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Foreclosure Home For Sale Photo: Shutterstock

A new development in real estate acquisitions from distressed homeowners involves investors approaching homeowners in foreclosure and offering to purchase the deed from the owner/mortgagor. After purchasing the deeds, investors have then chosen to litigate with the foreclosing banks on the merits of the mortgage in the hopes of settling for a lesser amount than the amount due or having the case dismissed which may result in the accelerated debt deemed time barred and the mortgage unenforceable. A recent decision in the Appellate Division, Second Department, Citimortgage v. Etienne, 2019 NY Slip Op 03564 (2d Dep’t 2019) shows the limits of the ability of a subsequent owner attempting to assert defenses personal to the original owner/mortgagor in a pending foreclosure proceeding. The decision is instructive to remind practitioners regarding “personal defenses” and standing of other parties to appeal decisions.

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