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New Missouri law bans local efforts to mandate foreclosure mediation

Cheryl Kelly September 5, 2013

As a result of recent legislation, local Missouri governments are precluded from establishing procedures for servicing or enforcing mortgage loans that contradict state or federal laws governing these matters.

Newly enacted RSMo § 443.454, which went into effect on August 28, 2013, provides that:

The enforcement and servicing of real estate loans secured by mortgage or deed of trust or other security instrument shall be pursuant only to state and federal law and no local law or ordinance may add to, change, delay enforcement, or interfere with, any loan agreement, security instrument, mortgage or deed of trust. No local law or ordinance may add, change, or delay any rights or obligations or impose fees or taxes of any kind or require payment of fees to any government contractor related to any real estate loan agreement, mortgage or deed of trust, other security instrument, or affect the enforcement and servicing thereof.

The adoption of this new statute has effectively ended litigation concerning the validity of foreclosure mediation ordinances enacted by the City and County of St. Louis. The City and County were responding to challenges by the lender community in various forums to the validity of ordinances mandating mediation before the commencement of residential real property foreclosures. Lenders contended the mediation process added unnecessary costs and delays to inevitable foreclosures. With the enactment of Section 443.454, the City and County have now abandoned efforts to uphold their foreclosure mediation ordinances.

Cheryl Kelly is a partner in Thompson Coburn’s Financial Restructuring and Real Estate Practice Areas. You can reach Cheryl at (314) 552-6167 or ckelly@thompsoncoburn.com.