Consumer Protection Act Aids Wrongfully Foreclosed Homeowners


A woman took out a mortgage on her home in Burien, Washington.[1]  She lived in her home and also in it operated an adult family home. A few years later she was behind on payments.  Her lender began the foreclosure process.

 

She successfully negotiated a loan modification, the terms of which required her to make a certain $10,000 payment. She made the payment. Despite the fact that the homeowner made the agreed $10,000 payment, the trustee continued the foreclosure sale anyway at the direction of the lender.

 

The homeowner arrived home one day and was handed the notice of trustee’s sale by a family member of one of her Adult Family Home client’s. In addition to suffering humiliation, the homeowner lost the client—who moved out about two weeks later over concern about the foreclosure.

 

The homeowner filed a lawsuit against the trustee. On the same day the lawsuit was filed, the trustee discontinued the sale at the direction of the lender.

 

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the trustee, and dismissed the case.  The Washington State Supreme Court reversed, finding that there were material issues of fact as to whether the trustee violated the Consumer Protection Act.[2]

 

Under Washington law a trustee in a foreclosure is to act in good faith towards all parties to the deed of trust—the lender as well and the borrower. A trustee is to conduct at a minimum a cursory investigation in order to adequately inform itself of the purported right to foreclose.

 

The homeowner’s attorney had put the trustee on notice that the borrower had made the agreed payment of $10,000 under the loan modification, and that therefore the foreclosure should have been discontinued. The Court held that there was a jury question as to whether the trustee conducted an adequate investigation to satisfy the duty to act in good faith, and therefore the trial court should not have dismissed the case.

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If you believe you are being wrongfully foreclosed you should promptly consult an attorney to review your matter.

[1] Technically, she signed a note and a deed of trust.
[2] Lyons v. US Bank, ____ Wn.2d ____ (No. 89132-0 October 30, 2014).