Upside Down on Automotive Mortgage – Chapter 13 Cram Down Provisions and Chapter 7 Redemption

Upside Down on Automotive Mortgage – Chapter 13 Cram Down Provisions and Chapter 7 Redemption

Clients typically discover themselves in want of debt reduction due to a automobile mortgage gone badly.

Modern-day society necessitates proudly owning and sustaining an car which typically evolves right into a devastating monetary burden. Lenders are fast in financing autos figuring out debtors extremely prioritize car transportation over most different monetary obligations. Even debtors with adverse credit are fitted into an car financing packages priced at excessive rates of interest to compensate aggressive lenders for the added threat.

Monetary problem typically arises from auto financing. The glad automobile purchaser drives their new car off the lot financed practically 100%. Because the saying goes, nearly instantly thereafter, the brand new car depreciates in worth a number of thousand {dollars} earlier than it’s even hits the freeway.

Vehicle transportation prices $4,000.00 to $6,000.00 yearly together with auto mortgage funds, legal responsibility and collision insurance coverage, repairs and upkeep and gasoline.

Havoc begins when an surprising automobile restore not coated by guarantee, or a motorcar accident, unexpectedly and considerably decreases the worth of the car far beneath the excellent mortgage steadiness owed to the financial institution. Or, maybe extra harmlessly, we trade-in for a brand new car the place keen automobile salespersons and lenders agree to soak up your outdated car on commerce, and throw the remaining excellent steadiness out of your outdated automobile mortgage (for a bit of larger fee) on the back-end of your new auto mortgage leaving the brand new automobile purchaser significantly ‘upside-down’ on the brand new car buy.

These conditions go away the borrower in a predicament the place sizable parts of earnings are devoted in the direction of masking an unsecured auto debt obligation that’s of no use in the direction of sustaining modest prices of requirements for household dwelling.

Beneath sure circumstances reduction from these devastating monetary predicaments could be obtained by means of a chapter submitting.


Beneath Chapter 13 of the US Chapter Code, Debtors are permitted to ‘Cram Down’ the unsecured portion of their auto loans to the honest market worth of the car securing the mortgage. This requires debtors to pay again solely the secured portion of the auto mortgage, however the unsecured steadiness is handled as a common unsecured collectors offering substantial profit for the Debtor, allowing Debtor to solely pay a small fraction of the unsecured portion of the auto mortgage debt that’s owed.

For instance, let’s suppose our debtor owns a automobile price $10,000.00 and there may be an auto mortgage with a payoff steadiness of $20,000.00. On this situation, the mortgage is simply partially secured. The auto lender is secured solely to the extent of the worth of the car or $10,000.00. The remaining $10,000.00 steadiness on the mortgage is unsecured. On this scenario the Chapter Code affords the Debtor the proper to chop off the unsecured portion of the auto mortgage and deal with that portion of the mortgage as unsecured. So, if Normal Unsecured Collectors have been solely receiving a dividend of 20%, the auto lender would obtain solely $2,000.00 on its unsecured portion of the auto mortgage.

These conditions grow to be sticky between Debtor and Lender as a result of typically disagreements come up as to the proper worth of the car. Your chapter lawyer might want to negotiate a settlement over the valuation earlier than affirmation of the Debtor’s Chapter 13 plan.

Valuation is guided below provisions of the US Chapter code, particularly 11 US Code § 506 – Willpower of Secured Standing.

11 USC §506(a)(2) particularly states:

“If the debtor is a person in a case below chapter 7 or 13, such worth with respect to private property securing an allowed declare shall be decided primarily based on the substitute worth of such property as of the date of the submitting of the petition with out deduction for prices of sale or advertising. With respect to property acquired for private, household, or family functions, substitute worth shall imply the value a retail service provider would cost for property of that sort contemplating the age and situation of the property on the time worth is decided” emphasis added

The Cram Down provision below the chapter code additionally gives for a discount of the rate of interest on the auto mortgage. Usually Debtors discover themselves shelling out monumental auto funds used to cowl exorbitant rates of interest auto lenders typically cost to dangerous debtors.

An attention-grabbing exception was enacted below the 2005 Amendments to the US Chapter Code prohibiting cram downs the place the acquisition cash auto mortgage was originated inside 910 days (2 ½ years) of the submitting date of the Chapter 13 chapter [see 11 U.S.C §1325(a)(9)]. Debtors should contemplate timing of a Chapter 13 submitting in the event that they need to flee the burden of a burdensome auto mortgage debt. Chapter guidelines require automobile loans taken out inside 2 ½ years of the chapter submitting should be paid as agreed.


Cram downs aren’t permitted below Chapter 7 chapter (or ‘straight chapter’). However, Chapter 7 debtors are permitted to ‘redeem’ private property below 11 USC §722.

11 USC §722 gives as follows:

“A person debtor might… redeem tangible private property meant primarily for private, household, or family use, from a lien securing a dischargeable shopper debt, if such property is exempted below part 522 of this title or has been deserted below part 554 of this title, by paying the holder of such lien the quantity of the allowed secured declare of such holder that’s secured by such lien in full on the time of redemption.” emphasis added

Redemption, nonetheless, could be tough below Chapter 7 as a result of debtors should pay upfront in full a lump sum of money an quantity enough to pay the secured portion of the auto mortgage measured by the honest market worth of the car on the time Debtor seeks to redeem the car. Chapter 7 doesn’t allow a restructuring of the mortgage, however typically the auto lender will settle for funds over time, however often inside a brief time period.


In case your car is price lower than you owe on it, chapter choices could be advantageous in the direction of affording you to retain your car and transfer in the direction of higher monetary well being.

Chapter 13 can cut back or ‘cram down’ your mortgage steadiness and rates of interest thereby decreasing your auto fee making it reasonably priced. Chapter 13 additionally allows you to restructure late auto funds and unfold them over the time period of the Chapter 13 plan so you possibly can afford to catch up the late funds inside your private monetary means.

Chapter 7 chapter doesn’t accommodate restructuring of mortgage repayments however the §722 redemption provisions permit debtors to buy their autos out of chapter for the honest market worth of the car, leaving the unsecured portion of the debt discharged below the Chapter 7 chapter.

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Supply by David S. Stern, Esq