A defendant/mortgagor who prevails in the successful defense of a mortgage foreclosure proceeding may be entitled to recover his reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses under Real Property Law Section 282, which provides as follows:
Section 282. Mortgagor’s right to recover attorneys’ fees in actions or proceedings arising out of foreclosures of residential property
- Whenever a covenant contained in a mortgage on residential real property shall provide that in any action or proceeding to foreclose the mortgage that the mortgagee may recover attorneys’ fees and/or expenses incurred as the result of the failure of the mortgagor to perform any covenant or agreement contained in such mortgage, or that amounts paid by the mortgagee therefor shall be paid by the mortgagor as additional payment, there shall be implied in such mortgage a covenant by the mortgagee to pay to the mortgagor the reasonable attorneys’ fees and/or expenses incurred by the mortgagor as the result of the failure of the mortgagee to perform any covenant or agreement on its part to be performed under the mortgage or in the successful defense of any action or proceeding commenced by the mortgagee against the mortgagor arising out of the contract, and an agreement that such fees and expenses may be recovered as provided by law in an action commenced against the mortgagee or by way of counterclaim in any action or proceeding commenced by the mortgagee against the mortgagor. Any waiver of this section shall be void as against public policy.
- For the purposes of this section, “residential real property” means real property improved by a one- to four-family residence, a condominium that is occupied by the mortgagor or a cooperative unit that is occupied by the mortgagor.
In an appropriate case, where the mortgage provides for the recovery of the mortgagee’s attorney’s fees and expenses, the above statute applies, and the subject real property constitutes residential real property (one family) that is the mortgagors’ home, the court may award the defendant legal fees and costs.