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QM and Nonjudicial Foreclosures

posted by Adam Levitin

The Dodd-Frank Act provides that failure to verify a borrower's ability to pay on a home mortgage entitles the borrower to a "asset a violation...as a matter of defense by recoupment or set off". 15 USC 1640(k). 

It's not clear me how this provision will play out in the context of nonjudicial foreclosures.  Does the ability to "assert a violation...as a matter of defense by recoupment or set off" enable borrowers to turn all nonjudicial foreclosures into judicial foreclosures? I don't know how one raises a defense or setoff to a nonjudicial foreclosure sale.  And if the foreclosure is nonjudicial, is the debtor's filing in court truly a defense?  Wouldn't it have to be a claim?  If so, would it create federal jurisdiction on federal question grounds?  Maybe the answer is to read 15 USC 1640(k) not as authorizing two types of defenses--recoupment and set off--but instead as authorizing either a defense (recoupment) and a claim (or counterclaim) for set off.

It's not clear to me exactly what was intended, but I have a lot of trouble seeing how 15 USC 1640(k) is going to work with nonjudicial foreclosure.  While I'm very skeptical about the strength of the remedy for violating the ability to pay requirement, I wonder 15 USC 1640(k) will herald greater judicialization (and possibly federalization) of foreclosures.

I'd love to hear thoughts on how 15 USC 1640(k) is likely to play out.


In my humble but considered opinion, any non-judicial foreclosure subsequent to the effective date of Dodd-Frank is void and participants in the process are subject to consumer protection violations...state and federal.

Eugene -- care to explain why, specifically?

in massachusetts, homeowners can challenge extrajudicial foreclosure by way of defense to post-foreclosure eviction. i see no obvious reason why defense by recoupment/setoff should not be available.

Not "asset a violation" - it is "assert a violation".

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