Keep my Home - Avoid Foreclosure for Massachusetts Consumers
Consumers sometimes find themselves behind on mortgage payments leading to a default in the loan agreement and the mortgage, which secures the interest in the property. In such case, lenders may take measures to protect their interest in the defaulted property. Measures may include initiating foreclosure proceedings.
- What Consumers Should Know About Massachusetts Foreclosure Law
- What Consumers Should Know About the Right to Cure
- What Consumers Should Know About Foreclosure in Massachusetts
- Relevant Statutes & Regulations for Foreclosure in Massachusetts
- Foreclosure Resources for Massachusetts Consumers Facing Foreclosure
- Additional Foreclosure Resources for Massachusetts Consumers
What Consumers Should Know About Massachusetts Foreclosure Law
In Massachusetts, a foreclosure party is required to give the following notices to a consumer which has defaulted on their mortgage:
- Notice of default and Right to Cure;
- Notice regarding the Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act; and
- Notice of Sale.
What Consumers Should Know About the Right to Cure
- Effective January 1, 2016 the Right to Cure a default of a residential mortgage reverted back from a period of 150 days to 90 days, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 244, § 35A.
- The Division's foreclosure regulation defines the Right to Cure notification process for lenders and mortgage servicers to be followed in notifying borrowers of a mortgage default, and in disclosing repayment options available to the borrower in order to prevent a foreclosure. 209 CMR 56.00 also implements standards and requirements for the mortgage loan modification process for loans qualifying as Certain Mortgage Loans in order to avoid unnecessary foreclosures.
- The mortgage servicer must provide the borrower(s) with a 90 day Right to Cure at least 90 days prior to taking steps to enforce foreclosure actions resulting in the borrower's failure to make a required payment as provided in the mortgage or agreement.
What Consumers Should Know About Foreclosure in Massachusetts
- Payment relief from foreclosure is provided under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA applies to active duty military personnel who had mortgage obligations prior to enlistment or active duty. All mortgage loans in default are subject to receiving the SCRA notice when in default.
- Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 244 §14 requires a foreclosing party to mail a Notice of Sale to the homeowner at least 14 days before the sale date. The Notice of Sale must also be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in the city or town newspaper where the property is located or in a newspaper with general circulation in the city or town where the property is located.
- Special foreclosure protections are provided to borrowers under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 244 § 35B with a high cost home loan. A high cost home loan is a type of mortgage loan with particular characteristics and the annual percentage rate or points and fees exceed certain amounts.
- Violation of the Massachusetts' high cost home loan law by the original lender (or its assignee), allows the borrower to cancel the loan and use rescission as a defense against the foreclosure. The high-cost home loan statutes prohibit the lender from, among other things, charging prepayment fees and increasing the agreed upon interest rate after a default.
Relevant Statutes & Regulations for Foreclosure in Massachusetts
- Division of Banks Regulation 209 CMR 56.00: Foreclosure Prevention Options
- Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 244: Foreclosure & Redemption of Mortgages
- Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 183C: Predatory Home Loan Practices
- 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501 - 597b: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Foreclosure Resources for Massachusetts Consumers Facing Foreclosure
The Division of Banks does not have the authority to require mortgage companies to modify the terms of a mortgage loan or require the mortgage servicer to agree to refinance. However, you may contact both NeighborWorks' HOPE Hotline and the Massachusetts Attorney General's HomeCorps Loan Modification Hotline for assistance. Consumers are encouraged to have all loan paperwork available when placing a call to either hotline so the mortgage counselor can best assess the situation and identify the best avenues of recourse available.
- HOPE Hotline to Help Avoid Foreclosure is available to consumers having or anticipating difficulty making agreed upon mortgage payments, or have recently received a foreclosure notice. Counselors on the HOPE Hotline are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to advise consumers on the resources available to Massachusetts homeowners.
- 888-995-HOPE (4673)
- Attorney General's HomeCorps Loan Modification Hotline is available to consumers facing foreclosure and seeking guidance in the loan modification process. The Loan Modification Initiative offers direct loan modification advocacy to distressed Massachusetts borrowers, in order to help many residents avoid unnecessary foreclosure. The Initiative is staffed by a statewide team of skilled Loan Modification Specialists.
- Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) provides a description of programs available to assist homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and otherwise struggling with their monthly mortgage payments. The majority of these programs are administered through the U.S. Treasury Department and HUD. This page provides a summary of these various programs
- Division of Banks Imminent Foreclosure Assistance is available to consumers facing imminent foreclosure, within seven (7) business days prior to the date of auction. The Division representatives asks for 60 day delays on imminent auctions at the borrower's request, if 1) the borrower has never requested a stay previously, and 2) the property is the borrower's primary residence. Please note that there is no guarantee that a stay will be secured and this is only to be used as a last resort. The Division can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:45 am through 5:00 pm.
Additional Foreclosure Resources for Massachusetts Consumers
- Massachusetts Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Approved Counseling Agencies
- Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service
- Organizations Providing Free or Low Cost Civil Legal Assistance to Low-Income Individuals in and around Boston