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MORTGAGE DEBT SUPERSEDES EQUITABLE MORTGAGE

Dictum

I have showed above that the only interest the 1st respondent in equity can deal with is the equity of redemption not the legal estate in the said property. The appellant from the very beginning of the deal with the 1st respondent over the said property has been aware i.e. acquainted with due notice of the bank loan and the mortgage of the said property to the 2nd respondent and the lodgement of the title deeds of the said property with the 2nd respondent to secure the bank loan. The appellant has had due notice that all he was negotiating was as regards the 1st respondent’s interests in the equity of redemption. And so, any purported attempt to transfer the legal estate by the mortgagor to the appellant as the 2nd relief in the claim is contending without getting rid of the mortgage debt and so, supersede the 2nd respondent’s equitable mortgage cannot be allowed in equity.

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

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EQUITABLE MORTGAGE TO CREATE A LEGAL MORTGAGE CAN SUE IN SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

The equitable mortgage by agreement to create a legal mortgage, therefore, entitles the equitable mortgagee to something more than a mere right to payment out of the property or premises mortgaged; under the general principles, his remedies correspond as nearly as possible with those of the legal mortgagee. Because equity regards that as done which ought to be done the equitable mortgagee, by agreement to create a legal mortgage, can enforce the execution of a legal mortgage by suing in equity for specific performance; if successful he obtains a legal term of years and can then pursue all the statutory remedies open to a legal mortgagee.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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IN LEGAL MORTGAGE PROPERTY IS TRANSFERRED TO THE MORTGAGEE SUBJECT TO REDEMPTION

In a legal mortgage, title to the property is therefore transferred to the mortgagee subject to the proviso that the mortgage property would be reconveyed by the mortgagee to the mortgagor upon the performance of the conditions stipulated in the mortgage deed and upon payment of the debt at the time stipulated therein. In other words, the mortgagor is liable to repay the loan as stipulated; otherwise the mortgaged property is foreclosed. See BANK OF NORTH V. BELLO (2000) 7 NWLR (prt 664) 244, ADETONA V. ZENITH INTERNATIONAL BANK PLC (2011) 18 NWLR (prt 1278) 627 and ATIBA IYALAMU SAVINGS & LOANS LTD V. SUBERU (2018) 13 NWLR (prt 1637) 387 at 414.

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

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OBJECTION TO MANNER OF SALE WILL NOT STOP A MORTGAGOR FROM SELLING

It is a well established principle of law that a mortgagee will not be restrained on the exercise of his power of sale merely because the mortgagor objects to the manner in which the sale is being arranged or because the mortgagor has commenced a redemption action in court. (See Adams v. Scott (1859) 7 WR 213). But the mortgagee will be restrained if the mortgagor pays the amount claimed by the mortgagee into court. (See Hickson v. Darlow (1883) 23 Ch.D. 690).

— Udoma, JSC. Nig. Housing Dev. Society v. Mumuni (1997) – SC 440/1975

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FORECLOSURE PROCEEDING IS FOR EQUITABLE MORTGAGE – MORTGAGOR HOLDS LEGAL ESTATE IN TRUST

In considering the scope of the rights of an equitable mortgagee (not by way of charge) it should be borne in mind that the general rule is that foreclosure (and not sale) is the proper remedy of an equitable mortgagee (See James vs James (1873) L.R. 16 E. 153 citing with approval Pryce vs Bury at 154); and when an equitable mortgagee by deposit of title deeds and agreement to give a legal mortgage if called upon to do so takes foreclosure proceedings to enforce his security, the court usually decrees that the deposit operates as a mortgage and that in default of payments due under the mortgage the mortgagor is trustee of the legal estate for the mortgagee and that he must convey that estate to him.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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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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DEPOSIT OF TITLE DEED CREATES EQUITABLE MORTGAGE

It is settled that the deposit of title deeds with a bank as security for a loan, creates an equitable mortgage as against legal mortgage which is created by deed transferring the legal estate to the mortgagee. – Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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