Rescission enforcement actions are the next really big thing

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Rescission enforcement actions are the next really big thing. Its effect is to immediately unencumber the property from any claims of lien or mortgage and any claim on the note which is void and must be returned marked “cancelled”. If the parties collecting or enforcing the loans really have a right to do so they may demonstrate that in court by filing a lawsuit to set aside the rescission based upon any factual grounds they wish to raise, applying the rules of the TILA statutory scheme for rescission. But if they don’t do that within 20 days they waive their defenses. AND if they don’t comply with TILA by returning the canceled note, filing a satisfaction of mortgage and returning all money paid by borrower, then they are barred from making even an unsecured claim for “damages.”
The action to enforce rescission would essentially consist of an allegation that the notice was sent, it has been more than 20 days since the notice was sent, and therefore the parties claiming to be creditors owe (1) return of canceled note, (2) filing a satisfaction of mortgage and (3) return of all money paid by borrower since the inception of the alleged loan contract. We will refuse to get into an argument about whether the rescission should have been sent. THAT is something that the parties would have had to allege in a lawsuit against the borrower(s) to set the rescission aside.

According to TILA, Reg Z and the US Supreme Court (Jesinowski decision) the rescission IS effective (by operation of law) the moment it is put in US Mail. The borrower does not have to be right to send it. THAT issue is left to the banks and servicers to allege in a lawsuit to vacate the rescission. And they must do so within 20 days. All issues that are confusing everyone — statute of limitations, purchase money first mortgage, etc. are questions of fact that need to be raised by the other side. They cannot do so after 20 days. We would move to strike those defenses when raised in our lawsuit to enforce rescission.

There are dozens of lawyers across the country that agree with my interpretation of the TILA rescission statutes and who are filing these rescission enforcement actions. In some cases, Ocwen has agreed that the rescission is effective and even agreed that the original payee was not the lender. That is an interesting juxtaposition of theories. Because if there was no funding by the payee on the note (“lender”) then there is no loan contract. If there is no loan contract, there is nothing to rescind. But the rescission under TILA might still apply as to the note and mortgage and the right to obtain disgorgement of money paid by borrower might be partially blocked by the standard statute of limitations governing contract disputes or the statute regarding tort actions.

It sounds weird, I know. But the fact is that Congress specifically decided that the act of the borrower in sending a notice of rescission cancels the loan and Reg Z (Federal Reserve) says that by operation of law that means the note and mortgage become void as of the date of mailing of the notice of rescission. Void means void, not voidable. It means that the the note and mortgage no longer exist and that is final. So even if the “lender” tries to bring a lawsuit to set aside the rescission they would need to establish standing presumably without the note and mortgage which can no longer be used because they are void. Standing could only be established by alleging that the pleading party is suffering actual damages — which is not really possible if they never paid anything for the loan and even if they did, is also not possible since they still could bring a claim against the borrower (unsecured) for the money that is due as the balance of the loan.

Congress specifically provided this method so that the old “lender” could not block the ability of the borrower to get another loan from a different (and presumably real) lender which would have first priority and would enable the borrower to either pay the old lender or not (if the old lender had not complied with TILA as to its duties in the event of rescission).

It was the specific intent to prevent the old “lender” from stonewalling and thus trap the borrower into a deal he or she didn’t want. And THAT is why the rule is that the note and mortgage are VOID by operation of law regardless of whether or not the “lender” returns the cancels note, satisfies the mortgage or pays the money to disgorge all funds paid by borrower starting with the origination fees, cost of closing and all interest and principal paid up to the date of the rescission.

NOTE: THE RESCISSION IS PROBABLY VOID IF THERE IS NO LOAN CONTRACT LEFT IN EXISTENCE WHEN THE NOTICE IS SENT. IF THERE IS NO CONTRACT THEN THERE IS NOTHING TO RESCIND. THUS I CONCLUDE THAT IF THE SALE HAS OCCURRED, THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE DON’T EXIST ANYMORE AND RESCISSION MIGHT NOT BE POSSIBLE. IF JUDGMENT HAS BEEN ENTERED, THE ISSUE IS LESS CLEAR BECAUSE THE RIGHT TO REDEEM STILL EXISTS.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION ON ANY SPECIFIC CASE. READERS SHOULD CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY WHO IS LICENSED IN THEIR JURISDICTION.

Rescission Summary As I see It

If you read my blog for the last 3 weeks or so you should get a good idea of where I am coming from on this. If you still have questions or need assistance call me at 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. The basic thrust of my argument is that

  1. BOTH Congress and US Supreme Court agree that there is nothing left for the borrower to do other than dropping notice of rescission in the mail. It is EFFECTIVE BY OPERATION OF LAW at the point of mailing. The whole point is that you don’t need to be or have a lawyer in order to cancel the loan contract, the note and the mortgage (deed of trust) with the same force as if a Judge ordered it. No lawsuit, no proof is required from the borrower. No tender is required as it would be in common law rescission. The money for payoff of the old debt is presumed to come from a new lender that approves a 1st Mortgage loan without fear that they will lose their priority position.
  2. Lender(s) must comply within 20 days — return canceled note, satisfy mortgage, and return money to borrower.
  3. Lenders MUST file a lawsuit challenging the rescission within 20 days or their defenses are waived. Any other interpretation would make the rescission contingent, which is the opposite of what TILA and Scalia say is the case.
  4. Therefore a lawsuit by borrower to enforce the rescission need only prove mailing.
  5. Any attempt to bring up statute of limitations or other defenses are barred by 20 day window.
  6. The clear reason for this unusual statutory scheme is to allow borrower to cancel the old transaction and replace with a new loan. This can only happen if the rescission is ABSOLUTE. It can be declared void or irregular or barred or anything else ONLY within the 20 day window. If the 20 day window was not final (like counting the days for filing notice of appeal appeal, motion for re-hearing, etc.) then no new lender or bank would fund a loan that could be later knocked out of first priority position in the chain of title because the rescission was found to be faulty in some way. This is the opposite of what TILA and Scalia say.
  7. The content of the rescission notice should be short — I hereby cancel/rescind the loan referenced above. You merely reference the loan number, recording information etc. at which point the note and mortgage become VOID by operation of law.
  8. BY OPERATION OF LAW means that the only way it can be avoided is by getting a court order.
  9. If any court were to allow “defense” in a rescission enforcement action AFTER the 20 day window the goal of allowing the borrower to get another loan to pay off the old lender(s) would be impossible.
  10. Hence the ONLY possible logical conclusion is that they MUST file the action within 20 days or lose the opportunity to challenge the rescission. And any possible defenses are waived if not filed during that period of time. That action by the “lender” or “creditor” must be an equitable action to set aside the rescission, which is already “effective” by operation of law.

The worst case scenario would be that rescission is the most effective discovery tool available. If the lender(s) file the 20 day action they would need to establish their positions as creditors WITHOUT the note and mortgage (which are ALREADY VOID). This would require proof of payment and proof of economic interest and proof of ownership and balance. Any failure to plead these things would fail to establish standing. The attempt to use the note and mortgage as proof or the basis of pleading should be dismissed easily. The note and mortgage are void by operation of law by the time the bank or servicer files its action.

In all probability the only parties who actually have an interest in the debt are clueless investors who by contract have waived their right to enforce or participate in the collection process. The problem THEY have is they gave their money to a securities broker. They can neither show nor even allege that they know what happened to their money after they gave it to the broker.

The important thing about TILA Rescission is that it is a virtual certainty that the borrower will be required to file an enforcement action. In that action they should not allow themselves to get sucked into an argument over whether the rescission was correct, fair, barred by limitations or anything else, all of which should have been raised within the 20 day window. AND that recognition is the reason why we have been inundated to prepare pre-litigation packages, analysis and reports to assist lawyers in filing actions to enforce rescissions, whether filed today or ten years ago.

Caveat: I have no doubt that attempts will be made to change the law. The Supreme Court has made changing the law impossible by a ruling from the bench, That means state legislatures and Congress are going to be under intense pressure to change this law or the effect of it. But as it stands now, I don’t think any other analysis covers all the bases like the one expressed here.

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