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Subordination Agreement


A subordination agreement is a legal document that prioritizes one debt over another, usually in terms of secured loans such as mortgages. It allows a lender to move into a higher-priority position for the recovery of the debt owed. This agreement is often used when a borrower wants to refinance the first mortgage and the new lender insists on having the first claim on any reimbursement.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Subordination Agreement” is: suh-bawr-dn-ey-shuhn uh-gree-muhnt.

Key Takeaways

Sure, here are three main takeaways about Subordination Agreement.“`html

  1. Subordination Agreement is a legal document that sets the order of priorities in case of a default. It helps resolve claims, primarily in the context of mortgages or loans. Essentially, it is a contract where a creditor is placed in lower priority for the collection of its debt from its debtor, in favor of a new creditor.
  2. The main reason to execute a Subordination Agreement is to encourage future lenders to make loans that will be used to improve certain property. Borrowers might agree to this arrangement to attract potential lenders who need assurance that they will be the first party paid off in the event of a default.
  3. The Subordination Agreement is extremely important, as without it, by default, any earlier debt would be given a higher priority and not the latest one. In other words, if a Subordination Agreement wasn’t in place, the original mortgage holder would be in the first position to collect its debts following the default.



A subordination agreement is a critical document in the world of business and finance. Its significance lies in determining the priority of debts in cases of borrower default or bankruptcy. When multiple lenders have extended credit to the same debtor, the subordination agreement ensures a particular lender’s debt will be paid back before others. This can especially be beneficial for second mortgage lenders in the real estate market or for unsecured or junior debt holders. Without a subordination agreement, repayment claims follow the general rule that older debts are paid before newer ones. Hence, this agreement is essential to provide more certainty to lenders about getting their money back and assess risks accurately.


The overarching purpose of a Subordination Agreement in finance or business is to dictate the order in which debts will be paid back in the event of a borrower defaulting. This agreement ensures that a particular lender gets first priority in terms of repayment, while other lenders or debtors line up behind in terms of priority. This is typically done to safeguard the interests of senior debtors who lend large funds and want to ensure that they have a stronger claim over the assets or income of the borrower.This tool is mainly used in the world of real estate and corporate finance. For example, in a mortgage scenario, if a homeowner needs a second mortgage, the second lender would have to agree to be second in line for repayment, allowing the original mortgage lender to be repaid first in case of default. In a corporate setting, subordination agreements are usually between bondholders and lenders, or between different classes of bondholders. Here, it assists in protecting first-tier bondholders or lenders, ensuring they’re repaid before those further down the priority list. Thus, subordination agreements primarily act as an arrangement to prioritize and streamline the repayment process.


1. Mortgage Loans: This is the most common example of a subordination agreement. When a homeowner decides to refinance their first mortgage to get a better interest rate, the lender of a second mortgage may agree to a subordination agreement. In this case, the refinanced loan becomes the first debt to be paid off in case of a default, while the second mortgage gets paid afterwards.2. Commercial Real Estate: In commercial real estate, an initial lender might consent to subsequent borrowing against the property with a subordination agreement. This can be seen in a scenario where a business takes out a second mortgage on a commercial property. The original lender will require a subordination agreement to ensure their loan is repaid before the second one.3. Business Funding: A small business may use a subordination agreement when seeking additional financing. The original lender might agree to be subordinate to a new lender, so that the additional financing can be secured against the assets of the business. The new loan takes priority and will be repaid first in case the business cannot meet its debts.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Subordination Agreement?

A subordination agreement is a legal document that establishes one debt as ranking behind another in priority for collecting repayment from a debtor. This is commonly used in mortgage agreements.

Why is a Subordination Agreement important?

A subordination agreement is crucial in helping to specify the order in which debts will be repaid in case of default by the debtor. This reduces risk for senior lenders by making sure they are the first to be paid in the event of a borrower’s bankruptcy or liquidation.

Who uses Subordination Agreements?

Subordination agreements are typically used among creditors and lenders. They are also used by mortgage lenders and businesses that engage in borrowing or lending money.

How does a Subordination Agreement affect a second mortgage?

When a second mortgage is taken out, the lender will often require a subordination agreement to ensure that the original mortgage takes precedence in repayment. If not, the second mortgage would move into first place after the initial loan is paid off.

Can a Subordination Agreement be modified?

Yes, a subordination agreement like any legal contract can be modified. This typically occurs when a borrower aims to refinance the primary loan.

What happens if a Subordination Agreement is not in place?

Without a subordination agreement, lenders rank their loans by the order in which they were signed. This means that a mortgage signed later, even though it might be a smaller amount, could be repaid first, leaving the initial mortgage lender with more risk.

How is a Subordination Agreement executed?

The subordination agreement must be executed, or signed by all parties. Once the parties agree on the terms and sign the agreement, it becomes a legally binding document.

What is the function of a Subordination Clause in the Subordination Agreement?

The subordination clause within the subordination agreement refers to the section of the agreement that outlines exactly how debt repayment will be prioritized. It specifically describes which debts have precedence over others.

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