In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, Helvetica Servicing, Inc., v. Pasquan, 2019 WL 3820015, (8/15/19), the Court of Appeals addressed the distinction between (1) a construction loan (or refinance of same) and (2) a home improvement loan (or refinance of same), as it relates to Arizona’s anti-deficiency statute, A.R.S. §33-729(A).
In general, an anti-deficiency statute provides that although a purchase-money lender or a construction lender can – in appropriate circumstances – foreclose on their loan and cause a sale of the property to pay the loan, the lender cannot (if the statutory criteria are met) force the homeowner/borrower to pay the remaining balance still owed on the loan following the foreclosure (known as the deficiency). In other words, if the anti-deficiency rule applies, the lender’s sole remedy to collect on the loan is a foreclosure sale of the property; and the homeowner/borrower’s downside risk is loss of the property in foreclosure; the homeowner/borrower does not have any personal liability to pay the remaining unpaid balance of the loan post-foreclosure. In effect, the homeowner/borrower can simply walk away and not have to repay the loan.