The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the bank in this foreclosure action had not revoked the acceleration of the mortgage debt and the action was therefore time-barred:
… [I]t is undisputed that the mortgage debt was accelerated on February 20, 2008, by the commencement of the 2008 foreclosure action … . Thus, absent an affirmative act of revocation during the ensuing six-year period, the statute of limitations to commence a new action to foreclose the mortgage debt expired on February 20, 2014 (see CPLR 213). Contrary to the finding of the Supreme Court, the January 2013 proposed loan modification did not constitute an affirmative act of revocation sufficient to de-accelerate the mortgage debt. Not only did the January 2013 proposed loan modification fail to clearly and unequivocally indicate that the acceleration was being revoked and the loan was returned to installment status, but it was contingent on the Gardners’ [plaintiffs’] acceptance of the proposed loan modification as well as their successful completion of a trial period, neither of which occurred … . Moreover, contrary to the defendant’s contention, it failed to establish that the plaintiffs are barred from obtaining a judgment in their favor under the doctrine of unclean hands … . Gardner v Wells Fargo Bank N.A.., 2023 NY Slip Op 04304, Second Dept 8-16-23
Practice Point: Commencing a foreclosure action accelerates the debt and starts the statute of limitations. The acceleration can be explicitly revoked to stop the running of the statute. But the bank’s offering a loan modification is not an explicit revocation.