1. Common Uses of the Term
2. Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure
3. Benefits of Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure

The "In lieu of” legal definition is “instead of” or “in the place of.” It is used in legal documents often in the United States.

Common Uses of the Term

In the UK, a common use of the term “in lieu of” regards a payment that an employer is making to one of their employees when they are leaving without giving notice. When the employer terminates the relationship immediately instead of giving them a period of notice, they often give them a payment “in lieu of notice.” This often happens when the employee's contract stipulates that notice must be given.

The term “in lieu of” is used by UK employers another way: a “day in lieu.” This refers to giving an employee an extra vacation day instead of paying them for overtime hours.

Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure

A common use of this term in the U.S. is a legal agreement called “deed in lieu of foreclosure.” This is used when a borrower's real estate is at risk of foreclosure; the borrower and mortgage holder sign a contract to transfer the real estate instead of allowing a foreclosure to go forward. By doing this, the borrower prevents their credit rating from being damaged as much as it would have been from a foreclosure.

When this takes place, the borrower is sometimes able to get better terms than they would in a foreclosure, such as having the mortgage holder cancel any debts not covered by the real estate's value. Mortgage holders are motivated to do this because they save money on legal fees, and these transfers are usually settled more quickly than foreclosure.

However, many financial institutions refuse to issue deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Many lenders prefer receiving payments instead of dealing with the sale of the real estate. Also, many borrowers have additional mortgages on the property, home equity loans, or liens. Accepting a deed in lieu of foreclosure means that the lender must cover any other outstanding debts.

Instead of accepting a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or going forward with a foreclosure, the lender might accept a short sale. This means that the house will be sold for a value below the amount that the borrower owes. They may accept the proceeds and forgive the rest of the debt. The difference between a short sale and a deed in lieu of foreclosure is that in a short sale, the borrower keeps the property until it is sold instead of transferring it to the lender. However, the borrower is responsible for selling the house instead of the lender.

Benefits of Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure

There are many reasons that borrowers are motivated to offer their lenders a deed in lieu of foreclosure if they are unable to afford their mortgage payments and have fallen behind:

  • A borrower may feel trapped because they can't pay the mortgage, can't get a modification or refinance of their mortgage, and have been unsuccessful at selling the home.
  • Although missed mortgage payments have already adversely affected the borrower's credit report, a foreclosure will damage it much worse. A deed in lieu can also damage the borrower's credit score, but when a lender reviews the entire credit report, they might look more favorably on a deed in lieu of foreclosure than an actual foreclosure.
  • Many borrowers find themselves in the position of owing more money on their property through first and second mortgages or home equity loans than the home is worth. In a foreclosure and short sale, even if the property sells for less than the amount due on the borrower's outstanding debts, the lender will still expect the borrower to pay the amount that the sale proceeds does not cover. In a deed in lieu of foreclosure, however, some lenders will forgive the deficiency in funds, or at least reduce the amount owed.
  • A deed in lieu of foreclosure can be executed more quickly than other options. This means the borrower will no longer need to make monthly mortgage payments and can move to a residence they can afford.
  • Foreclosure proceedings become a matter of public record. A deed in lieu of foreclosure allows the borrower to protect their privacy.
  • Lenders often appreciate the speed and simplicity of executing a deed in lieu of foreclosure and are therefore sometimes amenable to this solution.

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