Attorney Real Estate Expert

California Anti-Deficiency Laws

California has laws which prevent a lender from seeking a deficiency judgment in certain circumstances. These anti-deficiency laws are located in California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Sections 580b, 580d, 580e and 726.

CCP 580b: Purchase Money Protection

CCP 580b prohibits deficiency judgments after the foreclosure of a “purchase money loan.” This law applies to both commercial and residential properties, but its most powerful application is for owner-occupied residential homes (with 1 to 4 units only). This protection applies even if the loan is a junior lien (and even if the junior lien is ‘wiped out’ in foreclosure), so long as it is also a “purchase money loan.” In the residential context, a purchase money loan is any loan where the proceeds are used to acquire an owner-occupied residential home. Funds can be used for termite work, roof repairs and closing costs, as long as all of the expenses were necessary to complete the purchase. The determination of whether a loan is purchase money occurs at the time that the loan is originated. If a loan is purchase money when originated, it retains the protections of 580b unless it is refinanced with a “cash out” loan (to the extent of the amount of cash pulled out). The borrower is protected in the event of a refinance of a purchase money loan to the extent the new loan paid off the balance of the purchase money loan, but not for any amounts which would generate cash proceeds above the purchase money debt.

CCP 580d: No deficiency after a non-judicial foreclosure

CCP 580d prohibits a lender from pursuing a deficiency judgment after that lender forecloses on the property through a non-judicial foreclosure process. Wiped out juniors are not subject to this prohibition and could immediately proceed against the borrower.

CCP 580e: No deficiency after a successful short sale

CCP 580e prohibits a lender from pursuing a deficiency judgment after that lender approves a short sale transaction and accepts proceeds from the sale. This applies to junior loans that also approval the short sale and accept proceeds from the transaction. No lender is required to accept the short sale, however, and can reject the transaction outright.

CCP 726: The One Form of Action Rule

CCP 726(a) is the One Action/Security First Rule.

Put simply, the lender must pursue the property first. This is known as “exhausting” the collateral (the “security first” rule). They cannot sue for payment on the loan first. If they foreclose on the home and make all their money back, they can’t go after the borrower.

If the lender ignores this rule, and brings a personal lawsuit against the borrower, or takes any other action to collect upon the debt, without having first foreclosed on the real property security, this gives the borrower very powerful defenses against that lender.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Attorney Real Estate Expert


LAWYERS REALTY GROUP is an attorney owned and operated real estate brokerage that was formed to help level the playing field between struggling homeowners and the banks who are threatening them with foreclosure, eviction, deficiency judgments, and collection actions.

Unlike traditional real estate agents, loan mod companies, bankruptcy attorneys, litigators and others who aggressively market their particular one-size-fits-all solution regardless of a homeowner’s future liability and financial well-being, Lawyers Realty Group provides clients with a customized analysis of their options, free legal counseling and clear direction on how to best resolve their particular mortgage issues – all without charging fees to the homeowner.

Derik N. Lewis, Esq., is the founder and president of Lawyers Realty Group. Derik is a California real estate attorney and a licensed Realtor® . He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law and has nearly 30 years of real estate experience. For more than two decades as an attorney in private practice, Derik has represented California homeowners with difficult real estate matters. Derik previously served as legal counsel for some of the world’s largest lenders including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase (he knows how they operate and how to work within their systems to help you achieve the best possible outcome). He is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Law speaking on real estate law, brokerage and litigation.

Professional Associations

  • Admitted to all State and Federal Courts in California
  • California Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • National Association of Realtors
  • California Association of Realtors
  • Orange County Association of Realtors
  • California Regional Multiple Listing Service

No Cost Services

Free legal analysis of all of your options, including how to limit or eliminate tax and deficiency liability.

Complete representation for the option that best suits your situation, whether you need assistance in reviewing a loan modification, filing bankruptcy, seeking a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, pursuing a planned foreclosure or selling in a short sale.

Free Bankruptcy filing in the BK/Short Sale package.

Free legal review and fraud analysis of all solicitations from the bank, real estate agents, lawyers or others.

Free and complete short sale representation including MLS listing, marketing, negotiation, deficiency waivers and closing. You need an Attorney/Realtor® to provide legal leverage and fully protect your interests.

Have Questions?

We are here to answer any questions you have!

Short Sale or Forbearance Loan Modification California Home
Foreclosure Avoidance

California Homeowners Facing Foreclosure when Forbearance Ends

When the national forbearance programs end, there will be more than 3 million homeowners facing a mountain of delinquent payments, according to a recent report from Redfin. A significant portion of those homeowners will be over-leveraged or in such financial despair that they could lose their homes to foreclosure.

Read More »
Forbearance Loan Modification
Foreclosure Avoidance

Exiting Mortgage Forbearance Safely

Mortgage Forbearance Provided Temporary Relief, But What Happens Next?

For most California homeowners impacted by Covid-19, a mortgage forbearance was an excellent option to alleviate the immediate financial hardship. BUT…

Read More »