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EQUITABLE MORTGAGE HAS PART PERFORMANCE

Dictum

“An equitable mortgage is an agreement that has arisen out of the deposit of the mortgagor’s title deeds with the mortgagee for loan as security. The essence of an equitable mortgage by deposit of title deeds is an agreement, between parties concerned, followed by an act of part performance. Where a party pursuant to an oral agreement deposits his title deeds with a bank as here, the act of depositing the title deeds is regarded as part performance of an agreement, which removes the transaction from the provisions of the Statute of Frauds 1677.” as per Barclays Bank of Nigeria Ltd. v. Alhaji Adamu B. Ashiru and Anor. (1978) 6-7 S.C. (Reprint) 70; (1978) 6-7 S.C. 70

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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DATE FOR PAYMENT IN A MORTGAGE AGREEMENT

Fixing a date for repayment in a mortgage transaction does not generally indicate the parties intention that the actual payment is to be made on the named date, but only that the mortgagee may call for payment on or after that date, if so minded, but not before. See Ogioro v. Igbinovia (supra), and B.O.N Ltd. v.Akintoye (supra), where it was also held that if the mortgage debt is not paid at any time fixed for payment, the mortgagee is entitled to exercise his power of sale, the debt having been deemed to have become due and payable on that day.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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A MORTGAGEE IS NOT A TRUSTEE OF A POWER OF SALE FOR THE MORTGAGOR

The purchaser ought to have been made a party to this suit in view of the reliefs of the plaintiff to declare the sale null and void and consequently to set it aside. Any order made in favour of the plaintiff will adversely affect the purchaser. It is also pertinent that where there is prayer to set aside an auction sale, the court must remember that it is settled law that a mortgagee is not a trustee of a power of sale for the mortgagor except for the balance of the purchase money. It is a power given to him for his own benefit, enabling him to protect the mortgage debt. A purchaser who bought a property sold by a legal mortgage in exercise of his power of sale under a mortgage upon a default and repayment of a loan by the mortgagor is not a trespasser. All State Trust Bank v. Nsofor (2004) All FWLR Pt. 201, Pg. 7719 Union Bank of Nigeria v. Ozigi (1991) 2 NWLR Pt. 176, Pg. 677.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Agboola v UBA (2011) – SC.86/2003

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MORTGAGE DEBT HAS TO BE OUTSTANDING FOR MORTGAGEE TO TAKE POSSESSION

A deed of legal mortgage is said to have been created once an agreement exists between the parties, and the instrument signed by the parties which is described as a legal mortgage, provided it is under a seal. Therefore, the legal effect of a deed of legal mortgage is that it allows the mortgagee exercise its possessory rights over the mortgage property. It is to be noted however, that caveat in the position of a mortgagee remains that the mortgage debt has to be outstanding and unliquidated in order for the right of a mortgagee to immediate possession of the mortgaged property to become activated. See AFRIBANK V. ALADE (2000) LPELR – 10722 (CA) and S.W.V. (NIG) LTD V. AMCON (2020) 3 NWLR (prt 1710) 179.

— M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. FBN v Benlion (2021) – CA/C/31/2016

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MORTGAGEE WILL ENTER POSSESSION ONCE MORTGAGOR’s PAYMENT OF INSTALLMENT IS IN ARREARS

In Robertson v. Cilia, (1956) 1 W.L.R. 1502, there a mortgagee applied by summons to the court for an order for pos-session of the mortgaged property on the ground that payment of instalments was in arrear. The mortgagor applied for the case to stand over generally. After certain interlocutory proceedings, the summons was adjourned into court in order that it might be determined to what extent the court had power to stand over generally a summon of that nature. At the time of the hearing, all arrears of instalments due under the mortgage had been paid up, but the right to repay by instalments had lapsed; and it was admitted that owing to general credit restrictions the mortgagor would not be in a position to redeem within any foreseen time. It was held that, an order for possession should be made as the mortgagee was entitled to possession, and in those circumstance, there was no power to stand the matter over generally without the consent of the mortgagee nor would it be a reasonable exercise of power to stand it over for a period when there was no prospect that the mortgagee would be in a position to make an acceptable offer. (See also Hinkley and South Leicester Permanent Benefit Building Society v. Freeman, (1941) Ch.32).

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RIGHT TO REDEMPTION IN MORTGAGE CANNOT BE BARRED

It is a settled rule of equity that any agreement which directly bars the mortgagor’s right to redemption is ineffectual. – Iguh JSC. Ejikeme v. Okonkwo (1994)

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ATTRIBUTES OF A LEGAL MORTGAGE

The main attributes of a legal mortgage are:- (a) a covenant to pay the principal debt and interest on a given date; (b) a covenant to pay interest in the event of default in payment of the principal on the day named; (c) the demise or sub-demise of, or the charge by way of legal mortgage on the mortgaged property; (d) the proviso for cesser; and (e) Such variations of the statutory provisions with regard to mortgages, as the arrangement between the parties requires.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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