PJC In The News

Top court takes on foreclosure rules in unrelated cases

By Ben Mook, Daily Record

August 20, 2012: In two separate opinions published Monday, the Maryland Court of Appeals interpreted recent foreclosure laws that were enacted to protect defaulting borrowers and people who rent from them.
The results were mixed.
In the first case, the high court sided with a tenant who had been given confusing and contradictory notices of eviction after her rental home was foreclosed. In the second, the court rejected a challenge by a defaulting borrower who had waited more than a year to complain that the notice of intent to foreclose was defective because it did not include the names of all the secured parties.
Both opinions were unanimous, and were written by Judge Robert N. McDonald.
In the first case, tenant Judy Curtis leased a property in Pasadena in 2007 that was later foreclosed by the bank. Curtis, who is still in the property, questioned how the notices were handled by the bank. The Court of Appeals agreed with her and the bank now has to file a proper notice of eviction or arrange a lease. Curtis has been paying rent into a court account pending resolution.
C. Matthew Hill, who argued the case in the Court of Appeals, said he was very happy with the court’s decision.
“We think this opinion does a great job of firming up the rights of tenants when the property is in foreclosure,” said Hill, who is with the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center. “The court said they can’t just send a vague notice and then wait out 90 days and hope time solves the defects of the notice. You can’t do a shortcut around the process.”

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