It depends on how you lost your house (foreclosure vs short sale) and which position the loan was in (1st Trust Deed or Junior Trust Deed).
If you did a short sale, then whoever negotiated the short sale should have made sure that you were relieved from any liability for the deficiency in the payment. If they did not, and if you signed a short sale letter that stated the bank retains the right to pursue you for the deficiency, then guess what; they can come after you for payment.
If the property was lost to foreclosure, then usually (you will have check with an attorney, as there are some exceptions to the rule) the foreclosing bank can only take the house and they do not have a right to come after you for the balance owed. However, quite often, it is the lender in 1st position that forecloses.
Many people believe that "if the 1st forecloses, the 2nd loan is wiped out". I hear people say this all the time and it is WRONG. When the 1st forecloses, the 2nd lien is wiped out, in fact it wipes out all junior liens (i.e. trust deeds), but it does not wipe out the associated debt (i.e. note). When you took the loan you signed both a note (promise to pay) and a deed of trust (a pledge of your home as collateral if you do not keep your promise to pay). The trust deed is wiped out but not the promise to pay or note. The note just reverts to being unsecured, like your credit cards. And the lender can still sue you for payment of the debt, possibly get a judgment, and then attach your wages or your bank account or other assets you own.
Lastly, what we are seeing right now is collection companies buying the right to try and collect on old mortgage debt. Often, because the borrower does not know their rights, and because some of these companies use strong arm tactics, they can frighten you into paying something you don't owe. So if someone is coming after you for a debt on your prior home, you need to contact an attorney and figure out if you are still liable on the debt. Then take the appropriate action.
Hope this helps. Dare to Dream.
Shel-lee Davis, QSCÂ®
Certified Distressed Property Expert â€“ CDPEÂ®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource â€“ SFRÂ®
Certified HAFA Specialist â€“ CHSÂ®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty