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How Equitable Mortgage is created?

Dictum

Now, equitable mortgages are created inter alia, (1) by mere deposit of title deeds with a clear intention that the deed should be taken or retained as security for the loan; (2) by an agreement to create a legal mortgage and (3) by mere equitable Charge of the mortgagor’s property. In passing we think that it should be pointed out that the last of the three classes of equitable mortgage i.e. that which is created merely by a charge on the property intended as security for the loan differs considerably from the first two in respect of the remedies it confers; and the property so charged is appropriated only to the discharge of a debt or some other burden in respect of which the property stands charged.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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MORTGAGEE TO GIVE NOTICE BEFORE RESALE

In line with the provisions of section 125(1) of the Property and conveyancing Law, a mortgagee shall not exercise his power of sale unless and until a notice requiring payment of the mortgage money has been served on the mortgagor or one of several mortgagors and default has been made in payment of the mortgaged money or of part thereof for three months after such service. See B.O.N. Ltd. v. Aliyu (1999) 7 NWLR (Pt. 612) 622, where this court held that “the requirement of the law is that notice of intention to sell a mortgage property must be sent to the mortgagor as the words “shall not” are mandatory and not advisory. Consequently, any sale of any mortgage without the requisite notice is invalid ab initio and cannot convey any title to a subsequent purchaser”.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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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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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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CONTINUING MORTGAGE NEEDS NO REGISTRATION

B.O.N Ltd. v. Akintoye (1999) 12 NWLR (Pt. 631) 392: “Where an original mortgage is a continuing security for raising a second mortgage, what is needed is to upstamp it. There is no need to obtain a fresh consent of the Governor for the second mortgage. In the instant case, where the wordings of the mortgage deeds relating to the security are clear and unambiguous and where the original deed was a continuing security, there was no need to obtain a fresh consent of the Governor for the second mortgage”.

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MORTGAGEE OR RECEIVER EXERCISING A POWER OF SALE ONLY HAS A DUTY TO ACT BONA FIDE

There is an abundance of authorities describing the obligations of a mortgagee and by extension, a receiver, exercising a power of sale. Thus, whether the mortgagee or receiver owes a duty of care in the conduct of the sale, the law seems sufficiently well settled that the mortgagee or receiver engaged in selling the mortgaged property has a duty to act bona fide. In EKA – ETEH V. NIGERIA HOUSING DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY LTD & ANOR (1973) NSCC 373, 380, at 381, the Supreme Court held that – “The only obligation incumbent on a mortgagee selling under and in pursuance of a power of sale in the mortgage deed is that he should act in good faith.”

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

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DEFINITION OF MORTGAGE

A mortgage is defined as creation of an interest in a property defeasible, that is, annullable upon performing the condition of paying a given sum of money with interest at a certain time. Thus, the legal consequence of the above is that the owner of the mortgaged property becomes divested of the right to dispose of it until he has secured a release of the property from the mortgagee.

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

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