Nowadays, it is not uncommon for real estate brokers to communicate with their clients and negotiate deals through text messages. The use of text messages in that context has given rise to a new legal issue: whether an exchange of text messages between brokers can create an enforceable contract for the sale of land.
The First Circuit has affirmed a holding finding that no private right of action exists for homeowner-borrowers under the Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP"), bringing clarity on this issue to courts within the Circuit. In the underlying mater, Mackenzie v. Flagstar Bank, FSB, 2013 WL 139738 (D. Mass. Jan. 9, 2013) aff'd, 2013 WL 6840611 (1st Cir. Dec. 30, 2013), Magistrate Judge Bowler of the United States District Court had held a borrower is not an intended third-party beneficiary of the Servicer Participation Agreement ("SPA") among the banks and the federal government relating to HAMP. The District Court further held that absent an independent duty to modify the mortgage, neither the existence of a mortgagor-mortgagee relationship nor HAMP itself created any duty enforceable by the borrower.
Massachusetts' implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing does not apply to negotiations and contract preparations for a mortgage and accompanying promissory note, the First Circuit has held. In Latson v. Plaza Home Mortgage, Inc., the plaintiffs filed suit against their lender alleging, among other claims, violation of the implied covenant based on the lender's alleged failure to provide a proper commitment letter, good faith estimate, or other documents required by law, and gave them insufficient opportunity to review the terms in the loan documents. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed the case for failure to state a claim, and the borrowers appealed.