By now, most Realtors® have heard the rumblings about defective bank foreclosures in Oregon and elsewhere. What you may not have heard is that these flawed foreclosures can result in potential title problems down the road.
Here’s the “Readers Digest” version of the issue: Several recent federal court cases in Oregon have chastised lenders for failing to follow the trust deed foreclosure law. This law, found inORS 86.735(1), essentially says that before a lender may foreclose, it must record all assignments of the underlying trust deed. This requirement assures that the lender purporting to currently hold the note and trust deed can show the trail of assignments back to the original bank that first made the loan.
Due to poor record keeping, many banks cannot easily locate the several assignments that occurred over the life of the trust deed. Since Oregon’s law only requires assignment as a condition to foreclosing, the reality of the requirement didn’t hit home until the foreclosure crisis was in full swing, i.e. 2008 and after.
Being unable to now comply with the successive recording requirement, the statute was frequently ignored. The result was that most foreclosures in Oregon were potentially based upon a flawed process. One recent federal case held that the failure to record intervening assignments resulted in the foreclosure being “void.” In short, a complete nullity – as if it never occurred.
Aware of this law, the Oregon title industry is considering inserting a limitation on the scope of its policy coverage in certain REO sales. The limitation would apply where the underlying foreclosure did not comply with the assignment recording requirement of ORS 86.735(1). This means that the purchaser of certain bank-owned homes may not get complete coverage under their owner’s title policy. Since many banks have not generally given any warranties in their
REO deeds, there is a risk that a buyer will have no recourse (i.e. under their deed or their title insurance policy) should someone later attack the legality of the underlying foreclosure.
Realtors® representing buyers of REO properties should keep this issue in mind. While this is not to suggest that brokers become “title sleuths,” it is to suggest that they be generally aware of the issue, and mention it to their clients, when appropriate. If necessary, clients should be told to consult their own attorney. This is the “value proposition” that a well-informed Realtor® brings to the table in all REO transactions.
©2011 Phillip C. Querin, QUERIN LAW, LLC
Visit Phil Querin’s web site for more information about Oregon Real Estate Law http://www.q-law.com
- Bank-Owned Backlog Still Building, by Carole VanSickle, Bryan Ellis Real Estate News Letter (oregonrealestateroundtable.com)
- Oregon Foreclosures: The Mess That MERS Made, by Phil Querin, Q-Law.com (oregonrealestateroundtable.com)
- Mr. Bevilacqua and the “Brooklyn Bridge Problem”, by Phil Querin, Q-Law.com (oregonrealestateroundtable.com)
- 10 Types of Companies Involved with Foreclosures (doorfly.com)
- Here Is What The Liberal Dems Have Done To The Housing Market, But They Stuck It To The Mortgage Companies (rantsandrage.com)
- The Neophyte’s Publication To Locating REO Properties In a Slow Market (pro2sell.com)
- Oregon Judge Denies Foreclosure, Challenges MERS (blogs.wsj.com)
- Oregon Foreclosures Jump 236% (maxredline.typepad.com)
- REO – Stay tuned, there’s more to come… (indeedwevest.wordpress.com)
- Assignment of Deed of Trust (heymarko.wordpress.com)
- Mortgage Recording ‘Fix’ Falls Short in Oregon (blogs.wsj.com)
- Bank of America Foreclosed On (epti.wordpress.com)