Massachusetts laws

MGL c.186, s.13A Tenants deemed to be tenants at will upon foreclosure

MGL c.186A Tenant protections in foreclosed properties

Federal laws

PL 111-22 Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. This law was made effective permanently by PL 115-174, § 304

Selected case law

Federal National Mortgage Association v. Nunez, 460 Mass. 511 (2011)
"We conclude that the provision of the act that prevents eviction without just cause is properly applied to protect all residential tenants on foreclosed properties who, on or after August 7, 2010, had yet to vacate or be removed from the premises by an eviction, even where the owner purchased the property before the act's effective date, and initiated a summary process action before that date."

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."

Web sources

Discovery for tenants in foreclosed properties: Representing yourself in an eviction case, Greater Boston Legal Services and Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, May 2019.
"Discovery is a way to get information from the new landlord to help you prove your case. When you request Discovery, the landlord must answer questions in writing and provide you documents about your eviction case. The landlord must answer your questions in writing under oath. Discovery also postpones your eviction hearing for two weeks if you ensure that both the court and the landlord’s attorney receive your Discovery requests on or before your Monday Answer Date."

Information for tenants in foreclosed buildings, Mass. Attorney General.
Outlines tenants' rights in foreclosure, and explains what is required to be a "bona fide tenant."

Rights of renters in foreclosure, Nolo, 2021. 
State and federal laws give important rights to tenants whose landlords have lost their properties through foreclosure.

Tenants & foreclosure: Legal tactics chapter 18, Mass Legal Help, 2017.
Explains in clear English what to do first, and your options after foreclosure. Also identifies organizations that may be able to help you. Available in podcast.

Print sources

Post-foreclosure evictions: primer & update, MCLE, 2017.

Real estate law with forms, annual (Mass Practice v.28), Thomson Reuters. Section 10:19 Rights, duties, and obligations of a foreclosing mortgagee to tenants and others.


Last updated: September 23, 2022