Section 117 – Foreclosure
346.Section 117 provides for what happens where the appointed person has exposed the land to sale but has failed to find a buyer or has succeeded in selling only part of the land at a price which is less than the amount secured by the land attachment and any other security or diligence ranking before or equally with the land attachment. This section provides that the court may, among other things, grant decree of foreclosure, which transfers the land to the creditor.
347.Subsections (2) to (4) provide for the procedure to be followed by the appointed person when applying for a decree of foreclosure. The application must be accompanied by a statement setting out the whole amount secured by the land attachment and secured by any other security or diligence ranking before or equally with the land attachment. Where part of the land has been sold, a report on that sale under section 113(1) must accompany the application. A copy of the application must be served by a judicial officer on the debtor, any occupier of the land specified in the warrant for sale, the creditor in any heritable security affecting the land and any other person with a land attachment or other diligence over the land. The application, statement and report can be sent electronically (see subsection (9)).
348.Subsection (5) provides that the sheriff, after allowing any person served with a copy of the application an opportunity to make representations, may grant the decree of foreclosure straightaway, may suspend the application for no more than 3 months to allow the debtor to pay the sum recoverable by the land attachment or may, instead, appoint a valuer to fix a reserve price at which the land must be auctioned or advertised for sale and, if unsold, auctioned.
349.Subsection (6) provides the debtor may bid and purchase at any auction or purchase at the price advertised for sale. Subsection (7) provides that the sheriff may, where the appointed person produces an auctioneer’s certificate that the land remains unsold at the reserve price or that the land did not achieve a sale at the advertised price, grant decree of foreclosure.
350.Subsection (8) provides a decree of foreclosure must be in the form prescribed by rules of court, provide a description of the land and contain a declaration of the price the creditor is deemed to have paid for the land (which is relevant for the purposes of section 118(2)).
Section 118 – Registration of decree of foreclosure
351.Section 118 provides for the effects of registration of the decree of foreclosure in the appropriate property register. Subsection (1) provides that the debtor’s right to bring the land attachment to an end by paying the debt is removed and the land will vest in the creditor. At the same time, the land will no longer be subject to the land attachment, securities or any diligence ranking after the land attachment and the creditor will have the right to redeem any security or diligence ranking prior to or equally with, the land attachment. Effectively, the creditor will now own the land (or, in the case of a long lease, will become the tenant in place of the debtor).
352.Subsection (2) provides that, despite the decree of foreclosure, the debtor will remain liable for any balance due to the creditor which is not extinguished by the price at which the creditor is (under section 117(8)(c)) deemed to have acquired the land and for any sums due to any creditor under a postponed security. Subsections (3) and (4) provide that the creditor’s title will not be challengeable on the ground of any irregularity in the diligence or foreclosure proceedings although the debtor will retain a right to claim damages for wrongful diligence.