Real Property – Mortgage Satisfaction – California
Assignments Generally: Lenders, or holders of mortgages or deeds of trust, often assign mortgages or deeds of trust to other lenders, or third parties. When this is done the assignee (person who received the assignment) steps into the place of the original lender or assignor. To effectuate an assignment, the general rules is that the assignment must be in proper written format and recorded to provide notice of the assignment.
Satisfactions Generally: Once a mortgage or deed of trust is paid, the holder of the mortgage is required to satisfy the mortgage or deed of trust of record to show that the mortgage or deed of trust is no longer a lien on the property. The general rule is that the satisfaction must be in proper written format and recorded to provide notice of the satisfaction. If the lender fails to record a satisfaction within set time limits, the lender may be responsible for damages set by statute for failure to timely cancel the lien. Depending on your state, a satisfaction may be called a Satisfaction, Cancellation, or Reconveyance. Some states still recognize marginal satisfaction but this is slowly being phased out. A marginal satisfaction is where the holder of the mortgage physically goes to the recording office and enters a satisfaction on the face of the the recorded mortgage, which is attested by the clerk.
Assignment: It is recommended that an assignment be in writing and recorded.
Demand to Satisfy: If the trustee has failed to execute and record, or cause to be recorded, the full reconveyance within 60 calendar days of satisfaction of the obligation, the beneficiary, upon receipt of a written request by the trustor, shall execute and acknowledge a document … substituting itself or another as trustee and issue a full reconveyance.
Recording Satisfaction: A certificate of the discharge of a mortgage, and the proof or acknowledgment thereof, must be recorded in the office of the county recorder in which the mortgage is recorded.
Penalty: All damages which that person may sustain by reason of the failure to record satisfaction shall require that the violator forfeit to that person the sum of three hundred dollars ($300).
Acknowledgment: An assignment or satisfaction must contain a proper California acknowledgment, or other acknowledgment approved by Statute.
DIVISION 3- OBLIGATIONS
TITLE 14- LIEN
Chapter 2- Mortgages
Article 1- Mortgages In General: SECTION 2920-2944.5
2939. A recorded mortgage must be discharged by a certificate signed by the mortgagee, his personal representatives or assigns, acknowledged or proved and certified as prescribed by the chapter on “recording transfers,” stating that the mortgage has been paid, satisfied, or discharged. Reference shall be made in said certificate to the book and page where the mortgage is recorded.
2939.5. Foreign executors, administrators and guardians may satisfy mortgages upon the records of any county in this state, upon producing and recording in the office of the county recorder of the county in which such mortgage is recorded, a duly certified and authenticated copy of their letters testamentary, or of administration or of guardianship, and which certificate or authentication shall also recite that said letters have not been revoked. For the purposes of this section, “guardian” includes a foreign conservator, committee, or comparable fiduciary.
2940. A certificate of the discharge of a mortgage, and the proof or acknowledgment thereof, must be recorded in the office of the county recorder in which the mortgage is recorded.
2941. (a) Within 30 days after any mortgage has been satisfied, the mortgagee or the assignee of the mortgagee shall execute a certificate of the discharge thereof, as provided in Section 2939, and shall record or cause to be recorded in the office of the county recorder in which the mortgage is recorded. The mortgagee shall then
deliver, upon the written request of the mortgagor or the mortgagor’s heirs, successors, or assignees, as the case may be, the original note and mortgage to the person making the request.
(b) (1) Within 30 calendar days after the obligation secured by any deed of trust has been satisfied, the beneficiary or the assignee of the beneficiary shall execute and deliver to the trustee the original note, deed of trust, request for a full reconveyance, and other documents as may be necessary to reconvey, or cause to be
reconveyed, the deed of trust.
(A) The trustee shall execute the full reconveyance and shall record or cause it to be recorded in the office of the county recorder in which the deed of trust is recorded within 21 calendar days after receipt by the trustee of the original note, deed of trust, request for a full reconveyance, the fee that may be charged pursuant to subdivision (e), recorder’s fees, and other documents as may be necessary to reconvey, or cause to be reconveyed, the deed of trust.
(B) The trustee shall deliver a copy of the reconveyance to the beneficiary, its successor in interest, or its servicing agent, if known. The reconveyance instrument shall specify one of the following options for delivery of the instrument, the addresses of which the recorder has no duty to validate:
(i) The trustor or successor in interest, and that person’s last known address, as the person to whom the recorder will deliver the recorded instrument pursuant to Section 27321 of the Government Code.
(ii) That the recorder shall deliver the recorded instrument to the trustee’s address. If the trustee’s address is specified for delivery, the trustee shall mail the recorded instrument to the trustor or the successor in interest to the last known address for that party.
(C) Following execution and recordation of the full reconveyance, upon receipt of a written request by the trustor or the trustor’s heirs, successors, or assignees, the trustee shall then deliver, or caused to be delivered, the original note and deed of trust to the person making that request.
(D) If the note or deed of trust, or any copy of the note or deed of trust, is electronic, upon satisfaction of an obligation secured by a deed of trust, any electronic original, or electronic copy which has not been previously marked solely for use as a copy, of the note and deed of trust, shall be altered to indicate that the obligation
is paid in full.
(2) If the trustee has failed to execute and record, or cause to be recorded, the full reconveyance within 60 calendar days of satisfaction of the obligation, the beneficiary, upon receipt of a written request by the trustor or trustor’s heirs, successor in interest, agent, or assignee, shall execute and acknowledge a document pursuant to Section 2934a substituting itself or another as trustee and issue a full reconveyance.
(3) If a full reconveyance has not been executed and recorded pursuant to either paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) within 75 calendar days of satisfaction of the obligation, then a title insurance company may prepare and record a release of the obligation. However,at least 10 days prior to the issuance and recording of a full release pursuant to this paragraph, the title insurance company shall mail by first-class mail with postage prepaid, the intention to release the obligation to the trustee, trustor, and beneficiary of record, or their successor in interest of record, at the last known address.
(A) The release shall set forth:
(i) The name of the beneficiary.
(ii) The name of the trustor.
(iii) The recording reference to the deed of trust.
(iv) A recital that the obligation secured by the deed of trust has been paid in full.
(v) The date and amount of payment.
(B) The release issued pursuant to this subdivision shall be entitled to recordation and, when recorded, shall be deemed to be the equivalent of a reconveyance of a deed of trust.
(4) Where an obligation secured by a deed of trust was paid in full prior to July 1, 1989, and no reconveyance has been issued and recorded by October 1, 1989, then a release of obligation as provided for in paragraph (3) may be issued.
(5) Paragraphs (2) and (3) do not excuse the beneficiary or the trustee from compliance with paragraph (1). Paragraph (3) does not excuse the beneficiary from compliance with paragraph (2).
(6) In addition to any other remedy provided by law, a title insurance company preparing or recording the release of the obligation shall be liable to any party for damages, including attorney’s fees, which any person may sustain by reason of the issuance and recording of the release, pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (4).
(7) A beneficiary may, at its discretion, in accordance with the requirements and procedures of Section 2934a, substitute the title company conducting the escrow through which the obligation is satisfied for the trustee of record, in which case the title company assumes the obligation of a trustee under this subdivision, and may
collect the fee authorized by subdivision (e).
(8) In lieu of delivering the original note and deed of trust to the trustee within 30 days of loan satisfaction, as required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), a beneficiary who executes and delivers to the trustee a request for a full reconveyance within 30 days of loan satisfaction may, within 120 days of loan satisfaction,deliver the original note and deed of trust to either the trustee or trustor. If the note and deed of trust are delivered as provided in this paragraph, upon satisfaction of the note and deed of trust, the note and deed of trust shall be altered to indicate that the obligation is paid in full. Nothing in this paragraph alters the requirements and obligations set forth in paragraphs (2) and (3).
(c) For the purposes of this section, the phrases “cause to be recorded” and “cause it to be recorded” include, but are not limited to, sending by certified mail with the United States Postal Service or by an independent courier service using its tracking service that provides documentation of receipt and delivery, including the signature of the recipient, the full reconveyance or certificate of discharge in a recordable form, together with payment for all required fees, in an envelope addressed to the county recorder’s office of the county in which the deed of trust or mortgage is recorded. Within two business days from the day of receipt, if received in recordable form together with all required fees, the county recorder shall stamp and record the full reconveyance or certificate of discharge. Compliance with this subdivision shall entitle the trustee to the benefit of the presumption found in Section 641 of the Evidence Code.
(d) The violation of this section shall make the violator liable to the person affected by the violation for all damages which that person may sustain by reason of the violation, and shall require that the violator forfeit to that person the sum of five hundred dollars ($500).
(e) (1) The trustee, beneficiary, or mortgagee may charge a reasonable fee to the trustor or mortgagor, or the owner of the land, as the case may be, for all services involved in the preparation, execution, and recordation of the full reconveyance, including, but not limited to, document preparation and forwarding services rendered
to effect the full reconveyance, and, in addition, may collect official fees. This fee may be made payable no earlier than the opening of a bona fide escrow or no more than 60 days prior to the full satisfaction of the obligation secured by the deed of trust or mortgage.
(2) If the fee charged pursuant to this subdivision does not exceed forty-five dollars ($45), the fee is conclusively presumed to be reasonable.
(3) The fee described in paragraph (1) may not be charged unless demand for the fee was included in the payoff demand statement described in Section 2943.
(f) For purposes of this section, “original” may include an optically imaged reproduction when the following requirements are met:
(1) The trustee receiving the request for reconveyance and executing the reconveyance as provided in subdivision
(b) is an affiliate or subsidiary of the beneficiary or an affiliate or subsidiary of the assignee of the beneficiary, respectively.
(2) The optical image storage media used to store the document shall be nonerasable write once, read many (WORM) optical image media that does not allow changes to the stored document.
(3) The optical image reproduction shall be made consistent with the minimum standards of quality approved by either the National Institute of Standards and Technology or the Association for Information and Image Management.
(4) Written authentication identifying the optical image reproduction as an unaltered copy of the note, deed of trust, or mortgage shall be stamped or printed on the optical image reproduction.
(g) No fee or charge may be imposed on the trustor in connection with, or relating to, any act described in this section except as expressly authorized by this section.
(h) The amendments to this section enacted at the 1999-2000 Regular Session shall apply only to a mortgage or an obligation secured by a deed of trust that is satisfied on or after January 1, 2001.
(i) (1) In any action filed before January 1, 2002, that is dismissed as a result of the amendments to this section enacted at the 2001-02 Regular Session, the plaintiff shall not be required to pay the defendant’s costs.
(2) Any claimant, including a claimant in a class action lawsuit, whose claim is dismissed or barred as a result of the amendments to this section enacted at the 2001-02 Regular Session, may, within 6 months of the dismissal or barring of the action or claim, file or refile a claim for actual damages occurring before January 1, 2002, that were proximately caused by a time lapse between loan satisfaction and the completion of the beneficiary’s obligations as required under paragraph (1) of subdivision (b). In any action brought under this section, the defendant may be found liable for actual damages, but may not be found liable for any civil penalty authorized by Section 2941.
(j) Notwithstanding any other penalties, if a beneficiary collects a fee for reconveyance and thereafter has knowledge, or should have knowledge, that no reconveyance has been recorded, the beneficiary shall cause to be recorded the reconveyance, or in the event a release of obligation is earlier and timely recorded, the beneficiary shall refund to the trustor the fee charged to perform the reconveyance. Evidence of knowledge includes, but is not limited to,notice of a release of obligation pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b).
2941.5. Every person who willfully violates Section 2941 is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than four hundred dollars ($400), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not to exceed six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. For purposes of this section, “willfully” means simply a purpose or willingness to commit the act, or make the omission referred to. It does not require an intent to violate the law, to injure another,or to acquire any advantage.