Who gets the surplus funds (if there are any) following a California Foreclosure Sale under the Power of Sale?
Show me the money following the private non-judicial foreclosure sale – California Civil Code Section 2924j
The Trustee is the entity that conducts the private trustee sale under the power of sale contained in the Deed of Trust (if you default on your loan payment, you agree to allow the lender or their successors and assigns to conduct a private trustee sale without need to file a judicial foreclosure). But if you owe, let’s say $500,000 on your first mortgage, and do not have a second mortgage, and let’s say the house sells for one million dollars, who gets that extra $500,000? Well naturally it should be the borrower, as this was their equity in the property. That being said, there is a statutory scheme in California which discusses what the trustee must do in such a situation to make sure the surplus funds are handled correctly.
Specifically, California Civil Code Section 2924j addresses the surplus funds issue:
(a) Unless an interpleader action has been filed, within 30 days of the execution of the trustee's deed resulting from a sale in which there are proceeds remaining after payment of the amounts required by paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 2924k, the trustee shall send written notice to all persons with recorded interests in the real property as of the date immediately prior to the trustee's sale who would be entitled to notice pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 2924b. The notice shall be sent by first-class mail in the manner provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 2924b and inform each entitled person of each of the following: (1) That there has been a trustee's sale of the described real property. (2) That the noticed person may have a claim to all or a portion of the sale proceeds remaining after payment of the amounts required by paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 2924k. (3) The noticed person may contact the trustee at the address provided in the notice to pursue any potential claim. (4) That before the trustee can act, the noticed person may be required to present proof that the person holds the beneficial interest in the obligation and the security interest therefor. In the case of a promissory note secured by a deed of trust, proof that the person holds the beneficial interest may include the original promissory note and assignment of beneficial interests related thereto. The noticed person shall also submit a written claim to the trustee, executed under penalty of perjury, stating the following: (A) The amount of the claim to the date of trustee's sale. (B) An itemized statement of the principal, interest, and other charges. (C) That claims must be received by the trustee at the address stated in the notice no later than 30 days after the date the trustee sends notice to the potential claimant. (b) The trustee shall exercise due diligence to determine the priority of the written claims received by the trustee to the trustee' s sale surplus proceeds from those persons to whom notice was sent pursuant to subdivision (a). In the event there is no dispute as to the priority of the written claims submitted to the trustee, proceeds shall be paid within 30 days after the conclusion of the notice period. If the trustee has failed to determine the priority of written claims within 90 days following the 30-day notice period, then within 10 days thereafter the trustee shall deposit the funds with the clerk of the court pursuant to subdivision (c) or file an interpleader action pursuant to subdivision (e). Nothing in this section shall preclude any person from pursuing other remedies or claims as to surplus proceeds. (c) If, after due diligence, the trustee is unable to determine the priority of the written claims received by the trustee to the trustee's sale surplus of multiple persons or if the trustee determines there is a conflict between potential claimants, the trustee may file a declaration of the unresolved claims and deposit with the clerk of the superior court of the county in which the sale occurred, that portion of the sales proceeds that cannot be distributed, less any fees charged by the clerk pursuant to this subdivision. The declaration shall specify the date of the trustee's sale, a description of the property, the names and addresses of all persons sent notice pursuant to subdivision (a), a statement that the trustee exercised due diligence pursuant to subdivision (b), that the trustee provided written notice as required by subdivisions (a) and (d) and the amount of the sales proceeds deposited by the trustee with the court. Further, the trustee shall submit a copy of the trustee's sales guarantee and any information relevant to the identity, location, and priority of the potential claimants with the court and shall file proof of service of the notice required by subdivision (d) on all persons described in subdivision (a). The clerk shall deposit the amount with the county treasurer or, if a bank account has been established for moneys held in trust under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 77009 of the Government Code, in that account, subject to order of the court upon the application of any interested party. The clerk may charge a reasonable fee for the performance of activities pursuant to this subdivision equal to the fee for filing an interpleader action pursuant to Chapter 5.8 (commencing with Section 70600) of Title 8 of the Government Code. Upon deposit of that portion of the sale proceeds that cannot be distributed by due diligence, the trustee shall be discharged of further responsibility for the disbursement of sale proceeds. A deposit with the clerk of the court pursuant to this subdivision may be either for the total proceeds of the trustee' s sale, less any fees charged by the clerk, if a conflict or conflicts exist with respect to the total proceeds, or that portion that cannot be distributed after due diligence, less any fees charged by the clerk. (d) Before the trustee deposits the funds with the clerk of the court pursuant to subdivision (c), the trustee shall send written notice by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to all persons described in subdivision (a) informing them that the trustee intends to deposit the funds with the clerk of the court and that a claim for the funds must be filed with the court within 30 days from the date of the notice, providing the address of the court in which the funds were deposited, and a telephone number for obtaining further information. Within 90 days after deposit with the clerk, the court shall consider all claims filed at least 15 days before the date on which the hearing is scheduled by the court, the clerk shall serve written notice of the hearing by first-class mail on all claimants identified in the trustee's declaration at the addresses specified therein. Where the amount of the deposit is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or less, a proceeding pursuant to this section is a limited civil case. The court shall distribute the deposited funds to any and all claimants entitled thereto. (e) Nothing in this section restricts the ability of a trustee to file an interpleader action in order to resolve a dispute about the proceeds of a trustee's sale. Once an interpleader action has been filed, thereafter the provisions of this section do not apply. (f) "Due diligence," for the purposes of this section means that the trustee researched the written claims submitted or other evidence of conflicts and determined that a conflict of priorities exists between two or more claimants which the trustee is unable to resolve. (g) To the extent required by the Unclaimed Property Law, a trustee in possession of surplus proceeds not required to be deposited with the court pursuant to subdivision (b) shall comply with the Unclaimed Property Law (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 1500) of Title 10 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure). (h) The trustee, beneficiary, or counsel to the trustee or beneficiary, is not liable for providing to any person who is entitled to notice pursuant to this section, information set forth in, or a copy of, subdivision (h) of Section 2945.3.
WHAT IS THE ORDER OF PRIORITY FOR PAYING OUR SURPLUS FUNDS FOLLOWING A FORECLOSURE SALE?
California Civil Code Section 2924k answers this question:
(a) The trustee, or the clerk of the court upon order to the clerk pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 2924j, shall distribute the proceeds, or a portion of the proceeds, as the case may be, of the trustee's sale conducted pursuant to Section 2924h in the following order of priority: (1) To the costs and expenses of exercising the power of sale and of sale, including the payment of the trustee's fees and attorney's fees permitted pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2924d and subdivision (b) of this section. (2) To the payment of the obligations secured by the deed of trust or mortgage which is the subject of the trustee's sale. (3) To satisfy the outstanding balance of obligations secured by any junior liens or encumbrances in the order of their priority. (4) To the trustor or the trustor's successor in interest. In the event the property is sold or transferred to another, to the vested owner of record at the time of the trustee's sale. (b) A trustee may charge costs and expenses incurred for such items as mailing and a reasonable fee for services rendered in connection with the distribution of the proceeds from a trustee's sale, including, but not limited to, the investigation of priority and validity of claims and the disbursement of funds. If the fee charged for services rendered pursuant to this subdivision does not exceed one hundred dollars ($100), or one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) where there are obligations specified in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a), the fee is conclusively presumed to be reasonable.
AS YOU CAN SEE, THE TRUSTOR ONLY GETS WHAT IS LEFT AFTER OTHER PEOPLE ARE PAID. THE TRUSTOR IS NUMBER 4 IN LINE OF PRIORITY.
NOTE HOW THIS CASE POINTS OUT YOU MAY NEED TO ACT FAST TO GET YOUR SURPLUS MONEY. BUT THE CASE DOES MENTION YOU MAY HAVE A RIGHT TO PURSUE YOUR SURPLUS FUNDS IN ANOTHER VENUE USING OTHER LEGAL THEORIES (such as tort and contract). To this point the Court stated:
“BofA‟s reliance on section 2924j, subdivision (b), is also misplaced. This subdivision clearly provides the statutory remedies to recover surplus funds are not exclusive, and it authorizes common law tort and contract actions when appropriate. BofA sued for breach of the trustee‟s statutory duties”
FINALLY, HERE IS A JUDICIAL COUNSEL COURT FORM (MC-095 – PETITION AND DECLARATION REGARDING UNRESOLVED CLAIMS AND DEPOSIT OF UNDISTRIBUTED SURPLUS PROCEEDS OF TRUSTEES SALE)
The preceding is for the exclusive use of attorneys only. Our firm does not make any representations as to the accuracy of the legal analysis, opinions contained herein, or as to the current state/status of any case cited herein. This is general legal information only. Copyright 2011 The Law Offices of Steven C. Vondran, P.C. – All Rights Reserved. Steve Vondran practices law in California and Arizona where he is licensed to practice. He is a former real estate broker in both states, and has previous experience in originating loans. He currently represents commercial and residential property owners in real estate legal matters. He can be heard on BlogTalkRadio (Foreclosure Meltdown Radio Show), and on his two main websites http://www.ForeclosureDefenseResourceCenter.com and http://www.UltimateBK.com. The Law Offices of Steven C. Vondran, P.C., has offices in Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Fresno, San Francisco, and Phoenix, Arizona. Phone (877) 276-5084. We still handle Wachovia and World Savings Pick-a-pay loans on a contingency fee basis. Certain conditions apply