Bar News - May 18, 2016
Real Property Law: Foreclosure Project Enters Fourth Year
By: Mary Stewart and Krista Atwater
Since 2012, the New Hampshire Foreclosure Relief Project (FRP) has benefited New Hampshire homeowners through a dedicated foreclosure hotline, free Home Retention Clinics, and other legal and informational services.
Funded by a portion of the National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement, through the NH Attorney General’s Office, FRP is a collaborative effort of three legal service providers: NH Bar Association’s Legal Services Department (NHBA), NH Legal Assistance (NHLA) and the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC). The project is designed to help homeowners at all income levels who are struggling with foreclosure and other mortgage-related problems.
When FRP was initiated, there was a split of authority at the Superior Court level regarding whether a foreclosing entity must be entitled to enforce the mortgage and the promissory note, or only the mortgage. In 2015, the New Hampshire Supreme Court addressed this issue in Bergeron v. New York Community Bank, holding that a foreclosing entity need only be entitled to enforce the mortgage as long as that entity is also the noteholder’s agent (NH 2015). Subsequent litigation has been directed at the agency relationship (or lack thereof) between the mortgagee and the noteholder.
Case law pertaining to mortgages and foreclosures continues to develop at a rapid rate. Cutting-edge issues include the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s foreclosure statute, the interplay of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a subsequent foreclosure, and the elements of proof in a claim for equitable subrogation. Despite the downward trend in the number of foreclosures, legal issues continue to abound in mortgage and foreclosure cases.
Attorneys participating in the Foreclosure Relief Project have a diverse range of practice areas, including litigation, real estate, bankruptcy, family law, probate and appellate law. FRP attorneys have access to educational resources, training and legal support. For more information about joining FRP, please contact Krista Atwater at (603) 436-2563.
Mary Stewart of Mary Stewart Law and Krista Atwater of Atwater Law have contracted with the NHBA Legal Services Department to assist attorneys participating in FRP.