving the notice of trustee sale, if the notice of sale has been properly recorded. Notice must be recorded in the county recorder’s office (ARS 33-807).

  17. When do I actually have to leave the house?
  18. During the foreclosure process, a Notice of Trustee Sale will be sent to the property. This paper will provide the date and time of the trustee sale. After the Trustee's Sale, the home belongs to the lender or the person who bought it at the sale.

  19. If I am renting a house and it goes into foreclosure, do I have to leave the property?
  20. In 2009 the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was passed which gave tenants who had entered into a lease the ability to stay in the property for either the term of the lease or 90 days depending on the circumstances of both the tenancy and the foreclosure. If you are renting a house that is in the process of foreclosure, seek legal advice to determine your best option. This act was originally scheduled to expire in 2012 but was extended to December 31, 2014.

  21. If I file bankruptcy, does it stop the foreclosure process?
  22. When a person files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is temporarily placed on the foreclosure. An automatic stay is an injunction that stops all lawsuits and collection activity and includes foreclosure.

  23. How long does a foreclosure stay on your credit report?
  24. A foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years.

  25. Can I stay in my house after it goes to trustee sale?
  26. No; once your house is sold, you are no longer the owner of the property and must remove your personal items from the residence and leave.

  27. Can I get my house back after it is sold?
  28. No; Arizona has no right to redemption. Once your property is sold, you are no longer the owner and will not be able to get the property back.

  29. How do I know if I qualify for any alternatives to foreclosure?
  30. You may find alternatives by first contacting your lender or housing counselor, or contacting the mortgage foreclosure hotline at 877-448-1211.

  31. Where can I find a housing counselor?
  32. The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force
    Phone: 877-448-1211

    Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    Phone: 800-877-8339

  33. What is the Making Homes Affordable program?
  34. The making homes affordable program is a federal program to help people stay in their homes through HAMP or HARP. To learn more about the program, visit their website.

  35. What is the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)?
  36. HAMP helps homeowners who are struggling to keep their loans current or who are already behind on their mortgage payments. By providing participating mortgage loan servicers with financial incentives to modify existing first lien mortgages, the Treasury hopes to help homeowners avoid foreclosure regardless of who owns or guarantees the mortgage. Participation in HAMP is mandatory for servicers of loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (Government-Sponsored Enterprises, or GSEs). Participation in HAMP is voluntary for servicers of non-GSE loans.

  37. What is the Home Affordable Refinance Program?
  38. Eligible homeowners who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take advantage of lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value may have the opportunity to refinance. Through a refinance under HARP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they own or that they guaranteed in mortgage-backed securities. To see if your mortgage is eligible for a refinance, please click here.

  39. If I bought my home under the first-time home buyers program and it goes into foreclosure, do I have to pay back the money I got from the program?
  40. If you bought your home using the first-time home buyers program, you do not need to pay back the money you received from the program unless you received a financial gain when your property was foreclosed.

  41. How can I find out about the federal agreement made with the five large banks, and what were the provisions of the settlement?
  42. On February 9, 2012, a settlement was reached between the 48 states, the federal government, and five of the largest residential mortgage loan servicers. This settlement included new rights for homeowners, including:

    • Aid to homeowners needing loan modifications
    • Aid to borrowers who are current
    • Direct Payments to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure
    • Payments to signing states
    • Nationwide reforms to servicing standards

  43. Are there special programs available if I have special needs or am disabled?
  44. The Arizona Department of Housing has programs for special needs and disabled individuals. These programs may be able to assist you in finding out more information if you are facing foreclosure. Click here for more information.

  45. Is there a special program available if my spouse is deployed?
  46. Veterans and service members who are currently having financial difficulties or are facing foreclosure may have options depending on their lenders. Contact your lender and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discuss your options.

    • VA-Guaranteed Home Loans and Non-VA Guaranteed Home Loans: call 877-827-3702, or visit the website.
    • National Center for Homeless Veterans: call 877-424-3838, or visit the website.

  47. If they foreclose on my home, am I responsible for the outstanding balance/default judgment?
  48. No, Arizona is an anti-deficiency state which prevents lenders from recouping losses they may take when they foreclose on a home that is 2.5 acres or less, a single family dwelling, a single two-family dwelling, or if the deed of trust expressly prohibits recovery of any balance due. (ARS 33-814).

  49. If I am looking to refinance or get a loan modification, can the lender charge up-front fees for mortgage-related assistance?
  50. You do not need to pay a fee to receive help. Report demands for payment to the authorities.

  51. How do I know which programs are scams and which ones are real ones—is there a resource available?
  52. The Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force has created a workbook to help people avoid scams and become better prepared to handle their mortgage difficulties. Click here.

  53. Where can I file a complaint if I believe I have been a victim of a foreclosure rescue scam?
  54. If you believe you are a victim of a foreclosure rescue scam, contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at 602-542-5763, in Tucson at 520-628-6504, or go to the Attorney General’s website.

  55. Are there available foreclosure prevention resources?
  56. Arizona Foreclosure Information Workbook

    Arizona Attorney General’s Office

  57. Where can I ask a legal information question on AzLawHelp?
  58. Follow this link to ask a legal information question on AzLawHelp. Please understand that questions will not be answered immediately.

  59. Where can I find more articles on foreclosure?
  60. AZLawHelp-Foreclosure page


The Arizona Attorney General’s office has provided funding from the National Mortgage Settlement for legal assistance to Arizonans impacted by the foreclosure crisis that swept our nation over the last several years. For more information about services that are available, please follow the link below.