How far behind can you be on house and auto loans before legal action is taken?

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How far behind can you be on house and auto loans before legal action is taken?

Asked on December 2, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The bad news: as a matter of the law, as soon as you fall behind on a loan, the creditor may take action. That is, if you miss or short pay a single payment, the creditor could sue sue you for breach of the loan agreement (basically, breach of contract). Of course, since suing takes time and money, most creditors will not do that--they will wait to see if it's just a temporary blip or problem or oversight, or instead part of a larger problem threatening repayment. However, again, under the law, as soon as you default, the creditor *could* take action. Often, it is a good idea, if you know you are experiencing financial distress, to reach out to your creditors *before* you default on payments. Most creditors are reasonable, especially if debtors try to work with them; if you discuss the matter with creditors in advance, you may be able to get some modification or forebearance that will help you.


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