The McElroys fell behind on their home loan payments. Their lender, Chase Manhattan Mortgage Co., notified them they could reinstate their mortgage and avoid foreclosure by paying the $7,238 in missing payments and costs.

Instead, the McElroys tendered payment to Chase in the form of a “Bonded Bill of Exchange Order” for the full $256,000 amount required to pay off their mortgage.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

The instructions to Chase, the McElroys said, were to establish a “Personal UCC Contract Trust Account” with the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The bill was a negotiable instrument, should be processed like a check, and sent by certified mail to the Secretary of the Treasury, they said.

But Chase refused to process the bill. The McElroys followed up by having “Barton Buhtz, Consumer Advocate” send further instructions to Chase on how to redeem the bill. Chase did not follow up.

Chase sold the property at a foreclosure sale for nonpayment. The La Vina Drive Trust was the highest bidder at the auction sale. About four months later, Charlene Fincle bought the house from La Vina.

The McElroys then brought a quiet title lawsuit against Chase and Fincle. The defaulting borrowers and former homeowners alleged that Chase violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by refusing to process the “Bonded Bill of Exchange Order.”

If you were the judge would you order the title to the house reinstated in the McElroys?

The judge said no!

The borrowers failed to state a valid quiet title claim after allegedly tendering loan payment with a worthless bill, the judge began.

“We unhesitatingly conclude the Bill is a worthless piece of paper, consisting of nothing more than a string of words that sound as though they belong in a legal document, but which, in reality, are incomprehensible, signify nothing,” the judge continued.

Chase’s foreclosure sale was valid and Charlene Fincle is now the bona fide purchaser (BFP) owner of this house, the judge ruled.

Based on the 2005 McElroy v. Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, 36 Cal.Rptr.3d 176.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

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