(1) Except upon full payment of the indebtedness, or except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section or in paragraphs (e) and (f) of § 36.4822, the holder shall not release a lien or other right in or to real property held as security for a guaranteed or insured loan, or grant a fee or other interest in such property, without prior approval of the Secretary.
(2) The holder may, without the prior approval of the Secretary, release the lien on a portion of the property securing the loan provided:
(i) The holder has obtained an appraisal from the Secretary showing the value of the security prior to the partial release of the lien and the value of the security on which the lien will remain;
(ii) The portion of the property still subject to the lien is fit for dwelling purposes; and
(iii) The loan-to-value ratio after the partial release of the lien:
(A) Will be not more than 80 percent; or
(B) If the loan-to-value ratio after the partial release of the lien is 80 percent or higher, any proceeds received as consideration from the partial release of the lien shall be applied to the unpaid loan balance.
(b) A holder may release from the lien personal property including crops without the prior approval of the Secretary.
(c) Failure of the holder to comply with the provisions of this section shall not in itself affect the validity of the title of a purchaser to the property released.
(d) The release of the personal liability of any obligor on a guaranteed or insured obligation resultant from the act or omission of any holder without the prior approval of the Secretary shall release the obligation of the Secretary as guarantor or insurer, except when such act or omission consists of:
(1) Failure to establish the debt as a valid claim against the assets of the estate of any deceased obligor, provided no lien for the guaranteed or insured debt is thereby impaired or destroyed; or
(2) An election and appropriate prosecution of legally available effective remedies with respect to the repossession or the liquidation of the security in any case, irrespective of the identity or the survival of the original or of any subsequent debtor, if holder shall have given such notice as required by § 36.4817 and if, after receiving such notice, the Secretary shall have failed to notify the holder within 15 days to proceed in such manner as to effectively preserve the personal liability of the parties liable, or such of them as the Secretary indicates in such notice to the holder; or
(3) The release of an obligor, or obligors, from liability on an obligation secured by a lien on property, which release is an incident of and contemporaneous with the sale of such property to an eligible veteran who assumed such obligation, which assumed obligation is guaranteed on the assuming veteran's account pursuant to 38 U.S.C. chapter 37; or
(4) The release of an obligor or obligors as provided in § 36.4815; or, the release of an obligor, or obligors, incident to the sale of property securing the loan which the holder is authorized to approve under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 3714.