COVID-19 relief information

Foreclosure protection and mortgage payment relief for homeowners, National Housing Law Project

Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) 
The Massachusetts Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) is a federally funded housing assistance program to help homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New mortgage servicing rule aims to prevent avoidable foreclosures as protections expire, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
A new rule went into effect on August 31, 2021, that helps ensure your mortgage servicer is providing meaningful opportunities for you to avoid foreclosure and stay in your home.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.60, §§ 45, 54, 77-80B  Tax sales and foreclosure

MGL c.183, § 27 Disposition of proceeds of foreclosure.   

MGL c.244 Foreclosure and redemption of mortgages

MGL c.260, § 33 Limitation of mortgage foreclosures; obsolete mortgages

Massachusetts regulations

209 CMR 56  Foreclosure Prevention Options (with form for notice)
940 CMR 25  Foreclosure Rescue Transactions and Foreclosure-Related Services

Selected case law

Bank of NY v. Bailey, 460 Mass. 327 (2011)
"[T]he Housing Court has jurisdiction to decide the validity of a challenge to a title, raised by a former homeowner as a defense to a summary process eviction action by a party acquiring the property pursuant to a foreclosure sale."

Commonwealth v. Fremont Investment and Loan, 452 Mass. 733 (2008)
Upholds a Superior Court order "that restricts, but does not remove, Fremont's ability to foreclose on loans with features that the judge described as 'presumptively unfair'" based on characteristics identified by federal regulatory guidance.

Easthampton Savings Bank v. City of Springfield, 470 Mass. 284 (2014)
Discusses the preemption of local foreclosure ordinances by state laws.

Eaton v. Federal National Mortgage Ass'n, 462 Mass. 569 (2012)
"The meaning of the term "mortgagee" as used in the statutes is not free from ambiguity, but we now construe the term to refer to the person or entity then holding the mortgage and also either holding the mortgage note or acting on behalf of the note holder." The ruling will only apply to " foreclosures under the power of sale where statutory notice is provided after the date of this decision."

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Morris, et al., 490 Mass. 322 (2022)
A borrower can assert a Predatory Home Loan Practices Act (PHLPA) counterclaim in a summary process action brought by a mortgage assignee to obtain possession following a nonjudicial foreclosure. Includes discussion of the claims that can be brought under PHLPA.

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., Trustee v. Matt, 464 Mass. 193 (2013). 
An oft-cited case in the Land Court concerning the limited scope and nature of a Servicemembers case in the larger context of a foreclosure.

James B. Nutter & Co. v. Murphy, 478 Mass. 664 (2018)
A reverse mortgage did not contain the formal language of "statutory power of sale," but only said that the company could “invoke the power of sale and other remedies permitted by applicable law." The SJC held that, given that this was a reverse mortgage, and not a traditional mortgage, "where the lender cannot hold the borrower personally liable for the debt, and where the lender’s only recourse on default is to obtain repayment through a foreclosure sale," "the only reasonable and practical interpretation of the mortgage was that it incorporated the statutory power of sale."

Lenders Commercial Finance LLC v. Pestilli, et al, Southeast Housing Court, Feb. 3, 2017.
A bank that purchased a home at foreclosure could not evict the former owners with just a 30-day notice to quit. "The Court finds that there is no evidence in this action that there was ever any agreement between the parties for the defendant to pay any rent to the plaintiff, or for any definite rental period. Accordingly, the court finds that G.L. c. 186, s.12 requires that the plaintiff terminate the defendant's tenancy at will by service of a 90 Day Notice to Quit for possession." 

Property Acquisition Group v. Ivester, 95 Mass. App. Ct. 170 (2019)
Before conducting a foreclosure sale, the mortgagee must use reasonable diligence to determine the fair market value of the property.

Thompson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 486 Mass. 286 (2020)
"Conflicting statements as to the last day the homeowners could possibly could reinstate their mortgage -- up to the foreclosure sale, as the notice stated, or up to five days before the foreclosure sale, as the terms of the mortgage provided," did not render the foreclosure sale void.

US Bank National Association v. Ibanez, 458 Mass. 637 (2011)
Upholds the ruling of the Land Court (MISC 08-384283) below, regarding the requirement that mortgage holders must be accurately identified in a foreclosure proceeding. "We agree with the judge that the plaintiffs, who were not the original mortgagees, failed to make the required showing that they were the holders of the mortgages at the time of foreclosure. As a result, they did not demonstrate that the foreclosure sales were valid to convey title to the subject properties, and their requests for a declaration of clear title were properly denied."

U.S. Bank National Association v. Ibanez, 17 LCR 679, Land Court MISC 08-384283, October 14, 2009
Foreclosure sales are invalid where they fail to name "the “present holder of the mortgage” at the time of the notice and sale (i.e., that post-sale mortgage assignments to the successful bidder, even if backdated, do not suffice)..."

Web sources

Abandoned housing initiative receivership manual, Mass. Attorney General, March 2014
Extensive (89 p.) manual for municipalities that "cover all facets of receivership from the initial communication with a property owner to the termination of a receivership." Includes sample pleadings and more.

Avoiding foreclosure, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Primarily written for homeowners with FHA Insured loans, much of the information may apply to anyone facing foreclosure

Frequently asked questions on 150/90 day right to cure notice, Mass. Division of Banks
If you are behind in mortgage payments you are in “default.” If you pay the bank all the payments you missed, you can “cure the default”. The bank must send you a notice that says you have the right to pay the money you owe.  Helpful information for lenders on requirements for a right to cure notice.

Temporary Mortgage Relief Due to Coronavirus Pandemic, Avoid Foreclosure, Foreclosure Scams After a Foreclosure, Mortgage Refinancing    

Foreclosure prevention counseling resources, National Consumer Law Center
"Practical tools and resources for housing counselors, attorneys, and other advocates who are counseling homeowners threatened with foreclosure." Includes Sample Documents and Practice Aids, Fannie Mae Information, Freddie Mac Home Affordable Modification Program, and more.

Foreclosure timeline, Middlesex North Registry of Deeds, July 2013
Blog post uses an example to illustrate the timing of an Order of Notice in the foreclosure process

Land Court Servicemembers cases resources
Military status can provide certain protections from foreclosure.  Learn about the process and protections provided.

Land Court tax lien foreclosure cases resources
A tax lien foreclosure is a type of court case in which a city or town (or sometimes a third party) can seek to obtain full ownership of property if the property taxes, water bills, or sewer bills are not paid. This page provides a procedural outline, frequently asked questions, and a tax lien answer online guided form.

Learn about forbearance, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Most homeowners can temporarily pause or reduce their mortgage payments.

Making home affordable, US Treasury Dept. & US Housing and Urban Development Dept. 
Explains eligibility for federal programs for refinancing and modification of mortgages, including a self-assessment tool

Massachusetts foreclosure laws and procedures, Nolo
Learn about foreclosure procedures in Massachusetts, including what notices you’ll get and the steps the foreclosing bank must follow. 

Mortgage lending and foreclosures, Mass. Attorney General.
Find information and answers to frequently asked questions from the Attorney General's Office. If you are having an issue with your mortgage lender you can file a complaint with their Consumer Advocacy and Response Division.

Questions and answers on home foreclosure and debt cancellation, IRS
Provides critical information on the tax consequences of foreclosure and debt cancellation, with links to forms

What happens when the bank forecloses, MassLegalHelp, 2013.
Outlines the steps after you miss a mortgage payment through the foreclosure auction.

Print sources


Last updated: September 23, 2022