• September 20, 2012

The financial facts of life can be gut-wrenching during difficult economic times.  Our courts are often in the difficult situation of having to play a role in painful circumstances where, for example, a family with roots over 50-years deep in particular farmland fight eviction after default on a bank loan.

Striking the balance between enforcing contractual obligations and giving due consideration of legislative policies clearly intending to give debtors every opportunity to keep their farms and homesteads if possible, it is clear that Minnesota courts will be rigorous in making sure lenders closely follow the detailed and specific aspects of Minnesota foreclosure law.

So, for example, a bank is obligated to give a foreclosed land-owner 14-days advanced notice of putting the foreclosed property up for sale.  If it is obvious to all that the debtor could do nothing about it, if it is obvious that the debtor knew or had reason to know the property was going to be put up for sale, that is not enough.  Fourteen days notice is required and that is that.

Where things get very complicated, however, is where, after the fact, it is determined the fourteen day notice requirement may not have been met, but the property has now been sold and new owners have moved in.

What would be the appropriate remedy then? In the Shorter v. Equity Bank matter, that will be for the Olmsted County District Court to decide (if the parties cannot work it out on their own after remand of their case to the trial court after appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.)

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