When a Fully Paid Mortgage is Still on Your House Title

This is an all-too frequent occurrence. You took out a home equity loan years ago and paid it off. You are now selling your house but the mortgage company never removed the mortgage lien. The loans had been transferred by the mortgagee to another lender, or the records just don’t go back that far. What do you do?

By the way, it is often difficult to get paid off first mortgages discharged as well.

Here’s what you do. Once you’ve exhausted your pleas with the mortgagee or its assigns, you sue. It’s called a quiet title action, in which you seek to have the mortgage lien discharged by an order of the court. This sounds tedious and expensive, but Michigan law affords you some relief: the court can award you $1,000 statutory damages, actual damages, and double costs (in the court’s discretion). That at least removes a bit of the sting from having to pursue this remedy due to the mortgagee’s irresponsibility.