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Guide to understanding TILA Rescission.
- If someone is giving you advice or analysis and they don’t have a law degree and some experience practicing law, ignore them.
- READ THE STATUTE YOURSELF: 15 USC §1635.
- READ THE ONLY CASE THAT MATTERS: Jesinoski v Countrywide, decided by the highest court in the land — the Supreme Court of the United States. (SCOTUS)
- Be prepared for push back because that is working for the “bank side.” They are wrong and they know it but they are still convincing judges to ignore the wording of the statute and ignore the word of the boss of bosses (SCOTUS).
- A court decision that does not vacate the rescission is no decision at all. The courts have been careful to avoid this obvious issue. Since the rescission is effective when mailed (or delivered), that is the moment when the loan contract is canceled, and the note and mortgage rendered void. Any court that moves forward despite rescission is exceeding its jurisdictional authority as there is no longer subject matter jurisdiction.
There many shills and well intended people out there on the internet who have strong opinions about TILA Rescission. Nearly all of them have no law degree and no experience practicing law and lack any useful knowledge about court procedure. They should be ignored. Even the “bank” lawyers ignore them.
Their erroneous points come down to this:
- if the disclosures to the borrower were complete, then rescission doesn’t count
- it is up to the borrower to make TILA rescission effective.
- if the borrower cannot tender the principal back then the rescission is not effective.
- the TILA statute allows courts to change the order of duties of the “bank” side and the borrower side.
All four points are dead wrong because of due process. You can’t get relief unless you plead for it. So far the “bank” side has convinced judges they don’t need to file a pleading to get rid of an effective TILA Rescission. That is going to change.
The statute contains no presumptions that the disclosures are complete. In our legal system that means that a party with standing must bring an action that requests relief from rescission on the grounds that disclosure was complete. And they must bring such an action timely under the TILA Rescission Statute (i.e, within 20 days).
TILA rescission is effective at the moment of mailing or delivery by operation of law (i.e., the TILA Statute). The Supreme Court has already ruled unanimously that no lawsuit or other action is required by the borrower on the issue of rescission. Sending it means the loan contract is canceled and the note and mortgage are void.
No tender of money or property is required by the TILA statute in order to make rescission effective. This is not a theory. This is what the statute says and what the Supreme Court of the United States says. You can disagree with it all you want but the matter is legally settled.
The fact that the statute allows the court to reorder the statutory duties and obligations does not mean anyone asked the court to do so. If they did, the borrower would be entitled to due process — i.e., time to respond to the new order of things. Obviously that pleading is not going to submitted by the borrower. Just as obviously that pleading must be filed seeking relief from the rescission and allowing due process — i.e., litigation over whether the sending of the rescission was lawful but only in the context of a pleading filed by a party with standing.
And that is the point. There probably is no party with standing once you strip away the note and mortgage. The owner of the debt is most likely unknown. And that is where we are. Eventually SCOTUS will rule again on TILA Rescission. If the next ruling is consistent with their last ruling they will once again strike down the procedures and substance of court rulings that ignore the existence of the TILA rescission which was effective by operation of law, from the moment it was sent or delivered.
Here are some relevant quotes from the article cited above, written by an attorney working for a firm that represents banks:
Lenders at times find themselves assessing how to handle a claim by a borrower that he or she is entitled to rescind a loan under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Rescission under TILA is distinct from common law rescission due to one main difference: unlike common law rescission, which requires the rescinding party to tender any benefits received under the contract back to the other party as a condition precedent, TILA allows a borrower to exercise the right of rescission before such tender must occur. This can result in putting a lender on its heels, seeking to defend against the merits of a TILA rescission claim before even knowing if the borrower can fully effectuate the rescission by ultimately tendering the proceeds of the loan back to the lender.
However, it is possible to avoid this situation, even when operating within the framework of TILA. A strategically useful but often under-utilized tool for lenders in litigation involving rescission under TILA is to seek an order altering the statutorily prescribed procedures for rescission.
Overview of Rescission under TILA
Ordinarily, under section 1635(a) of TILA, a borrower has the unconditional right to rescind a loan for three days after the consummation of the transaction, delivery of notice that the borrower has a right to rescind or delivery of all material disclosures – whichever comes later. Thus, if the lender provides the borrower with the requisite material disclosures upon closing the loan, a borrower’s right of rescission under TILA is extinguished after three days.
Assuming, however, that a lender does not provide a borrower with all necessary “material disclosures,” section 1635(f) of TILA extends a borrower’s right of rescission to three years after the consummation of the transaction.
While common law rescission requires a rescinding party to tender the benefits received pursuant to an agreement back to the other party as a condition precedent, TILA prescribes otherwise. Section 1635(b) states that when a borrower “exercises his right to rescind under subsection (a), he is not liable for any finance or other charge, and any security interest given by the obligor … becomes void upon such a rescission.” Moreover, upon the exercise of rescission “under subsection (a)” of TILA, the lender is required to return any down payments provided by the borrower and “take any action necessary or appropriate to reflect the termination of any security interest created under the transaction” within 20 days of receiving a notice of rescission. Only after a lender performs its obligations under subsection (b) is the borrower required to tender back any benefits received, such as loan proceeds. Notably, however, both section 1635(b) and TILA’s implementing regulation, Regulation Z, provide that the procedures for rescission under TILA may be modified by court order.
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