June 4, 2014

FDN has today added its 45th law Firm to its network. Shikha Parikh, Esq. Managing Attorney of Paradigm Law, P.L.C. in Fairfax, Virginia has joined the network for foreclosure defense cases in Maryland and Virginia. She is licensed in both Virginia and Maryland state and Federal courts. We welcome Ms. Parikh to the team.

In addition, existing network attorney Elizabeth Lemoine, Esq. of Makler, Lemoine & Goldberg, P.C. of Portland, Oregon and Jeff Barnes, Esq. are litigating issues related to reverse mortgages, which are governed by the HECM statute (12 USC sec. 1715z-20) and the implementing regulations (24 CFR part 206). Reverse mortgage lenders are taking the position that “non-borrowing” spouses of reverse mortgage borrowers can be foreclosed upon after the death of the “borrowing” spouse, thus literally kicking the surviving spouse into the street. The litigation centers around the regulations which provide that the term “homeowner” under the Statute includes the spouse of the homeowner, and that the loan is not due and payable until the death of both the borrower and the spouse, the same of the home, or the occurrence of other events specified in the regulations.

The foreclosing party, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Inc., has taken the position that it can foreclose on the widow of the homeowner borrower notwithstanding the regulations and a Federal court’s finding that the Senate Report of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban affairs stated that the Statute intended to defer any repayment obligation until the death of the homeowner and the homeowner’s spouse.

The law is unsettled on the remedy for statutory violations. AARP Foundation Litigation Group has filed an action in Federal Court in the District of Columbia against HUD on behalf of several “non-borrowing” surviving spouses, and the work which Mrs. Lemoine and Mr. Barnes are doing may, like their prior work in the MERS area which wound up establishing the law as to MERS in Oregon, shape the law for homeowners and spouses who have a reverse mortgage.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com