Foreclosure Article


Mortgage Reaffirmation Requirements Bogus

When a homeowner files for bankruptcy there is most likely a lender on the home involved. Once the discharge of the debts is entered by the Bankruptcy Court then borrower is no longer personally liable for the debt. But, if the borrower wants to keep their home they will need to pay the regular monthly payment because there is a lien or security interest in the real property. Some lenders will ask the borrower to sign a reaffirmation agreement after the bankruptcy is filed. This reaffirmation agreement will give the lender the right to sue the borrower if there is a later default.

Some states have laws that protect their homeowners called no-recourse or anti-deficiency statutes. For instance in Arizona a house homeowner cannot be sued after a trustee’s sale is completed so long as the property fits into a certain description: 2 1/2 acres or less, utilized and occupied as a one or two family residence. Therefore, even if an Arizona homeowner signs a reaffirmation agreement they will be not be liable on a first position deed of trust (probably not true for a junior deed of trust). Having said that the judges in Arizona will not sign reaffirmation agreements on residential property. They take this position in order to protect the naive homeowner who is being bullied by the lender into signing a reaffirmation agreement.

Reaffirmation agreement becomes effective upon filing with the Court if represented by an attorney and not presumed an undue hardship. Per the reaffirmation agreement language set out in the Code, “…No court approval is required if your reaffirmation agreement is for a consumer debt secured by a mortgage, deed of trust, security deed, or other lien on your real property, like your home.” § 524(k)(3)(J)(i)7.

Many lenders will state that they cannot refinance a mortgage loan because the loan was not reaffirmed in the bankruptcy. But, any lender has the right to refinance any loan, assuming no federal or state prohibitions. Instead the lender blames the borrower’s attorney. Stating that the attorney did something wrong. In Arizona this is a bold faced lie.

Many programs will refinance once a bankruptcy is completed. For instance -Borrowers who have received a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge in a case involving the first lien mortgage who did not reaffirm the mortgage debt under applicable law are eligible for certain programs, depending on the type of loan. According to one expert “The following language must be inserted in Section 1 of the Home Affordable Modification Agreement: “I was discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding subsequent to the execution of the loan documents. Based on this representation, Lender agrees that I will not have personal liability on the debt pursuant to this Agreement.” ” Accord, In re Bellano, 456 B.R. 220, 224 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 2011); In re Owens, 10-72509, 2013 WL 4052874 (Bankr. W.D. Va. Aug. 9, 2013) (“…the lack of a reaffirmation agreement with the Bank and the issuance of the discharge to the Debtor do not appear to preclude the latter even now from filing an application under the HAMP program.”); In re Pope, 10-19688-RGM, 2011 WL 671972 (Bankr. E.D. Va. Feb. 17, 2011) (Finding that a lender’s requirement of reaffirmation as a condition precedent to consideration of a loan modification was improper).

My point – your lender is not your friend when it comes to reaffirmation agreements. Talk to your attorney, get good legal advice in order to determine the law and your rights. Talk to the folks at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. Talk to other lenders. This is an area of law that is changing every day. Do not fall into the trap of assuming a “no” today will still be a “no” tomorrow.

Contributing Attorney: Diane L. Drain is an Arizona bankruptcy attorney at the Law Office of D L Drain.  



Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • If a writ of eviction is issued after a foreclosure, must the new owner store the evicted person's goods, or are they put out on the street?
  • we are currently listed as owner's to a mortgage but signed transfer of property- deed papers to an investor of whom we have been making monthly payments to. We have been informed by the mortgage that our payments have not been submitted and that we will soon be in foreclosure. What can we do? This investor promised to assume the mortage as well as the property but really only filed tranfer of property and continues to collect our money, of which has been steady each month.
  • I was informed of trustee sale to take place 06/2008 on my home in Florence, AZ. My Husband and I decided it was best to vacate the home with our family before the sale. We filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2011 and included the home and HOA. We received a letter from an attorney, suing us for HOA dues, post bankruptcy. Wouldn't it already be considered foreclosed from the notified date of sale, even if it was postponed?
  • We are currently renting a home that is being foreclosed on. A realtor is telling me to allow him to put a safe lock on the door and show the home. What are my rights? He claims to work for the trustee.
  • I belong to a Property Owner's Association. The manager and the original Developer states we do not follow ARS Title 33 because the Association is a non-profit corp. and does not own property. We are all mandated members that must pay dues to maintain the roads that are dedicated to public use. We have bylaws, CC&R's. Is this true? The developer is getting properties back thru foreclosures and says he does not owe dues and is using his 10-1 votes from the foreclosures. Our CC&Rs say that if the first mortgagee gets property back they are not liable for past dues, but from acquisition. Help?
  • I relocated to AZ and still have a house in Nevada. I can no longer make both house payments and am considering letting my house in NV foreclosing or short sale. Not sure what tax liabilities or other repercussions may he entailed.
  • My home was in the middle of probate when they sold it so prior to bank sold it to company and because there wasn't somebody legally responsible for the loan hence I had to probate it before anybody at company would discuss it with me, and they granted me executorship a week after the sale. I then had a stroke and was in hospital, court papers scheduled in a few days to go to court. I want to keep my house of 17years what can I do? Please help fast. I am a widower of a vet and on disability as well.
  • I am curious about the 90 day requirement to file a lawsuit for a deficiency on a foreclosed home. In my case, I had a purchase money loan and a second mortgage from the same lender. After the foreclosure, the lender has continued to keep the second mortgage in an "open" status. Is the lender barred from suing on the second mortgage past 90 days of foreclosure or do they have up to the 6 year AZ statute of limitations to sue?
  • I filed for ch. 7 bankruptcy and my debts were discharged on June 2011. To this date I'm badly behind on my house payments, and my lender offers me a reduced monthly payment of $350. The problem is that my lender does not want to make any promises in writing and does not give me straight answers on what happens if I keep my end of the deal. I'm affraid my lender will simply foreclose when it may fit its interest, disregard of my needs. Also, it is wise to enter into any deals post bankruptcy if my debts are discharded already and thus, uncollectable? Thanks!
  • Does the Superior Court have a procedure for expedited processing of time sensitive cases? If so, would that procedure be applicable to a foreclosure of the right to redeem a tax lien?

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