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Avoiding foreclosure for Massachusetts consumers

When you miss mortgage payments and default on your loan agreement, lenders may take measures to protect their interest in the defaulted property. Measures may include starting the foreclosure process. Learn about your rights and foreclosure regulation in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Foreclosure requirements

In Massachusetts, a foreclosure party is required to give the following notices to a consumer which has defaulted on their mortgage:

The Right-to-Cure

  • Effective January 1, 2016 the Right-to-Cure (RTC) 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 of Banks' (DOB) foreclosure regulation defines the RTC 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 RTC at least 90 days prior to taking steps to enforce foreclosure actions. 

What you 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.

Foreclosure resources

The DOB 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.

When contacting a hotline or mortgage counselor it is recommended to have all loan paperwork available in order to 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.
    • 617-573-5333
  • 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
  • DOB Imminent Foreclosure Assistance is available to consumers with an auction date within 7 business days. 
    • At the borrower's request, DOB representatives will ask for 60 day delays on imminent auctions, if the borrower has never requested a stay previously, and the property is the borrower's primary residence. 
    • There is no guarantee that a stay will be secured and this is only to be used as a last resort.  The DOB can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:45 am through 5:00 pm.
      • 617-956-1501

 

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