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Length of Statutory Foreclosure Redemption Period Not Extended Due to Delay in Recording of Deed, Michigan Appellate Court Rules


By Deborah S. Lapin

Regardless of whether or not a sheriff’s deed is recorded within 20 days after a foreclosure sale as required by Michigan law, the statutory redemption period still ends one year from the date of sale. That was the conclusion reached in a recent published Michigan Court of Appeals decision. The ruling in Kessler v. Longview Agricultural Asset Management, LLC clarifies that a delay in recording the deed won’t extend the redemption period or provide an avenue for a borrower to challenge the foreclosure.

In Kessler, the mortgage on the plaintiff’s farm was foreclosed by advertisement by the lender and sold at a sheriff’s sale on August 21, 2020. The purchaser did not file the sheriff’s deed with the local register of deeds until September 24, 2020, more than 20 days after the sale. MCL 600.3232 provides, in relevant part, that such a deed “shall, as soon as practicable, and within 20 days after such sale, be deposited with the register of deeds of the county in which the land therein described is situated.”

The Kesslers argued that since the purchaser failed to record the sheriff’s deed within 20 days of August 21, 2020, as required by the forgoing statute, they had until September 14, 2021 – one year after the deed was recorded – to redeem the farm. They made this assertion notwithstanding the clear language of MCL 600.3240(11), which expressly addresses redemption periods and provides that “for a mortgage of property that is used for agricultural purposes, the redemption period is 1 year from the date of the sale.”

The trial court rejected the Kesslers’ argument and granted summary disposition in favor of the defendant. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling. It held that the statute requiring recording of the deed within 20 days after the sale merely “delineates the procedural obligations on the sheriff and the clerk” at the register  of deeds (ROD) and that “there are no penalties for noncompliance contained within the statute.” The Court concluded that the statute “does not hold that the recording date by the ROD commences the period.”

Rather, the Court continued, MCL 600.3240 is the only statute that “delineates the commencement for the period and states that it runs from “the date of the sale.'” Accordingly, the date the deed was actually recorded was irrelevant to the calculation of the redemption period and did not extend the deadline.

If you have any questions about this decision and its impact, please contact Deborah Lapin at Maddin Hauser.