How to Renew a Judgment

A.R.S § 12-1551 states that judgments can be enforced within five years of the entry of the judgement or within five years of any renewal of the judgment. The judgment can be renewed by affidavit or by bringing an action on the judgment. A judgment creditor who fails to timely renew their judgment may have their judgment declared void, as in the case of Mobile Discount Corp. v. Hargus, 156 Ariz. 559, 753 P.2d 1215, (App.1988).

In Mobile Discount Corp., the plaintiff obtained a judgement of $2,231.74 against the defendants on February 26, 1976. An affidavit renewing the judgment for an additional five years was filed on January 29, 1981. A second renewal affidavit was filed on February 14, 1986, and recorded on February 21 of that year, which was 16 days after the expiration of the first five year judgment renewal.

A.R.S. § 12-1612 clearly states that “the judgment creditor or his personal representative or assignee may within ninety days preceding the expiration of five years from the date of entry of such judgment, make and file an affidavit, known as a renewal affidavit…” However, paragraph (E) of this section states that “Additional and successive renewal affidavits as provided for in subsection B may be made and filed within ninety days of expiration of five years from the date of the filing of a prior renewal affidavit.” The plaintiff claimed that this section allowed for subsequent renewals within 90 days after the expiration of a judgment, making their second renewal timely under the statute.

The court disagreed, stating that renewal must occur within 90 days before expiration of the renewal. The plaintiff had therefore missed the renewal deadline, and the judgment against the defendants was declared void.

If a judgment creditor uses their judgment to create a lien on real property, the lien has its own filing requirements, and must be filed in the county where the debtor owns real property. A renewal of a judgment does not automatically cause a renewal of a judgment lien. The lienholder must file the renewal affidavit with the county recorder in order to keep the property lien in effect under A.R.S. § 12-1613.

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