Bona Fide Purchaser Maryland
In Wash. Mut. Bank v. Homan, 186 Md. App. 372, 394-97, 974 A.2d 376 (2009), Judge Arrie W. Davis explained the concept of a bona fide purchaser, stating:
It is a well-settled principle that one who purchases real property without notice of prior equities is protected as a bona fide purchaser for value. The Court of Appeals explained that the essential elements of any definition of an innocent purchaser are: (a) That he or she must have given value for the property; (b) that he or she must have dealt in good faith with respect to the purchase; and (c) without notice or knowledge of any infirmity in the title of his or her vendor.
. . . under Maryland law, legal title to land does not pass until a deed is properly executed and recorded, and . . . until this is done a vendee's equity in property is subject to destruction by a conveyance of the legal title to a bona fide purchaser without notice. Stated alternatively, the general rule is that a purchaser of real estate takes subject to outstanding equitable interests in the property, which are enforceable against him or her to the same extent that they are enforceable against the vendor, where the purchaser is not entitled to protection as a bona fide purchaser, and one who purchases the equitable title to real estate is not protected as a bona fide purchaser where he or she receives notice of a prior equity before he or she acquires the legal title; or where he or she receives notice before he or she has paid all or substantially all of the purchase price.
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Maryland cases have treated lenders who secure their interests with a mortgage or deed of trust as entitled to the protections available to bona fide purchasers for value, where such lenders were without notice of the mortgagor's fraudulent conduct. . . . The Court of Appeals observed:
It is well settled that in circumstances where a deed is set aside for fraud, a mortgagee not a party to the fraud is entitled to the protection afforded a bona fide purchaser by a court of equity, to the extent of his or her interest. But as was said . . . a Court of Equity will deal with the conveyance sought to be vacated on special terms, and will allow the instrument to stand as security for the money actually paid by the grantee.
Other jurisdictions have also treated mortgagees as entitled to the protections of bona fide purchasers for value, under appropriate circumstances. For example, in First Alabama Bank v. Brooker, 418 So. 2d 851, 855 (Ala. 1982), the Supreme Court of Alabama set forth the following criteria for affording a bank such protections:
In order for the Bank to avail itself of the status of a bona fide purchaser or mortgagee for value, our authorities hold certain facts must be established clearly, distinctly, and without equivocation: (1) that it is the purchaser of the legal as distinguished from the equitable title; (2) that it purchased it in good faith; (3) that it parted with value as consideration therefor by paying money, or some other thing of value, assuming liability or incurring injury; (4) and that it had no notice, and knew no fact sufficient to put it on inquiry as to another party's equity, either at the time of the purchase, or at or before, the time it paid the purchase money or otherwise parted with such value.