Foreclosure Process in Massachusetts
Default and Right to Cure Notice
- Homeowner falls behind on mortgage payments
- Homeowner may receive collection calls or letters from lender
- Lender (Bank or Holder of the Mortgage) sends right to cure notice giving homeowners 150 days to bring mortgage payments current. During this period the lender cannot accrue excessive fees and penalties.
If debt is not paid in full, the lender will send an acceleration notice, which means that the entire loan is due.
- Notice must be sent by registered or certified mail at least 21 days before the foreclosure sale.
- Notice of intent to sue for deficiency (the difference between the sale price and amount due on the mortgage) must also be sent at least 21 days before the foreclosure sale.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Complaint
Lender must file a complaint under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in Land Court or Superior Court stating lender's intent to foreclose.
- Homeowner/borrower must be served with a copy of the complaint and has 20 days to file an answer
- The only defense to the complaint is that the homeowner/borrower is in the military service
Publication of Sale
Lender must publish notice of sale in the newspaper, including
- Identification of mortgage
- Date, place, time of sale
- Description of property
Notice must be published once a week for 3 consecutive weeks before the sale, beginning at least 21 days before the sale.
Notice of Foreclosure Sale
Lender must send notice of foreclosure sale via certified or registered mail at least 14 days prior to the foreclosure sale.
Foreclosure Sale and Record of Sale
- Actual sale must take place at the date, time and place specified in the notice of the foreclosure sale.
- Sale must be conducted by a licensed auctioneer
- High bidder wins
- Parties execute a foreclosure deed; deed should be recorded at Registry of Deeds (accessible online).
- Any excess proceeds from foreclosure sale must be paid to the homeowner.
- If foreclosure sale did not pay off entire mortgage, lender may pursue homeowner/borrower for a deficiency judgment.
- Homeowner is not required to move at the time of the sale. Homeowner may be able to negotiate with the new owner/purchaser for time and relocation costs, although they have no legal right to demand it.
- New owner (often a bank), can bring an eviction action in Court against the homeowner.
- The new owner cannot evict the homeowner without a Court Order.
- Homeowner always has the right to ask the Court for more time to remain in the home.