The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a mortgage statement is not the same as a communication from a debt collector and that the statements violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because they attempted to collect on a debt that was beyond the five year statute of limitations in Florida.
A copy of the ruling in Green v. Specialized Loan Servicing can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff defaulted on his mortgage in 2008 and has not made any payments since then. The defendant started foreclosure proceedings in 2009, but those proceedings were ultimately dismissed. The defendant again initiated foreclosure proceedings in 2015, but the plaintiff filed suit, alleging that attempting to collect on payments that were beyond the five year statute of limitations in Florida constituted an FDCPA violation. A District Court dismissed the case in favor of the defendant; a ruling which the plaintiff subsequently appealed.
The plaintiff attempted to cite several cases involving installment debts, but none involved a mortgage payment, which is “unique,” the Eleventh Circuit ruled.
In compliance with the mortgage and note, based on a July 1, 2010 default by Green, SLS accelerated the debt on June 30, 2015, and the entire outstanding amount of the loan “came due” on that date. It was only then that the statute of limitations period began to run for the full accelerated amount due. Thus, the foreclosure action in June 2015 was timely, and SLS did not improperly seek any payment on the note by filing that action.
Mortgage statements are required to be sent to individuals under the Truth in Lending Act, and the Eleventh Circuit found “nothing in the language in question from the Mortgage Statement, beyond what is required by TILA, which rises to the level of being unlawful debt collection language.”