Legal Definition and Related Resources of Foreclosure

Meaning of Foreclosure

A remedy available to a mortgagee when the mortgagor commits a default under the terms of the mortgage . See Anderson v Pilgram, 30 S.C. 499. 9 S.E. 587. The term means to debar the equity of redemption . When a mortgage falls into default a mortgagee may bring an action claiming that the mortgage may be enforced by foreclosure; that is, the equity of redemption be debarred or shut out so that he, the mortgagee, becomes entitled to the beneficial estate as well in the mortgage security . The mortgagor is usually given a certain length of time to pay off the mortgage debt and all costs legitimately incurred by the mortgagee, but if the mortgagor fails to pay such debt and costs within the stipulated time, then the mortgagee is entitled to a final order of foreclosure. A mortgage is a right in rem conferred by a debtor upon a creditor as security for a right in personam, which latter right survives the foreclosure. However, should the mortgagee choose to exercise the latter right and enforce payment of the debt, he should reconvey the mortgage security back to the mortgagor. If the mortgagee is not in a position to reconvey, then his right to recover on the covenant is also lost. See Equity of redemption.

Foreclosure Alternative Definition

To shut out; to bar. Used of the process of destroying an equity of redemption. 1 Washb. Real Prop. 589; Daniell, Ch. Pr. 1204; Coote, Mortg. 511; 9 Cow. (N. Y.) 382. A proceeding in chancery by which the mortgagor’s right of redemption of the mortgaged premises is barred or closed forever. In the more comprehensive sense which modern usage requires, any proceeding by which mortgaged property is applied to the payment of the mortgage debt, and the equity of the mortgagor therein barred. As so defined, foreclosure is divided into:
(1) Strict foreclosure, being foreclosure by a proceeding in chancery, by which the equity of redemption is barred within a certain time, and the title of the mortgagee becomes absolute.
(2) By entry, by the act of the mortgagee taking possession either by his own peaceable act, or under writ of entry.
(3) By sale, being by an action for the judicial sale of the mortgaged property, and the application of the proceeds to the payment of the mortgage debt. Sometimes called “foreclosure by action.”
(4) By advertisement, being a sale under a power of sale in the mortgage, notice thereof being given by advertisement. Sometimes called “foreclosure under power of sale.” The two first-named varieties are practically unused in the United States, though they exist in a few states.

Synonyms of Foreclosure


  • confiscation
  • deprivation
  • disentitlement
  • dislodgment
  • dispossession
  • distraint
  • distress
  • divestment
  • enforcement of mortgage
  • eviction
  • expropriation
  • expulsion
  • forfeiture
  • legal enforcement of a lien
  • privation
  • process of extinguishment of rights
  • removal
  • suit to extinguish the equity of redemption Associated Concepts: ejectment
  • foreclosure decree
  • foreclosure of a lien
  • foreclosure of a mortgage
  • foreclosure of collateral
  • foreclosure proceedings
  • foreclosure sale
  • redemption by purchaser

Related Entries of Foreclosure in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Foreclosure in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Foreclosure in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Foreclosure in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Foreclosure in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Equitable Mortgage, Equity Of Redemption, Sheriff Sale.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Foreclosure in the Dictionary Foreclosure in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Foreclosure
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Related topics Foreclosure in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Foreclosure is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)

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Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Foreclosure (more about URIs)


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Autism; Castration complex; Parade of the signifier; Disavowal; Infantile neurosis; Law of the father; Negation; Neurosis; Repudiation; Splitting; Topology.
  • Further Reading

    Freud, Sigmund. (1894a) Obsessions and phobias: Their psychical mechanism and their aetiology. SE, 3, 69-82.

    . (1911c) Psycho-analytic notes on an autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (dementia paranoides). SE, 12, 1-82.

    Lacan, Jacques. (2004). On a question prior to any possible treatment of psychosis.Écrits: A Selection (Bruce Fink, Trans.). New York: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1955-56)

    English Legal System: Foreclosure

    In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Foreclosure :

    A remedy available to a mortgagee when the mortgagor has failed to pay off a *mortgage by the contractual date for redemptio The mortgagee is entitled to bring an action in the High Court, seeking an order fixing a date to pay off the debt; if the mortgagor does not pay by that date he will be foreclosed, i.e. he will lose the mortgaged property. If, after this order (a foreclosure order nisi) is made, the mortgagor does not pay on the date and at the place (usually a room in the Royal Courts of Justice) named, the foreclosure is made absolute and the property thereafter belongs to the mortgagee. However, the court has discretion to allow the mortgagor to reopen the foreclosure and thereby regain his property. The remedy is unpopular: the mortgagee’s *power of sale may be more useful; moreover, if the mortgaged property is worth less than the loan, the mortgagee cannot sue for the balance, a point that has recently re-acquired significance.

    See also repossessio

    Foreclosure Definition (in the Accounting Vocabulary)

    The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants offers the following definition of Foreclosure in a way that is easy for anybody to understand: Seizure of COLLATERAL by a CREDITOR when DEFAULT under a loan agreement occurs.

    Concept of Foreclosure in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Foreclosure: A proceeding in or out of court, to extinguish all rights, title, and interest, of the owner(s) of property in order to sell the property to satisfy a lien against it.

    Concept of Foreclosure in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Foreclosure: A proceeding in or out of court, to extinguish all rights, title, and interest, of the owner(s) of property in order to sell the property to satisfy a lien against it.




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