Saturday, February 14, 2009

Legal Services Firm Files Housing Discrimination Suits Alleging Bias Against Families With Kids; Landlords Accused Of Failure To De-Lead Apartments

In Worcester, Massachusetts, the nonprofit legal services firm Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts (LACCM) last month filed two housing discrimination lawsuits on behalf of tenants alleging unlawful housing practices by steering parents of minor children away from apartments, or refusing to show them apartments in an attempt to avoid the cost of remediating potential lead-based paint issues in the apartments.

  • [L]egal Assistance Corp. [...] stated that according to the 2000 Census, nearly 85 percent of the houses in Worcester were built before 1978, and most likely contain lead paint. A landlord is required to make an apartment safe from lead paint if the tenant family has a child six years or younger living in the apartment, Legal Assistance Corp. said.

  • Some landlords may decide not to rent to families with young children in an attempt to avoid the cost of deleading, the plaintiff stated. It is illegal under state and federal fair housing laws for an owner or realty agent to refuse to rent to someone because of their familial status, Legal Assistance added.

For more, see:

Pennsylvania Woman Cops Plea To Pocketing Refinance Proceeds After Forging Legal Documents On Property Owned By Estranged Hubby, Mother In Law

In Norristown, Pennsylvania, The Times Herald reports:

  • A 41-year-old Conshohocken woman pleaded guilty to forging her estranged husband and mother-in-law’s names on mortgage applications and other legal documents. Andrea Lamazza took out three separate mortgages worth a total of $446,350 between 2002 and 2005 without the knowledge of her husband, Kenneth Lamazza, and his mother, Sarah Lamazza, according to court papers. The defendant has also added her name to the deed of a house her husband and mother-in-law owned, and illegally executed power of attorney to refinance real estate, according to authorities.

For more, see Woman admits to mortgage fraud.

Go here, Go here, Go here, go here, go here, and go here for other posts related to deed or refinancing scams by forgery, swindle, etc. DeedGammaTheft

Elderly Texas Woman's Home Accidentally Sold Out From Under Her; Bank Admits, Straightens Out Error

In North Texas, WFAA-TV reports on an 88-year old woman behind on her mortgage payments and threatened with foreclosure. With the help of her son, she was able to obtain a payment plan with the lender, Wahington Mutual/Chase, back in December. Despite the arrangement, the lender allowed the home to be sold at a foreclosure sale anyway, albeit accidentally. The woman found out about the sale when the new buyer appeared at her front door and introduced himself. Reportedly, the bank's attorney advised the homeowner that the sale proceeded in error, that he sent the new buyer his money back, and that she'll get to keep her house.(1)

For the report, see Home of woman, 88, mistakenly sold at foreclosure auction.

Go here for other posts on lender screw ups.

(1) This story serves as a reminder that, even if a homeowner facing foreclosure is lucky enough to reach a payment arrangement with a lender, the homeowner still has to assure him/herself, through the court system and by obtaining confirmation from the lender's local foreclosure attorney, that the foreclosure action has either been cancelled, or at least been placed in abeyance pending the successful completion of the payment arrangement. At 88 years of age, this lady could have literally been "buried" by a surprise like this. ForeclosureLockOuts

Friday, February 13, 2009

Foreclosure Eviction Of Residential Tenants "Almost Always Illegal In New Jersey," Says State Public Advocate

In Trenton, New Jersey, Ronald K. Chen, the Public Advocate for the State of New Jersey reminds state residents of the rights of tenants in foreclosed residential property in New Jersey. He writes in the Asbury Park Press:

  • [A]t the Department of the Public Advocate, we have learned that tenants who rent properties that are subject to foreclosure are being kicked out of their homes when the bank takes over the property.

  • Make no mistake: This practice is almost always illegal in New Jersey. In 1994, the New Jersey Supreme Court(1) held that the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act protects most tenants from eviction even when the property where they live is in foreclosure or has been foreclosed. In other words, under New Jersey law, a tenant in good standing comes with the property when the property changes hands because of a foreclosure.

  • Moreover, the Unlawful Eviction Act of 2006 makes it an offense under the criminal justice code for a person who has been forewarned by a public official even to attempt to evict a tenant except by lawful court proceedings.

For more, see CHEN: Tenants cannot be forced out in foreclosures.

For more from the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate, see:

(1) Chase Manhattan Bank v. Josephson, 135 N.J. 209 (1994).

The breadth of the tenant protections in the New Jersey state law was demonstrated in a 2007 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court. In that case, the state high court, in reversing a ruling of the state appeals court, ruled that a daughter of a deceased Section 8 tenant was entitled to the protections of New Jersey's Anti-Eviction Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 2A:18-61.1 to -61.12, as she was a functional co-tenant, showed continuous residency, and was a substantial contributor toward satisfaction of the tenancy's financial obligations, which the landlord acknowledged and acquiesced. Note that the daughter was not actually named as a tenant on the lease. Maglies v. Estate of Guy, 193 N.J. 108; 936 A.2d 414; 2007 N.J. LEXIS 1436 (2007).

For a discussion of the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act, see Legal Services of New Jersey's Amicus Brief filed in Maglies v. Estate of Guy. SkimmingKappaRent

Title Insurance: What Risks Does It Protect A Property Owner Against?

A recent article by the Kaua‘i, Hawaii Board of Realtors (appearing in gives a basic explanation of what risks a title insurance policy actually insures a real estate buyer against.

  • [A]lmost every parcel of land has had many owners. What they did or did not do can affect title to the land. Have assessments and taxes been paid? Were there lawsuits or judgments against former owners? Does a contractor or a spouse or utility company have any rights?

  • Title losses arise from three principal sources: (1) Errors in searching the records, (2) errors in interpreting the legal effect of those records, (3) facts outside the records, known as “off-record risks.”(1)

  • The title insurance company protects itself and the policyholder in the case of the first two sources of risks set out above by employing trained, competent searchers and examiners who are qualified to search and interpret records.

  • There are, however, many sources of title defects outside the record, any one of which may also involve loss of title. The owner must assume these hidden defects if the owner does not possess a title insurance policy. Some of these off-record risks are: fraud, forgery, false impersonation, alteration, copyists’ errors, acts of minors, insanity, rights of unrevealed spouses and children, and void judgments(2) and decrees.

For more, see Title insurance: Do you need it?

Go here for other posts involving legal issues related to title insurance.

(1) A list of 35 off-record risks, or "hidden hazards," that a title insurance policy protects a homeowner and mortgage lender against are (1) false personation of the true owner of the land, (2) forged deeds, releases, etc., (3) instruments executed under fabricated or expired power of attorney, (4) deeds delivered after death of grantor or grantee, or without consent of grantor, (5) deeds to or from defunct corporations, (6) undisclosed or missing heirs, (7) misinterpretation of wills, (8) deeds by persons of unsound mind, (9) deeds by minors, (10) deeds by aliens, (11) deeds by persons supposedly single but secretly married, (12) birth or adoption of children after date of a will, (13) surviving children omitted from a will, (14) mistakes in recording legal documents, (15) want of jurisdiction of persons in judicial proceedings (ie. where a court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a case, or where it lacks personal jurisdiction over a defendant, for example, failure to properly serve a defendant with legal process), thereby leading to judgments that are either void or voidable, (16) discovery of will of apparent intestate, (17) errors in indexing, (18) falsification of records, (19) capacity of foreign fiduciaries, (20) claims of creditors against property sold by heirs or devisees, (21) deeds in lieu of foreclosure given under duress, (22) ultra vires deed given under false corporate resolution, (23) easements by prescription not discovered by a survey, (24) deed of community property recited to be separate property, (25) errors in tax records (ie. listing payment against wrong property), (26) deed from a bigamous couple, (27) defective acknowledgements (ie. notary public screw-ups when notarizing legal documents, (28) federal condemnation without filing notice, (29) descriptions apparently, but not actually, adequate, (30) corporation franchise taxes, a lien on all corporate assets, (31) erroneous reports furnished by tax officials, (32) administration of estates of persons absent but not deceased, (33) undisclosed divorce of spouse who conveys as consort's heir, (34) marital rights of spouse purportedly, but not legally, divorced, (35) duress in execution of instruments.

(2) With all the foreclosure sales that have already taken place where the foreclosing lender lacked standing to bring the action (which, depending on the law of the particular state in which the property is located, may mean that the court granting the judgment might have lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case, which would consequently make the judgment void - see #15 in footnote 2, below), there are plenty of void foreclosure judgments flotaing around out there. I suspect that the issue of void foreclosure judgments and the complications relating to the legal title to the foreclosed real estate will begin rearing its ugly head as foreclosure defense attorneys begin bringing motions to void these judgments on behalf of their clients. See Thousands Of Foreclosures Are Void, Says Massachusetts Class Action Demanding Lenders & Their Lawyers Prove Note Ownership. title insurance legal issues

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Alleged 1031 Exchange Scam Leaves Real Estate Investors With Big Tax Bill & No Money To Pay It With

The New York Post reports:

  • Federal authorities are investigating a Virginia-based finance company that went belly-up last year, sticking hundreds of real-estate investors with millions of dollars in losses, The Post has learned. The 440 investors had parked the proceeds from their real-estate sales with LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Services Inc. in hopes of delaying capital gains taxes - only to find their entire investment nest egg missing.


  • And worse, the Internal Revenue Service wants those burned in the failure of LandAmerica and other so-called "qualified intermediaries" to pay taxes on the profits they no longer have. [...] The LandAmerica failure and FBI probe highlight a growing issue for 1031 accounts. When Congress created these so-called "Starker exchanges," they forgot to regulate the companies that run the 1031 accounts.

For more, see Helter Shelter (Feds Probing Tax Haven 'Ponzi Scheme').

Go here for other posts on problems with 1031 exchange intermediaries. EscrowRipOffAlpha

NJ Class Action Accuses Closing Agent, Title Insurers Of Clipping Homeowners With Inflated Recording Fees

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

  • Title insurance companies and their agents charged thousands of New Jersey home buyers more than allowed by law to record deeds and mortgages, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New Jersey. Hundreds of thousands of buyers would be reimbursed if the suit, filed last month, succeeds, Esther Berezofsky, a lawyer in the Cherry Hill office of Williams, Cuker, Berezofsky, estimated yesterday.

  • "Initially, we thought it was just a single occurrence of overcharging. Then we started investigating, and we discovered it was rampant," said Berezofsky, whose firm worked with O'Conner, Parsons & Lane, of Westfield, N.J.

  • The 50-page lawsuit details eight cases of buyers who paid higher fees at settlement than the settlement agents paid to the county recording offices. The lawsuit alleges that settlement agents pocketed the difference. The lawsuit, [...] covers consumers who have bought residential real estate in New Jersey since Jan. 22, 2003.

For more, see Suit alleges title insurance fraud in New Jersey.

New Jersey home buyers who want to know whether they were overcharged fees at closing or who want to provide information can visit

Go here for other posts involving legal issues related to title insurance.

Thanks to Bill Collins of Crossroads Abstract, Rochester, NY for the heads-up on this story. title insurance legal issues

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sample Foreclosure Legal Documents

For those who want some idea of what the legal documents in a foreclosure action look like, Broken Credit Blog has made available some of the documents filed in a Duval County, Florida case involving foreclosure defense attorney April Charney from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. Among the documents that were filed on behalf of the homeowner facing a foreclosure action are:

For the rest of the 14 documents currently available on Broken Credit Blog, see Anatomy of a Florida Foreclosure Defense.

See also: Foreclosure defense a popular subject at Bar convention:

April Charney's foreclosure defenses, many based on Florida court rulings, as outlined in her materials, include:

  • Failure to produce original note and mortgage or to re-establish.
  • Fraud, including misrepresentation or omission of material fact made with intent to deceive.
  • Duress, or unjustified pressure to sign a mortgage, particularly in a home improvement or solicitation setting or upon a refinancing.
  • Unconscionability, when the mortgage terms are unreasonably favorable to the lender (must be proven procedurally and substantively).
  • Unfair and unacceptable loan servicing, failure to follow HUD requirements for residential single-family mortgage lending and servicing.
  • Scrutinizing foreclosure attempts under debt collection laws.


Additional legal documents that can be helpful in fighting off foreclosure are available online courtesy of the Consumer Warning Network:

Forms that can be used when a foreclosure lawsuit has already been filed against a homeowner:

  • Request for Production of Document, a fill-in-the-blank legal request to the foreclosing lender asking that the original note be produced, before it can proceed with the foreclosure,
  • Motion to Compel to be filed with the court and request that the court set a hearing on your motion if the lender’s attorney does not respond within 30 days to the Request for Production of Document. That, in effect, asks the judge to order the lender to produce the documents.

If a foreclosure action has not yet been filed:

  • Letter to the Lender, a fill-in-the-blank form which also requests they produce the original note, before taking foreclosure action against you.

For more, including informational videos, see Produce The Note “How-To."

For those in states that do not require a lender to initiate foreclosure proceedings in court to carry out a foreclosure sale, see How to use "Produce the Note” in Non-judicial Foreclosure States.


Disenfranchised Homeowners Blog offers the following foreclosure legal document which may be helpful:


From the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida, Inc. and the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Community Legal Services of MidFlorida, Inc.:

NYC Attorney Found Guilty For Role In Illegal Flipping, Foreclosure Rescue Scam; Acted As Title Agent; Accused Of Keeping Lenders In The Dark

In Brooklyn, New York, the New York Law Journal reports:

  • The bogus world of a Brooklyn, N.Y., attorney who built a profitable business on title insurance while earning high fees on real estate closings came crashing down on Friday as a federal jury convicted him in a subprime mortgage scam. Alexander M. Kaplan, 34, of Lerner & Kaplan, sat stoically at the defense table while a jury of 10 women and two men pronounced him guilty on all 18 counts in an indictment charging him with conspiracy and bank, mail and wire fraud.


  • Kaplan's role, they proved, was to keep lenders in the dark by representing the bank, the buyer and the seller in transactions where mortgage brokers, particularly lead actor Alexander Lipkin, would use the identities of innocent straw buyers to obtain huge loans on properties. Sometimes, they would flip the properties within weeks using even more phony documents.


  • "He [engaged in a massive fraud] by telling lies to banks over and over again. He lied about who the real purchasers were and he lied about the amount of money he disbursed from the loan proceeds," Weitzman said. "His lies were all intended to protect his criminal partners and to make sure the real estate transactions looked legitimate."

For more, see N.Y. Attorney Convicted of Mortgage Fraud.

For the indictment, see U.S. v. Kaplan, et al.

Sixth Defendant Falls In Maryland-Based Equity Stripping Foreclosure Rescue Scheme; Worked As Loan Processor, Acted As Straw Buyer

From the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland:

  • Chandra Jones, age 31, of Lanham, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that falsely promised to help homeowners facing foreclosure keep their homes and repair their damaged credit, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.


  • As a result of this scheme, the total loss attributable to Chandra Jones, including the estimated losses to the mortgage lenders, is $4,189,283.86. [...] Chandra Jones, the daughter of co-defendants Jennifer and Clifford McCall, is the sixth defendant to plead guilty in the Metropolitan Money Store mortgage fraud scheme.(1)

For the U.S. Attorney's press release, see Vice President Of Financial Services Firm Pleads Guilty In Metropolitan Money Store Fraud Scheme (Responsible for Over $4 Million in Losses Under the Scheme).

Go here and Go here for other posts on the alleged Metropolitan Money Store foreclosure rescue scam.

(1) Jennifer McCall, age 47, of Ft. Washington, Maryland, a chief executive officer of Metropolitan Money Store and owner of JC and JC Investments LLC; Katisha Fordham, age 35, of Washington, D.C.,a loan processor at the Metropolitan Money Store; Richard Allison, age 37, of Camp Springs, Maryland, an attorney and employee of the U.S. Census Bureau; Clifford McCall, age 47, of Lanham, Maryland, president of Burroughs & Smythe Financial Services, Inc., based in Lanham and a director of the Fordham & Fordham Investment Group, Ltd., a foreclosure consulting and credit servicing business based in Lanham and Greenbelt, Maryland and Carlisha Dixon, age 31, of Hyattsville, Maryland, vice president and a director of Burroughs & Smythe Financial Services, Inc.; each pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and are facing a maximum sentencing of 30 years in prison. JoyJackson

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Washington AG Targets Couple In Suit Alleging Deception In Acquiring Homes From Strapped Homeowners; Pocketed Rents While Stiffing Bank

From the Washington Attorney General's Office:

  • The Washington Attorney General’s Office is suing a convicted equity skimmer a second time, claiming the Colfax man and his wife ran a real estate investment business that misled distressed homeowners and property investors.

  • Attorney General Rob McKenna and Assistant Attorney General Jack Zurlini filed new documents [...] in Spokane County Superior Court that accuse Anthony and Alicia Napier of skimming equity from distressed homeowners in Eastern Washington and misleading investors. It’s alleged their dirty deals left a trail of victims – families who lost their homes, renters who never recouped security deposits and investors who never saw profits.

For more, see Attorney General sues Colfax couple for equity skimming (Eastern Washington families lost their homes to felon and his wife).

For the lawsuit, see State of Washington v. Napier.

Bust Made In Fort Myers-Area Alleged Mortgage Fraud/Rent To Own Scam; Homes Let Go To Foreclosure; Tenants Get Boot, Straw Buyers Left Holding The Bag

In Miami, Florida, The News Press reports that, according to Miami-Dade police, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have arrested Paul Bosnyak, who is suspected of being involved in an alleged real estate fraud conspiracy with a number of others, and with the company Alternative Home Financing, Inc., of Fort Myers.(1)

  • [A]ccording to the documents, Alternative would find people and pay them to allow the company to apply for mortgages in their names to buy houses. The state attorney’s office alleges that the company would falsify application information so the person could qualify for the mortgage.


  • Alternative would manage the property, finding tenants who would make monthly payments in a lease-to-own option. After a specified amount of time, the company would stop making mortgage payments, causing the house to foreclose. The tenant would be kicked out of the house and the person whose name was used for the loan would be associated with the foreclosure.

For the story, see Mortgage fraud scheme involved dozens of Lee homes.

See also, NBC2 News: Man facing RICO charge in alleged scam:

  • The State Attorney's Office says AHFI would place a tenant with insufficient credit into the person's home under a proposed lease/option to buy contract. The tenant would pay a $5,000 deposit and make a monthly payment. In the end- the warrant says that AHFI paid very few of the bills and allowed the mortgages to go into foreclosure.

(1) According to court documents filed Jan. 23, Bosnyak, Jeremy Hatlee, James Dalonzo, Brian Chili and Trinity Hansen worked with a group of three others as part of a conspiracy dating back to 2002. Kim Jack, Erich Heckler and Erilng Hall ran Alternative Home Financing, Inc. Charges were filed by the state attorney’s office in 2006 against Jack, Heckler, Hall and seven others. Hatlee, of Fort Myers, Chili, of Lehigh Acres, and Hansen, of Fort Myers were all arrested Jan. 23, 2009. Jack, a foreign national, is still on the lam and, according to his attorney, his visa expired and he took off to his native England, the story reports. rent to own lease purchase option scams yellowstone

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ohio High Court Voids Mortgage Obtained By Man On Property Swindled From Mom; Unwitting Lender Burned By Lack Of Diligence

In Columbus, Ohio, the Youngstown Vindicator reports:

  • The Ohio Supreme Court sided with the estate of a Trumbull County woman whose son had defaulted on a mortgage he obtained on property that was not rightly his. According to court documents, Dale Ellis fraudulently obtained quit-claim deeds about a decade ago on six lots from his mother, who had agreed to give him only one.


  • Ellis subsequently secured mortgages on all six lots, starting in 1999, a few weeks after the fraudulent deeds were recorded, according to documents. His mother eventually discovered the fraud and filed a lawsuit in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court seeking the return of five of the six lots.

  • Shortly before he was served with the complaint, but after the mortgage provider had received its copies, Ellis obtained another loan from a different provider on the lots, using the proceeds to pay off the other mortgages, according to documents. [...] Ellis defaulted on the final mortgage he took out, and the provider filed foreclosure actions against him and his mother’s estate, according to documents.

While there were no facts established to indicate that the final lender had any actual knowledge of the fraud perpetrated by Ellis against his mother at the time of giving the mortgage loan to him, the court ruled that, given the specific facts of the case, the final lender was considered to be "charged with notice" of the swindle, thereby making its mortgage subject to being voided.(1)

For the story, see High court sides with estate of mother defrauded by son (The high court said a records check should have been made before a mortgage was provided).

For the Ohio Supreme Court decision, see Beneficial Ohio, Inc. v. Ellis, Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-311 (February 3, 2009).

(1) In the event the lender obtained a title insurance policy when issuing the loan, the insurance company may wind up coughing up the cash to indemnify the lender for the loss due to the title screw-up.

Judge Allows Foreclosure To Proceed On Now-Deceased Man's Property Despite His Forgery Of Wife's Signature On Loan Documents

In Polk County, Iowa, the Des Moines Register reports:

  • A Polk County judge has delivered a legal setback to the widow of Ed Boesen. Judge Douglas Staskal ruled last week to allow Freedom Financial Bank to foreclose on property [...] in Ankeny to collect on a $232,000 loan obtained by Ed Boesen. The ruling rejected Maureen Boesen's claim that she was entitled to inherit the property, which was used as collateral for the loan.


  • [H]er lawyers claim the loans were invalid because of the forgery. Her lawyers also claim that she should be permitted to inherit property used as collateral. In his ruling, Staskal said state law generally upholds a spouse's right to inherit property when the spouse has not approved a loan connected to that property, or the sale of the property, by the dead spouse.

  • But the judge said the law makes an exception when the loan is considered a "purchase money mortgage."(1) [...] "Under most circumstances, Mrs. Boesen's arguments would certainly prevail," Staskal wrote in his decision. But "the priority of a purchase money mortgage over the dower interest of a surviving spouse established by statute is consistent with Iowa common law."

For more, see Foreclosure on Boesen property to proceed.

Go here for earlier reports on this story.

(1) A purchase money mortgage can be taken by a lender who provides money to enable the purchaser to acquire the real estate. It takes precedent over other liens and claims on a property. DeedGammaTheft

Lack Of Proper Notice A Problem In Foreclosure Sales Of Property Over Delinquent Real Estate Taxes?

A 2007 article appearing in The Florida Bar Journal addresses the problem of lack of proper notice to a homeowner in the context of a foreclosure for failure to pay real estate taxes. The author makes this observation:

  • [T]wo recent decisions(1) applying due process protection to tax deed sales have imposed more stringent notice requirements than have prevailed in prior years, tilting the playing field to the advantage of property owners challenging tax deed sales due to a lack of notice.

For more, see Florida Tax Deed Sales Are Getting Risky.

Go here and go here for other posts on foreclosures involving faulty notifications to property owners.

(1) The decisions cited are the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Jones v. Flowers, 547 U.S. 220 (2006), and the Florida Supreme Court decision in Vosilla v. Rosado, 944 So. 2d 289 (Fla. 2006). foreclosure faulty notice

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stiffed Sub Sues Contractor For Unpaid Work At New Development; Slaps Liens, Seeks Foreclosure On Residents' Homes

In Pingree Grove, Illinois, The Courier News reports:

  • A subcontractor is suing not only developer DRH Cambridge Homes for improvements made at its Carillon subdivision, but also home­owners, according to a lawsuit filed with the Kane County Circuit Clerk's Office. VCNA Prairie Inc. seeks $164,856 against D.R. Horton, Neptune Construction Co. and Cambridge Homes for subcontracting work it performed dating back to February 2007, the lawsuit states.


  • "What this is about is Cambridge and its customers are caught in a dispute between sewage contractors and their suppliers," said Steve Goodman, a Cambridge vice president and general counsel. [...] The lawsuit lists names of people -- including homeowners and the Cambridge Lakes Homeowners Association -- who have some right, title or interest in the premises sought to be foreclosed.(1)

For more, see Subcontractor sues construction company, subdivision.

(1) Stories like these are a reminder of the importance of obtaining a title insurance policy when buying a home, especially with new construction, where there is the added risk of liens being placed on the home after the closing of title if all of the appropriate lien releases have not been obtained from contractors, and their subs and suppliers. (The homebuyer may also be well advised to steer clear from purchasing the insurance from the developer's "in-house" title agent, who may be controlled by, or otherwise "in bed with," the developer). In this situation, it's the insurance company's job to step in on the homebuyer's behalf and both defend the title to the home, and foot the bill for the legal costs incident thereto. StiffingContractorsTheta

Detroit-Area Sheriff To Seek Declaratory Judgment & Stay Of Future Foreclosure Sales; Says Action Is Supported By Federal Law

In a letter to the editor of the Detroit Free Press, Wayne County Sheriff Warren C. Evans responds to an editorial attacking him for calling an immediate halt to all foreclosure sales in Detroit and the rest of Wayne County, Michigan. Among other things, Sheriff Evans states:

  • [M]y office will be seeking a declaratory judgment and a stay of future foreclosure sales in the courts based on my conclusion that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, specifically the TARP, preempts state foreclosure laws. We will put this very question to the court, and I will abide by that ruling. In the meantime, I will do my best to protect the rights of my constituents and uphold the law.

  • I will continue to hold back on foreclosure sales unless lenders can assure me that the homes they wish to see sold are either exempt from the protections provided under TARP or that qualifying home owners have been provided the opportunity to modify their mortgages until such time as a court rules on my position.

For more, see Wayne County can stop foreclosure sales.

See also, The Detroit News: Evans to seek foreclosure sale ruling.