When a lender or creditor tries to repossess a car, boat, motorcycle, RV, or any other property from a debtor who has fallen behind on their payments, they must follow specific legal guidelines and procedures. These rules include providing written notice that repossession is imminent and seeking a court order if necessary.
An experienced Torrance, CA repossession defense attorney can help you understand the law as it applies to your specific situation and provide assistance in developing strategies for defending against repossession. At the Law Offices of James C. Shields, we have years of experience representing clients facing repossession and will fight to protect your rights throughout the process. So if you are facing repossession in Torrance, CA, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights and options.
Under What Circumstances Can a Lender Repossess Your Car or Other Property?
Most lenders have the right to repossess a car or other property if the borrower is in default of their loan agreement. Generally, this means falling behind on payments even by one day or violating other contract terms, such as allowing your insurance to lapse. If a lender plans to repossess, they must provide written notice and explain how the borrower can avoid repossession by curing the default.
What Should You Do If Facing a Repo in Torrance, CA?
The actions you take when facing repossession can significantly impact the outcome. Below is a step-by-step breakdown of what to do to avoid or fight a repossession:
- Contact the lender. Try to contact the lender right away and explain your situation. They may work out an arrangement that allows you to keep your car or other property.
- Respond to notices of repossession. If you receive notice that the lender plans to repossess, respond promptly and follow all instructions. This could help you avoid or delay a repossession.
- Consult an attorney. A skilled Torrance, CA, repossession defense attorney can review your case and explain your legal options for defending against repossession or negotiating with the lender. We will also provide guidance for protecting your rights throughout the process.
What Defenses Can a Qualified Attorney Use to Fight Repo?
The exact defenses available for fighting repossession will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. But the most common strategies include the following:
- Wrongful repossession of the property. For example, if the loan agreement states that the lender shall give a 60-day notice before repossessing and they did not, then the repossession may be considered wrongful.
- Disputing that you are in default of the loan agreement. If the lender claims that you are in default based on a misunderstanding or inaccuracy, this can be used as a defense.
- Challenging whether the debt is still owed. This can include cases where the statute of limitations has expired or the debt was discharged in bankruptcy.
- You are in the military. Per the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), creditors cannot repossess a car or other property owned by someone on active military duty.
How a Torrance, CA, Repossession Defense Attorney Can Help
If facing repossession, you may have various legal options to avoid or fight a repo. An experienced Torrance, CA, repossession defense attorney can help you understand the law pertaining to your case and assist in developing strategies for defending against repossession. Here is a quick overview of some of your options:
- Negotiating with the lender. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan or other arrangement with the lender that allows you to keep your car or other property and avoid repossession.
- Representing you in a deficiency lawsuit. If the lender is adamant and repossesses the property, they may still pursue you for any remaining balance. We can represent you in court to help protect your rights and defend against a deficiency judgment.
- Exploring bankruptcy options. Depending on the circumstances, bankruptcy may be an option for stopping a repossession or discharging some of your debt. We can provide guidance for understanding how bankruptcy works and help determine if it is the right option for your case. For example, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can help you avoid a repo by restructuring your debt or reducing your monthly payments. Conversely, filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy enables you to avoid penalties and deficiency balances despite losing the property.
At The Law Offices of James C. Shields, we are well-versed in California's repossession law and have extensive experience representing clients in Torrance, CA. Our team is available to provide personalized legal advice and help you understand your options for protecting your rights and interests throughout this process. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!