March 29, 2017

UPDATED! – TILA Rescission Case – Bankruptcy Judge Finds in Favor of Borrower

Below is my original post from January 2009.

This case was just upheld in July 2009 so this is good case law for federal bankruptcy courts. Obviously there may be some judges in different districts who won’t like it or may not adhere to it because it’s not their district. This case should be good if you have to appeal if that’s the route the judge takes but this is great news for homeowners who have rescinded, tendered correctly and the lender/assignee did not respond as per the statute.

At the very least, a trail has been blazed and there is now a federal case which really follows the statute as it is truly written – which is in favor of the consumer.

CLICK HERE to read the case.

By Lane A. Houk
January 16, 2009

The Little Guy (David) vs. the Big Guy (Goliath). These classic battles are being waged in the “War on the Home Front” every single day. The subject of this post is a case that goes to the win column for the Little Guy. We are fighting for our freedom, our country, democracy… we are fighting against corporate and political corruption. I hope you are fighting too. This is a war for our rights and our homes and our American way of life. It’s all under siege folks. Don’t be fooled into complacency.

This is one of the most powerful cases I have read in a long time. CLICK HERE to read the actual case order from the Judge in the Adversary Proceeding. The borrower in this case rescinded the loan transaction because an audit of their closing documents revealed a “material disclosure” violation as is defined in 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601 et seq. (“TILA”) and its implementing regulations at 12 C.F.R. § 226 et seq. (“Reg. Z”).

Once the Consumer rescinds, the security interest arising by operation of law becomes void automatically. The promissory note is also voided since it is part of the same “transaction.”

The borrower in this case had foreclosure filed against them. After retaining an attorney for the foreclosure, the attorney advised them to have an audit of their loan closing file which revealed a material disclosure violation. It is important to note that a loan can ONLY be rescinded when:

  1. The loan is a refinance transaction;
  2. Funded in the last three years
  3. On the borrower’s primary residence;
  4. When a “material disclosure violation” is found

The term “material disclosure violation” is a very important component. Many people (including self-proclaimed experts in loan auditing) think that “any” violation of the Truth in Lending Act gives someone the right to rescind.  That is patently wrong. The four conditions above must be true in order for the borrower to have the possible “extended right to rescind” the loan transaction. There are only 4 potential “material disclosure violations.”

The borrower in this case was given an insufficient amount of the Notice of Right to Cancel. A borrower should receive two (2) copies of the Notice.

If a married couple is identifiable on a Universal Residential Application, then each consumer is entitled to rescind and must be given a copy of the TILA Disclosure Statement with all material information accurately and correctly disclosed, 15 U.S.C. § 1602(u); Reg. Z § 226.23(a)(3) n.48, and two (2) copies each of the rescission notice, 15 U.S.C. § 1635(a); Reg. Z § 226.23(b), irrespective of whether both are obligated on the note (or either, for that matter).

 

In this case, the borrowers were married and received only 2 copies total. Material disclosure violation. Thus they rescinded. The lender Option One obviously contested the matter.

 

Once the Consumer rescinds, the security interest arising by operation of law becomes void automatically.  The promissory note is also voided since it is part of the same “transaction,” see i.e., 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b) and Reg. Z § 226.23(d)(1).]

 

This is powerful folks. This is a complete remedy to foreclosure. The mortgage is the security interest and it is the mortgage (and the mortgage only) that gives the lender the right to foreclose. In a rescission, the lender must void the mortgage within 20 days. If it does not, it is another violation of TILA.

 

After rescinding the loan the borrowers also filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The lender refused to rescind the loan. The borrowers filed an Adversary Proceeding in the Bankruptcy Court. Bottom line: The judge heard all arguments from both Plaintiff (borrower) and the Defendant (Option One). The judge found in favor of the borrower/plaintiff and determined that they had the right to rescind. Victory number one.

 

But a BIG ruling in this case was that since they had rescinded the loan, the loan became an “unsecured” debt since the mortgage was automatically voided as per TILA. Since the debt became “unsecured” it was able to be discharged through bankruptcy like any other type of unsecured debt such as a credit card debt.

 

The moral of the story: TILA Rescission is the most powerful remedy to foreclosure if/when the borrower has this remedy afforded to them. The key is to obtain a loan audit by a real expert. Call/email me if this is something you want to do. I encourage you to read the Adversary Proceeding Case. It is highly enlightening.

 

 © Lane A. Houk – 2009– All Rights Reserved

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