• Pursuant to Section 4 of Chapter 194 of the Acts of 2012, the purpose of the Foreclosure Impacts Task Force is to “study ways in which the commonwealth can encourage the prevention of unnecessary vacancies following foreclosures,” and “conduct a comprehensive review and evaluation of the existing mediation programs throughout the United States” with the goal of making findings and recommendations to the Legislature.  The task force is chaired by the Attorney General or a designee from the her Office.

    Section 4 states:

    "There is hereby established a task force to consist of 13 members, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Bankers Association; 1 of whom shall be the attorney general, or a designee, who shall serve as chair of the task force; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on housing; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on financial services; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on the judiciary; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; and 3 of whom shall be appointed by the governor, 2 of whom shall be representatives of a legal organization which represents consumers or homeowners in the commonwealth. The task force shall study ways in which the commonwealth can encourage the prevention of unnecessary vacancies following foreclosures. This shall include, but not be limited to, the feasibility of allowing a foreclosed homeowner to continue to occupy the foreclosed property, in whole or in part, until a binding purchase and sale agreement has been executed with a purchaser who intends to occupy the housing accommodation as such purchaser’s primary residence and who is not a foreclosing owner. The task force shall study the feasibility in which these situations would be subject to landlord-tenant law in the commonwealth and where the foreclosure sale purchaser may initiate eviction proceedings against the foreclosed homeowner in possession of the property, under chapter 239 of the General Laws.

    The task force shall also conduct a comprehensive review and evaluation of the existing mediation programs throughout the United States. The evaluation made by the task force shall include, but not be limited to, the varying models of mediation programs and their effectiveness; the percentage of borrowers utilizing mediation, the percentage that remain in their homes after mediation and the percentage who re-default; the costs and procedures necessary for implementing and maintaining a state mediation program; funding sources for a state mediation program; potential entities to oversee the state mediation program; potential credit and borrowing obstacles in jurisdictions with mediation programs; and the feasibility for the judiciary to be involved in the mediation process.

    The task force shall submit its findings and recommendations with the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, the joint committee on financial services, the joint committee on housing and the joint committee on the judiciary not later than December 31, 2013."