As the foreclosure crisis continues throughout Massachusetts and the rest of the country, mortgage/deed reformations continue to be popular cases in Massachusetts Land Court and Superior Court. With the right approach, these cases can be effective tools in foreclosure defense.
Reformation cases, simply put, are attempts by banks and lenders to fix mistakes in mortgages and deeds. When a mortgage loan is in default, the foreclosing entity often takes a close look at the title to see if the paperwork is in order. In many cases, these foreclosing entities are finding huge mistakes in mortgages and deeds, including incorrect property descriptions and missing information (a reason why real estate law has one of the highest areas of legal malpractice).
The bank and lenders will often first try to contact the borrowers and see if they will consent to correcting the mistake. If they won’t, the bank or lender needs to bring a court action to reform the mortgage or deed. These cases are generally brought in either Superior Court or Land Court and ask the Court to correct the error based on principles of equity and fairness.
Following a common piece of advice given on this blog: if you get notice of one of these lawsuits against you, don’t ignore it. The foreclosing entity is bringing one of these lawsuits for a simple reason: unless it corrects the mistake in the land records, it can’t foreclose. With this in mind, you may be able to use this mistake to your benefit and negotiate with your lender for a loan modification or some alternatives.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, contact me for a consultation.