Oh boy. This one will run and run.
A “mortgage” consists of two instruments: a promissory note, which is a IOU, and a lien against the property, which is referred to as a mortgage (in non-judicial foreclosure states, they are typically called a deed of trust and confer somewhat different rights, but we’ll put that aside for purposes of this discussion).
What appears to be happening on all too often in Florida is that when borrowers signed warranty deeds in lieu of foreclosure when they can no longer keep these homes, they often get only a satisfaction of mortgage, not a cancelled note. This is not what is supposed to happen. When a borrower deeds his property to the bank, the objective of the exercise is to cancel the debt.
There’s a lot more where that came from. Anyone involved in a foreclosure who doesn’t already know exactly what this is about should read it.
25 years ago, an attorney who did not demand the cancelled note in satisfaction of a mortgage would have been considered grossly negligent. And the risk is not theoretical. Professor Williams described how people were defrauded in the wake of the S&L crisis when notes that should have been cancelled got into the wrong hands. April Charney had just seen a case on a 2008 foreclosure where the ex parte order returned the original note to the plaintiff/servicer. The hapless borrower is now being sued by the private mortgage insurer.