Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Florida Mortgage Foreclosure - Assignment of Promissory Note Without the Mortgage
In Florida, generally the transfer of a mortgage note transfers with it the related mortgage. The mortgage note is regarded as the principal item with the mortgage being regarded as a mere accessory. Hence the adage "the mortgage follows the note."
The Restatement (Third) of Property provides in Mortgages section 5.4(a) (1997) that "[a] transfer of an obligation secured by a mortgage also transfers the mortgage unless the parties to the transfer agree otherwise." Florida law is apparently in accordance with the Restatement. The stated objective of the Restatement is to avoid economic waste to the lender and a windfall to the borrower if the note and mortgage are split rendering the mortgage note as a practical matter unsecured. The Restatement cites the United States Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. 271 (1827) which held that "[a]ll the authorities agree that the debt is the principal thing and the mortgage an accessory."
The Restatement's exception provides that a transfer of a mortgage note is possible without the transfer of the mortgage if the parties so agree, but the effect of such a transfer would be to make it impossible to foreclose the mortgage unless the transferor of the mortgage note is made the assignee's agent or trustee with authority to foreclose on the behalf of the assignee of the mortgage note.
Assignment of the Mortgage
The opposite situation is presented if a mortgage is transferred without the transfer of the mortgage note. The apparent rule in Florida is that an assignment of a mortgage without an assignment of the related mortgage note is deemed a nullity and creates no right in the assignee because a mortgage is a mere lien incidental to the obligation it secures. 37 Fla. Jur. 2nd, Mortgages, Section 511. See e.g., Sobel v. Mutual Development, Inc., 313 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975). Vance v. Fields, 172 So.2d 613 (Fla. 1st DCA 1965).
Miami Miami, FL, USA