California Mortgage Per Diem Laws

California Mortgage Per Diem Laws
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If you sign your loan documents on Monday, based on a closing set for Tuesday but a problem with the sale delays the sale for a week, who pays the interest on your mortgage until the sale goes through? That question has been answered by the California legislature, which approved a law preventing lenders from charging mortgage interest for more than one day prior to disbursement of funds from escrow.

Escrow Timing

No one plans problems with a property sale. Everyone involved does their best to identify the closing date far in advance of the actual closing. The timing is important because, among other things, the buyer’s lender needs to know when to send the mortgage funds into escrow. It aims for as close to the closing date as possible. If it sends the money in too late, the sale will be delayed. If it sends the money in too early, it will just be sitting in an escrow account unused.

Is This an Issue?

Banks want to charge borrowers from the day the mortgage funds leave the vault. That might be fair if the borrower had complete control over the escrow process. But, of course, he doesn’t. Delays can appear from every front--the seller, the real estate agents, the escrow company, the local building department. A number of states believed the issue important enough to pass legislation to limit when banks could start charging interest.

California’s Law

Different states identified thresholds and points at which banks could start charging interest. In some states it is at or a day or two before the deed is recorded. In California, it is no more than one day before the funds are dispersed from the escrow account. When the funds leave the escrow account, they go directly to the seller and/or seller’s lienholders.

California Enforcement

Despite what the law requires, lenders don’t always abide by the rules. The California Department of Corporations enforces the per diem mortgage interest law. It has had to take more than one lender to court to enforce the law.