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Title 7

Displaying title 7, up to date as of 9/23/2021. Title 7 was last amended 9/21/2021.

Title 7

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§ 1955.15 Foreclosure by the Government of loans secured by real estate.

Foreclosure will be initiated when all reasonable efforts have failed to have the borrower voluntarily liquidate the loan through sale of the property, voluntary conveyance, or by entering into an accelerated repayment agreement when applicable servicing regulations permit; when either a net recovery can be made or when failure to foreclose would adversely affect Rural Development programs in the area. Also, in Farmer Program cases (except graduation cases under subpart F of part 1951 of this chapter), the borrower must have received exhibit A with attachments 1 and 2 of subpart S of part 1951 of this chapter, and any appeal must have been concluded. For real property located within the confines of a federally recognized Indian reservation and owned by a Native American borrower, proper notice of voluntary conveyance must be given as outlined in § 1955.9 (c)(1) of this subpart.

(a) Authority -

(1) Loans to individuals. The District Director is authorized to approve or disapprove foreclosure and accelerate the account.

(2) Loans to organizations.

(i) The State Director or District Director is authorized to approve or disapprove foreclosure of Rural Development secured debt does not exceed their respective loan approval authority. The State Director is authorized to approve or disapprove foreclosure of I&D, Shift-In-Land-Use (Grazing Association), loans to Indian Tribes and Tribal Corporations, and EOC loans, regardless of the amount of debt.

(ii) For all other organization loans, foreclosure will not be initiated without prior approval of the Administrator. The State Director will obtain OGC's opinion on the steps necessary to foreclose the loan, and forward the appropriate problem case report, a statement of essential facts, his/her recommendation, a copy of the OGC opinion, and the borrower's case file to the Administrator, Attn: Assistant Administrator (appropriate loan division) with a request for authorization to initiate foreclosure.

(b) Problem case report. When foreclosure is recommended, the servicing official will prepare Form RD 1955-2 for Farmer Program or SFH loans, exhibit A to this subpart for MFH loans, or exhibit A of RD Instruction 1951-E (available in any Rural Development office) for other organization loans. If chattel security is also involved, Forms RD 455-1, “Request for Legal Action”; 455-2, “Evidence of Conversion”; and 455-22, “Information for Litigation”; as applicable to the case, will be prepared in accordance with the respective FMIs and made a part of the problem case submission. A statement must be included by the servicing official in the narrative that all servicing actions required by Rural Development loan servicing regulations have been taken and all required notices given to the borrower.

(1) Appraisal. The market value of the property may be estimated in completing the problem case report unless there are one or more prior liens other than current-year real estate taxes. Where such prior liens are involved, an appraisal report reflecting market value in existing condition will be included in the case file as a basis for determining the Government's prospects for financial recovery through foreclosure.

(2) Recommendation for deficiency judgment. If the debt will not be satisfied by the foreclosure, the borrower's financial situation will be assessed to determine if there is a possibility of further recovery on the account through a deficiency judgment. A summary of these determinations will be fully documented and appropriate recommendations made concerning deficiency judgment in the applicable problem case report.

(3) Historic preservation. If it is likely that Rural Development will acquire title to the property as a result of the foreclosure, and the structure(s) on the property will be in excess of 50 years old at the time of acquisition or meet any of the other criteria contained in § 1955.137(c) of subpart C of part 1955 of this chapter, steps should be initiated to meet the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act as outlined in § 1955.137(c). Formal steps should not be initiated until the conclusion of all appeals. However, any such documentation required may be completed when the problem case report is prepared. This action should eliminate delays in selling the property after acquisition.

(c) Submission of problem case. The servicing official will submit the completed problem case docket to the official authorized to approve the foreclosure (approval official). Before approval of foreclosure and acceleration of the account, the approval official is responsible for review of the problem case report to see that all items are complete and that all required servicing actions have been taken and all required notices given the borrower. The narrative portion of the report should provide complete information on the borrower's financial condition, deficiency judgment in case the debt is not satisfied by the foreclosure, and other pertinent background items. The approval official will approve or disapprove the foreclosure, or make a recommendation and refer the case to the National Office, if not within his/her approval authority. If foreclosure is not approved, the case will be returned to the originating office with instructions for further servicing. Problem case submission is as follows:

(1) For loans to individuals. The County Supervisors will submit the case to the District Director.

(2) For loans to organizations. The District Director will submit the case to the State Director along with a proposed liquidation and management plan covering the time the foreclosure is in process. The State Director will obtain the advice of OGC if required in connection with the type of loan being liquidated.

(d) Approval of foreclosure. When foreclosure is approved, it will be handled as follows:

(1) Prior lien(s). If there is a prior lien, all foreclosure alternatives should be explored including whether Rural Development will give the prior lienholder the opportunity to foreclose; join in the action if the prior lienholder wishes to foreclose; or foreclose the Rural Development loan(s), either settling the prior lien or foreclosing subject to it. The provisions of § 1965.11(c) of subpart A of part 1965 of this chapter must be followed for loans serviced under subpart A of part 1965. The assistance of OGC should be obtained in weighing the alternatives, with the objective being to pursue the course which will result in the greatest net recovery by the Government. After it is decided which option will be most advantageous to the Government, the approval official, either directly or through a designee, will contact the prior lienholder to outline Rural Development's position. If State laws affect this action, a State Supplement will be issued with the advice of OGC to establish the procedure to be followed. For real property located within the confines of a federally recognized Indian reservation owned by a Native American borrower-owner, an analysis of whether Rural Development should acquire title must include facts which demonstrate the fair market value after considering the cost of clean-up of hazardous substances on the property.

(2) Acceleration of account. Subject to paragraphs (d)(2)(i), (d)(2)(ii), and (d)(2)(iii) of this section, the account will be accelerated using a notice substantially similar to exhibits B, C, D, or E of this subpart, or for multi-family housing, Guide Letters 1955-A-1 or 1955-A-2 (available in any Rural Development Office), as appropriate, to be signed by the official who approved the foreclosure. The accounts of borrowers with pending Chapter 12 and 13 cases which have not been discharged will be accelerated in accordance with instructions from OGC. Upon OGC approval, accounts of these borrowers may be accelerated using a notice substantially similar to exhibit D of this subpart. Loans secured by chattels must be accelerated at the same time as loans secured by real estate in accordance with § 1965.26 (c) of subpart A of part 1965 of this chapter. The notice will be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each obligor individually, addressed to the last known address. If different from the property address and/or the address the Finance Office uses, a copy of the notice will also be mailed to the property address and the address currently used by the Finance Office. (In chattel liquidation cases which have been referred for civil action under subpart A of part 1962 of this chapter, the Finance Office will be sent a copy of exhibits D, E, or E-1 (available in any Rural Development office) as applicable. County Office and Finance Office loan records will be adjusted to mature the entire debt in such cases). If a signed receipt for at least one of these acceleration notices sent by certified mail is received, no further notice is required. If no receipt is received, a copy of the acceleration notice will be sent by regular mail to each address to which the certified notices were sent. This type mailing will be documented in the file. A State Supplement may be issued if OGC advises different or additional language or format is required to comply with State laws or if notice and mailing instructions are different from that outlined in this paragraph. A conformed copy of the acceleration notice will be forwarded to the servicing official. Farmer Program appeals will be concluded before acceleration. For MFH loans, a copy of the acceleration letter will also be forwarded to the National Office, ATTN: MFH Servicing and Property Management Division, for monitoring purposes. Accounts may be accelerated as follows:

(i) Where monetary default is involved, the account may be accelerated immediately after approval of foreclosure.

(ii) Where monetary default is not involved, the account will not be accelerated until the concurrence of OGC is obtained.

(iii) If borrower obtained the loan while a civilian, entered military service after the loan was closed, the Rural Development has not obtained a waiver of rights under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, the account will not be accelerated until OGC has reviewed the case and given instructions.

(iv) If the decision is made to liquidate the farm loan(s) of a borrower who also has a SFH loan(s), and the dwelling was used as security for the farm loan(s) it will not be necessary to meet the requirements of 7 CFR part 3550 prior to accelerating the account. Except that, if the borrower is in default on his/her farm loan(s), the SFH account must have been considered for interest credit and/or moratorium at the time servicing options are being considered for the FP loan(s) prior to acceleration. If it is later determined the FP loan(s) are to receive additional servicing in lieu of liquidation, the RH loan will be reinstated simultaneously with the FP servicing actions and may be reamortized in accordance with 7 CFR part 3550. Accounts of a borrower who has both Farmer Program and SFH loan(s) may be accelerated as follows:

(A) When the borrower's dwelling is financed with an SFH loan(s) is secured by and located on the same farm real estate as the Farmer Program loan(s) (dwelling located on the farm), the SFH loan(s) will be serviced in accordance with § 1965.26(c)(1) of subpart A of part 1965 of this chapter.

(B) When the borrower's dwelling is financed with an SFH loan(s) and is located on a nonfarm tract which also serves as additional security for the Farmer Program loan(s), the loans(s) will be serviced in accordance with § 1965.26 (c)(2) of subpart A of part 1965 of this chapter.

(C) When the borrower's dwelling is financed with an SFH loan(s) and is on a non-farm tract which does not serve as additional security for the Farmer Program loan(s), it will NOT be accelerated simultaneously with sending out attachments 5 and 6, or 5-A and 6-A, or attachment 9 and 10, or 9-A and 10-A, of exhibit A of subpart S of part 1951 of this chapter, as applicable, unless it is subject to liquidation based on provisions of 7 CFR part 3550, taking into consideration the prospects for success that may evolve when the borrower's livelihood is from a source other than the farming operation. If the SFH loan is in default and subject to liquidation based on provisions of 7 CFR part 3550, the SFH loan(s) must be accelerated at the same time the borrower is sent attachment 5 and 6, or 5-A and 6-A, or attachments 9 and 10, or 9-A and 10-A, to exhibit A of subpart S of part 1951 of this chapter, as applicable. For those borrowers who are in non-monetary default on their Farmer Programs loans and fail to return attachment 4 of exhibit A of subpart S of part 1951 of this chapter, the Farmer Programs loans and SFH loans will be accelerated at the same time. If the borrower appeals, one appeal hearing and one review will be held for both adverse actions.

(D) If a borrower's FP loan(s) were accelerated prior to May 7, 1987, and the SFH loan(s) is not accelerated, the SFH loan will be accelerated at the same time the borrower is sent attachments 5 and 6, or 5-A and 6-A, or attachments 7 and 8 to exhibit A of subpart S of 1951 of this chapter, as applicable, unless the requirements of § 1965.26 of subpart A of part 1965 of this chapter are met or the liquidation of the SFH loan is based on provisions of 7 CFR part 3550. If the borrower is sent attachments 5 and 6, or 5-A and 6-A to exhibit A of subpart S of 1951 of this chapter, as applicable, and requests an appeal, one hearing and one review will be held for both the adverse action on the FP loan restructuring request and SFH acceleration notices. If the borrower is sent attachments 7 and 8 to exhibit A of subpart S of 1951 of this chapter, there are no further appeals on the FP loans; but, the borrower is entitled to a hearing and a review on the SFH acceleration notice.

(v) For MFH loans, the acceleration notice will advise the borrower of all applicable prepayment requirements, in accordance with 7 CFR part 3560, subpart N. The requirements include the application of restrictive-use provisions to loans made on or after December 21, 1979, prepaid in response to acceleration notices and all tenant and agency notifications. The acceleration notice will also remind borrowers that rent levels cannot be raised during the acceleration without Rural Development approval, even after subsidies are canceled or suspended. Tenants are to be notified of the status of the project and of possible consequences of these actions. If the borrower wishes to prepay the project in response to the acceleration and Rural Development makes a determination that the housing is no longer needed, a minimum of 180 days' notice to tenants is required before the project can be removed from the Rural Development program. Letters of Priority Entitlement must be made available.

(3) Offers by borrowers after acceleration of account -

(i) Farmers Programs (FP) accelerations. This category also includes non-FP loans to the same borrower which have been accelerated as part of the same action. After the account is accelerated, the borrower will have 30 days from the date of the acceleration notice to make payment in full to stop the acceleration, unless State or tribal law requires that the foreclosure be withdrawn if the account is brought current and a State supplement is issued to specify the requirement.

(A) Payment in full [see exhibit D of this subpart (available in any Rural Development office)] may consist of the following means of fully satisfying the debt.

(1) Cash.

(2) Transfer and assumption.

(3) Sale of property.

(4) Voluntary conveyance.

(B) Payments which do not pay the account in full can be accepted subject to the following requirements:

(1) Payments will be accepted if there is no remaining security for the debt (real estate and chattel).

(2) If the borrower is in the process of selling security or nonsecurity, payments may be accepted unless State law would require the acceleration to be reversed. In States where payments cannot be accepted unless the acceleration is reversed, the payments will not be accepted. A State supplement will be issued to address State law on accepting payments after acceleration.

(3) If payments are mistakenly credited to the borrower's account, no waiver or prejudice to any rights which the United States may have for breach of any promissory note or convenant in the real estate instruments will result. Disposition of such payments will be made after consulting OGC.

(4) The servicing official will notify the approval official of any other offer. This includes a request by the borrower for an extension of time to accomplish voluntary liquidation or a proposal to cure the default(s). In all other cases, the approval official will decide whether an offer from a borrower will be accepted and servicing of the loan reinstated or whether foreclosure will be delayed to give the borrower additional time to voluntarily liquidate as authorized in servicing regulations for the type loan(s) involved. If an offer is received after the case has been referred to OGC, the approval official will consult OGC before accepting or rejecting the offer. The denial of an offer to stop foreclosure is not appealable. In all cases, the approval official will notify the servicing official of the decision made.

(ii) All other accelerations. After the account is accelerated, loan servicing ceases. For example, for SFH loans, the renewal or granting of interest credit or a moratorium is not authorized. The servicing official will accept no payment for less than the unpaid loan balance, unless State law requires that foreclosure be withdrawn if the account is brought current and a State supplement is issued to specify this requirement. If payments are mistakenly accepted and credited to the borrower's account, no waiver or prejudice to any rights which the United States may have for breach of any promissory note or covenants in the real estate instruments will result. Disposition of such payments will be made after consultation with OGC. The servicing official will notify the approval official of any offer received from the borrower. This includes a request by the borrower for an extension of time to accomplish voluntary liquidation or a written proposal to cure the default(s). The receipt of a payment with no proposal to cure the defaults is not considered a viable offer, and such payments will be returned to the borrower. The approval official will decide whether an offer from a borrower will be accepted and servicing of the loan reinstated or whether foreclosure will be delayed to give the borrower additional time to voluntarily liquidate as authorized in servicing regulations for the type loan involved. If an offer is received after the case has been referred to OGC, the approval official will consult OGC before accepting or rejecting the offer. The denial of an offer to stop foreclosure is not appealable. In all cases, the approval official will notify the servicing official of the decision made. For MFH loans, the National Office will be notified when foreclosure is withdrawn. When an account is reinstated under this section, the servicing official will grant or reinstate assistance for which the borrower qualifies, such as interest credit on an SFH loan. When granting interest credit in such a case:

(A) If an interest credit agreement expired after the account was accelerated, the effective date will be the date the previous agreement expired.

(B) If an interest credit agreement was not in effect when the account was accelerated, the effective date will be the date foreclosure action was withdrawn.

(C) For MFH loans with rental assistance, after acceleration and after any appeal or review has been concluded, rental assistance will be suspended if foreclosure is to continue. If the account is reinstated, the rental assistance will be reinstated retroactively to the date of suspension. In the interim, the tenants will continue rental payments in accordance with their leases, and all rental rates and lease renewals and provisions will be continued as if acceleration had not taken place.

(4) Statement of account. If a statement of account is required for foreclosure proceedings, Form RD 451-10, “Request for Statement of Account,” will be processed in accordance with the FMI. When an official statement of account is not required, account balances and recapture information may be obtained from the field office terminal.

(5) Appeals. All appeals will be handled pursuant to subpart B of part 1900 of this chapter. Foreclosure actions will be held in abeyance while an appeal is pending. No case will be referred to OGC for processing of foreclosure until a borrower's appeal and appeal review have been concluded, or until the time has elapsed during which an appeal or a request for review may be made. In Farmer Programs cases, (except graduation cases under subpart F of part 1951 of this chapter), the borrower must have received the appropriate notices and consideration for primary loan servicing per subpart S of part 1951 of this chapter. Any Farmer Programs cases may be accelerated after all primary loan servicing options have been considered and all related appeals concluded, but will not be submitted to OGC for foreclosure action until all appeals related to any preservation rights have been concluded.

(6) Petition in bankruptcy filed by borrower after acceleration of account.

(i) When bankruptcy is filed after an account has been accelerated, any foreclosure action initiated by Rural Development must be suspended until:

(A) The bankruptcy case is dismissed or closed (a discharge of debtor does not close the case);

(B) An Order lifting the automatic stay is obtained from the Bankruptcy Court; or

(C) The property is no longer property of the bankruptcy estate and the borrower has received a discharge.

(ii) The State Director will request the assistance of OGC in obtaining the Order(s) described in paragraph (c)(6)(i)(B) of this section.

(e) Referral of case. If the borrower fails to satisfy the account during the period of time specified in the acceleration notice, and no appeal is pending, the foreclosure process will continue:

(1) If the District Director is the approval official, he/she will forward the case file with all pertinent documents and information concerning the foreclosure action and appeal, if any, to the State Director for completion of the foreclosure.

(2) If the State Director is the approval official, or in cases referred by the District Director under paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the State Director will forward to OGC the case file and all documents needed by OGC to process the foreclosure. A State Supplement will be issued, with the advice and assistanced of OGC, to reflect the make-up of the foreclosure docket. Since foreclosure processing varies widely from State to State, each State Supplement will be explicit in outlining step-by-step procedures. At the time indicated by OGC in the foreclosure instructions, Form RD 1951-6, “Borrower Account Description Flag,” will be processed in accordance with the FMI. After referral to OGC, further actions will be in accordance with OGC's instructions for completion of the foreclosure. If prior approval of the Administrator is obtained, nonjudicial foreclosure for monetary default may be handled as outlined in a State Supplement approved by OGC without referral to OGC before foreclosure.

(f) Completion of foreclosure -

(1) Foreclosure advertisement for organization loans subject to title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

(i) The advertisement for foreclosure sale of property subject to title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will contain a statement substantially similar to the following: “The property described herein was purchased or improved with Federal financial assistance and is subject to the nondiscrimination provisions of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other similarly worded Federal statutes and regulations issued pursuant thereto that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, handicap, religion, age or sex in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance, for as long as the property continues to be used for the same or similar purposes for which the Federal assistance was extended or for so long as the purchaser owns it, whichever is later.” At least 30 days before the foreclosure sale, the County Supervisor will notify, in writing, the Indian tribe which has jurisdiction over the reservation, and in which the real property is owned by a Native American member of said tribe that a foreclosure sale will be conducted to resolve this account, and will provide:

(A) Projected sale date and location;

(B) Fair market value of property;

(C) Amount Rural Development will bid on the property; and

(D) Amount of Rural Development debt against the property.

(ii) The purchaser will be required to sign Form RD 400-4, “Assurance Agreement,” if the property will be used for its original or similar purposes.

(2) Restrictive-use provisions for MFH loans. For MFH loans, the advertisement will state the restrictive-use provisions which will be included in any deed used to transfer title.

(3) Expenses. Expenses which are incurred in connection with foreclosure, including legal fees, will be paid at the time recommended by OGC by processing the necessary documents as outlined in § 1955.5 (d) of this subpart. Costs will be charged as outlined in RD Instruction 2024-A (available in any Rural Development office).

(4) Notice of judgment. In states with judicial foreclosure, as soon as the foreclosure judgment is obtained, Form RD 1962-20, “Notice of Judgment,” will be processed in accordance with the FMI. This will establish a judgment account to accrue interest at the rate stated in the judgment order so that an accurate account balance can be obtained for calculating the Government's foreclosure bid.

(5) Gross investment. The gross investment is the sum of the following:

(i) The unpaid balance of one of the following, as applicable:

(A) In States with nonjudicial foreclosure, the borrower's Rural Development account balance reflecting secured loan(s) and advances; and where State law permits, unsecured debts; or

(B) In States with judicial foreclosure, the judgment account established as a result of the foreclosure judgment in favor of Rural Development.

(ii) All recoverable costs charged (or to be charged) to the borrower's account in connection with the foreclosure action and other costs which OGC advises must be paid from proceeds of the sale before paying the Rural Development secured debt, including but not limited to payment of real estate taxes and assessments, prior liens, legal fees including U.S. Attorney's and U.S. Marshal's, and management fees; and

(iii) If a SFH loan subject to recapture of interest credit is involved, the total amount of subsidy granted and principal reduction attributed to subsidy.

(6) Amount of Government's bid. Except for FP loans and as modified by paragraph (f)(7)(ii) of this section, the Government's bid will be the amount of Rural Development's gross investment or the market value of the security, whichever is less. For real property located within the confines of a federally recognized Indian reservation and which is owned by an Rural Development borrower who is a member of the tribe with jurisdiction over the reservation, the Government's bid will be the greater of the fair market value or the Rural Development debt against the property, unless Rural Development determines that, because of the presence of hazardous substances on the property, it is not in the best interest of the Government to bid such amount, in which case there may be a deduction from the bid for the costs for hazardous material assessment and/or mitigation. For FP loans, except as modified by paragraph (f)(7)(ii) of this section, the Government's bid will be the amount of Rural Development's gross investment or the amount determined by use of exhibit G-1 of this subpart, whichever is less. When the foreclosure sale is imminent, the State Director must request the servicing official to submit a current appraisal (in existing condition) as a basis for determining the Government's bid. Except for MFH properties, if an Rural Development appraiser is not available, the State Director may authorize an appraisal to be obtained by contract from a source outside Rural Development in accordance with RD Instruction 2024-A (available in any Rural Development office). For MFH properties, prior approval of the Assistant Administrator, Housing, is necessary to procure an outside appraisal.

(7) Bidding. The State Director will designate an individual to bid on behalf of the Government unless judicial proceedings or State nonjudicial foreclosure law provides for someone other than an Rural Development employee to enter the Government's bid. When the State Director determines attendance of an Rural Development employee at the sale might pose physical danger, a written bid may be submitted to the Marshal, Sheriff, or other party in charge of holding the sale. The Government's bid will be entered when no other party makes a bid or when the last bid will result in the property being sold for less than the bid authorized in paragraph (f)(6) of this section.

(i) When Rural Development is the senior lienholder, only one bid will be entered, and that will be for the amount authorized by the State Director.

(ii) When Rural Development is not the senior lienholder and OGC advises that the borrower has no redemption rights or if a deficiency judgment will be obtained, the State Director may authorize the person who will bid for the Government to make incremental bids in competition with other bidders. If incremental bidding is desired, the State Director's instructions to the bidder will state the initial bid, bidding increments, and the maximum bid.

(g) Reports on sale and finalizing foreclosure. Immediately after a foreclosure sale at which the State Director has designated a person to bid on behalf of the Government, the servicing official will furnish the State Director a report on the sale. The State Director will forward a copy of this report to OGC and, for MFH loans, to the National Office. Based on OGC's instructions, a State supplement will provide a detailed outline of actions necessary to complete the foreclosure.

[50 FR 23904, June 7, 1985, as amended at 80 FR 9895, Feb. 24, 2015]