Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reader Comments on Judge's Decision

Register Howe has written several posts on this blog regarding a major ruling by Land Court Judge Keith Long. Long's ruling says that the practice of mortgage holders of foreclosing on properties and later proving ownership is wrong. In an earlier post Register Howe explained this in more detail..."in each case the lender had conducted (or at least commenced) foreclosure proceedings before the documents assigning the mortgage being foreclosed to the entity conducting the foreclosure as recorded at the registry of deeds. The court ruled that such a situation left a defect in the title, reasoning that at a minimum, having such ambiguous documentation of the mortgage at the start of the foreclosure could suppress possible bidders to the detriment of the borrower/property owner who is indebted to the lender." Yesterday Judge Long denied a request made by Wells Fargo and refused to reverse his early decision. The Boston Globe published a follow up article on this issue which encouraged many reader comments. I selected several of these I found interesting and posted them below.

Readers Comments
Comment 1: His decision is correct... you cannot call in a debt without proving you are owed the money.

Comment 2: Judge Long ruled correctly. Land Court rules are clear with limited room for interpretation. Banks have been playing fast and loose with the law. Banks have legal council and I'm certain Council warned them about this matter. These banks may be headquartered in other states but Massachusetts law must be obeyed.
Banks have been conditionally selling to other banks that specialize in liquidation for a fast profit. They have refused to accommodate owners with mortgage adjustments on adjustable loans that charge horrendous interest rates and will not allow short sales and yes they have refused to maintain the homes, letting the homes fall into disrepair.

Comment 3: Lenders use every single word on the mortgage note to insure they (or their assignees) receive their monies. Borrowers have the justice system to make certain to fight what maybe a wrong. plus, a borrower doesn't want to pay off a loan and have another party come and say "you should have paid me"

Comment 4: However, it impacts normal sales in the sense that the rules of real property transfers are being upheld. Just as you can't sell your house to someone without their bank (or them) being comfortable that title is clear and having title insurance in case it isn't, now the lenders are being forced to play by those rules as well. If they had been/will be allowed to flaunt the rules, chances are some normal sales could be impacted as well by other people trying to flaunt the rules, or other rules to their advantage.

Commment 5: This makes absolutely not sense what so ever. Why? Well in Massachusetts all sales of property that involves a bank are done requiring a title rundown. Attorneys who do the title rundowns then certify to the Title Insurance Company that the title is free and clear. Plus the attorney makes sure that the appropriate paperwork is filed in the appropriate registry of deeds to show their is a mortgage on the property. So this all smells of incompetent work on the part of the attorneys, banks and even the title companies. There are more to blame here and each of these entities and if I am mistaken each can be sued or at least their insurance policies.
Now, I want to state one thing - in Massachusetts I have never known real estate attorney to make such a mistake on making sure the titles were clear. My guess is this was done by non professionals or attorneys from other states who were not up on Massachusetts procedures.

Commment 6: Sally Homeowner has Mortgage with ABC Bank. Sally Homeowner stops making payments. ABC Bank is just a servicer and doesn't know how to foreclose. ABC Bank assigns Mortgage to XZY Bank. (unfortunately this Assignment is never recorded at the Registry of Deeds). XYZ records a foreclosure complaint at the Registry of Deeds. XYZ forecloses and sells house to Billy Bargainhunter. Foreclosure is incorrect because Assignment wasn't recorded prior to Foreclosure complaint. So how could Sally Homeowner have possibly known what was going on?!?! I mean, she just thought if I stop making payments, I'll be fine. (sarcasm emphasis added here) Just a very tickytack ruling that has been disguised as consumer protection but is just a ruling based on emotions. Appeals Court would be wise to overturn this, which I'm assuming will happen next.

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