Monday, September 28, 2020

Foreclosure: Advertisements of Sale

    The Code of Virginia provides specific guidance as to advertisements for foreclosure sales. The sale must be properly advertised or it will be void upon order of the court. 
     Virginia Code §55-59.2 states that if the deed of trust provides for the number of publications of the advertisements, no other or different advertisement shall be necessary, provided that: if the advertisement is inserted on a weekly basis, it shall be published not less than once a week for two weeks, and, if such advertisement is inserted on a daily basis, it shall be published not less than once a day for three days, which may be consecutive days. If the deed of trust provides for advertising on other than a weekly or daily basis, either of these statutory provisions must be complied with in addition to the provisions of the deed of trust. If the deed of trust does not provide for the number of publications for the advertisement, the trustee shall advertise once a week for four consecutive weeks; however, if the property, or a portion of the property, lies in a city or county immediately contiguous to a city, publication of the advertisement may appear five different days, which may be consecutive. In either case, the sale cannot be held on any day which is earlier than eight days following the first advertisement or more than thirty days following the last advertisement. 
     Advertisements must be placed in the section of the newspaper where legal notices appear, or, where the type of property being sold is generally advertised for sale. The trustee must comply with any additional advertisements required by the deed of trust. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Real Estate: Foreclosing on Homeowner Association Liens to Secure an Interest in Real Estate

     In recent blogs we have been discussing the benefits of using real estate to improve creditors’ positions. As I have emphasized, properly securing debts through real estate could make the difference between collecting the funds and incurring a loss. In this edition, we will review the benefits of using homeowner association liens to aid in the collection of your debt. In a previous blog we reviewed the special procedures for the collection of homeowners association dues under Virginia Code §55-516. We will now review the procedures for suits to foreclose on the lien.
     Suits must be brought within thirty six months of filing, but after the perfection of the lien. The Homeowner’s Association may sell the lot at a public sale, subject to prior liens. There are detailed requirements in the code, a brief summary of which include the following:
     1. The association shall give notice to the lot owner prior to advertisement as required in the code.
     2. After expiration of the 60-day notice period, the association may appoint a trustee to conduct the sale.
     3. If the lot owner meets the conditions specified in this subdivision prior to the date of the foreclosure sale, the lot owner shall have the right to have enforcement of the perfected lien discontinued prior to the sale of the lot. Those conditions are that the lot owner: (i) satisfy the debt secured by lien that is the subject of the nonjudicial foreclosure sale and (ii) pays all expenses and costs incurred in perfecting and enforcing the lien, including but not limited to advertising costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.
     4. In addition to the advertisement requirements, the association shall give written notice of the time, date and place of any proposed sale in execution of the lien, and include certain information required in the code.
     5. The advertisement of sale by the association shall be in a newspaper having a general circulation in the city or county wherein the property to be sold, with certain information requirements as set forth in the code.
     6. Failure to comply with the requirements for advertisement contained in this section shall, upon petition, render a sale of the property voidable by the court.
     7. In the event of a sale, the code sets forth bidding and proceeds application procedures.
     8. After sale, the trustee shall deliver to the purchaser a trustee's deed conveying the lot with special warranty of title.
     9. After completion, the trustee shall file an accounting of the sale with the commissioner of accounts.
     We have experienced attorneys and staff who can examine title, file homeowner association liens, and litigate to enforce the same.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Bankruptcy: Dischargeability of Debts - False Representation

     In Crestar Bank v. Green, Judge Tice, for the United State Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia, at Newport News, ruled that a debt to the debtor's cousin and his assignee was non-dischargeable pursuant to Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(6). 
     Originally the Creditor had complained that the debtor had falsely attested to a notary public and to a real estate lawyer that his note secured by the real estate had been paid in full. The Creditor argued that discharge was precluded as a false representation under Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(2)(A). The evidence was that the debtor had conceded that he voluntarily and intentionally signed the certificate releasing the deed of trust. The debtor also admitted that at the time he signed the certificate he knew that the document represented that the note was "paid in full". The debtor also admitted that he knew that he was transferring title of the property to the buyer even though the property was the security for repayment of the note to his cousin.
     The Court, despite the Creditor's argument, held that the false representation was not made to either the note holder or to the successor bank, and neither creditor relied on the false representation. Therefore, Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(2)(A) did not preclude discharge. However, the Court held that the false representation was a willful and malicious injury to another person's property under Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(6). The Court found that the debtor effectively forged his cousin's signature and released the cousin's deed of trust. The debtor's intentional act of forging and recording the certificate of satisfaction constituted willful and malicious injury to the cousin's property rights. Therefore, the bank, as assignee, was entitled to the damages caused by the debtor's wrong. Accordingly, the Bankruptcy Court ruled that the debt to the cousin and his assignee was non-dischargeable pursuant to Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(6).

Monday, September 7, 2020

Collections: Ensure Good Faith in Pleadings

   Virginia Code §8.01-271.1, and its federal equivalent Rule 11, provide for sanctions against litigants and\or attorneys who file frivolous pleadings or motions. Under the Virginia Code and the Federal Rule, a signature attached to a pleading or motion constitutes a certificate that: 
     1. The signatory has reasonably inquired into the facts and that the claim is well founded in fact, and warranted by existing law, or that there is a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law, and 
     2. The pleading or motion is not interposed for an improper purpose (i.e. delay or harassment). 
     Sanctions include the payment of reasonable attorney fees and expenses incurred as a result of the frivolous pleading or motion.