Friday, December 3, 2010

Beating Banks with the Statute, like it was a stick!

Do you remember, when we were kids, and there were still wooden bats?  I remember "The Natural" with Robert Redford, and he made his bat out of the tree that was struck by lightning.  If I had a bat like that, I would burn the name "RCW 61.24 et. seq." into it and step into the batter's box.

A couple of months ago, a case came out of Division 2 Court of Appeals referred to as Albice.  In that case, as in many others, the court iterated that banks (beneficiaries) and the trustees had a duty to follow to the letter, the Deed of Trust Act.  In that case, the court used the statute like a stick and beat the trustee like a curve ball with no curve for not providing factual details in the conveyance instruments. The court took the unprecedented position of overturning a completed trustee's sale.  This seems to be one of those ground swell cases where the courts are holding the banks and their trustees to a higher standard than before.

In that same vein, last month I started sending letters to banks, servicing companies, and trustees or trustee's agents taking them to task on discrepencies between the statute's requirements and what it was stating in the Notice of Default.  Today, I received my first, rather contrite letter back, admitting to defects in the notice of default and that the Trustee would issue a new notice of default and start the nonjudicial foreclosure process over from the start.

This is no small victory.  My clients were able, due to a back and forth of only two letters and at most a couple of hours of research and writing, get nearly 45 days more in their home.  On an average mortgage, on an average house, in Snohomish County, of roughly $300,000, that is a a savings of over $3,000.  For two hours of work at $200 per hour, the rate of return is incredible.

So, as I promised, practical solutions to some of your problems.  If you are in receipt of a Notice of Default (a letter posted on your home and likely sent to you by regular and certified mail with the title "Notice of Default" at the top) you need to read three sections.  Section (d) which tells you how much you are behind on your payments; Section (e) which tells you how much the bank has spent trying to get you to pay since you quit paying (trustee's fees, attorney's fees, filing fees, etc.); and section (f) which should be a total of (d) and (e).  If those two sections, when added together, do not equal what is shown in (f), you can make the trustee start over.  Talk to your attorney and have them draft a letter, if you need to, have your attorney contact me to draft the letter.  Whatever you need to do, but you need to hold the bank responsible for the letter of the law.  If we don't all play by the same rules, then somebody is going to get beat with a stick, make sure you do the beating.  Grip it an rip it.

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