Massachusetts law about tenants in foreclosed buildings

A compilation of laws, cases, and web sources on tenants in foreclosed buildings law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

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

MGL c.186A Tenant protections in foreclosed properties

MGL c.244, § 15A Mortgagee taking possession or conveying title; notice to tenants

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

Attorney General v. Dime Savings Bank of New York, 413 Mass. 284 (1992)
Mortgagee who forecloses on residential property by sale may not bring trespass action against holdover tenant or mortgagor in actual possession of foreclosed premises.  Summary process is the proper procedure.

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."

Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, US Office of the Comptroller of Currency, March 2020.
The booklet provides background information and expanded examination procedures for the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PTFA).

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.

Residential and commercial landlord-tenant practice in Massachusetts, MCLE, 2022. Chapter 15 Post-foreclosure evictions.

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Last updated: November 1, 2022

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