Massachusetts Foreclosure Protections Ending October 18, 2020. What Are Your Options?
A tidal wave of foreclosures is expected to wash over Massachusetts on October 18, 2020. Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, foreclosures had been called to a halt a few months ago, but they are now set to resume. Governor Charlie Baker recently issued an order setting the new date for foreclosures to re-start.
The mortgage payments of many homeowners in Massachusetts have gone unpaid during the coronavirus pandemic due to job loss or other financial issues. In response, both the federal government, under the CARES Act, and the Massachusetts state government, under what is called Chapter 65, created foreclosure-prevention and loan-modification programs for certain eligible homeowners.
The clock is now ticking on those programs, however. Homeowners who do not aggressively take advantage of them are at risk of losing their homes when foreclosures resume. Previously, foreclosures had been put off until August 18, 2020.
Homeowners facing foreclosure in Massachusetts due to coronavirus – or for any other reason – have three options:
- Let the house foreclose and walk away,
- Seek a loan modification or other foreclosure alternative, or
- Determine whether there are any legal claims against their mortgage servicers that would provide a basis for defending against foreclosure.
Not all Massachusetts homeowners have legal claims, but those who do often have similar experiences. When homeowners have experienced problems with their banks or mortgage servicers that involve unfair or deceptive practices, there may be legal claims to pursue.
Massachusetts law expressly prohibits banks and mortgage servicers from engaging in unfair and deceptive acts or practices under the Consumer Protection Act, G.L. c. 93A. Specific mortgage servicing regulations issued by the Massachusetts Division of Banks also prohibit such practices. The regulations further specify under 209 Code Mass. Regs. § 18.21A that servicers are prohibited from “[k]nowingly or recklessly facilitating the illegal foreclosure” and “failing to comply with [state and federal regulations] regarding the evaluation of borrowers for loss mitigation options.” A violation of these requirements subjects a servicer to potential treble damages.
These regulations likely apply to any malfeasance committed by banks and mortgage servicers in connection with the foreclosure-prevention provisions of the CARES Act and Chapter 65.
If you are having issues with your mortgage, do something before it is too late. Our office has litigated against most banks and servicers, including Wells Fargo, Mr. Cooper (Nationstar), Bank of America, Chase, Caliber, Select Portfolio Servicing, Rushmore, Citi, Real Time Resolutions, Carrington, Citizens Bank, LoanCare, SN Servicing, Shellpoint, U.S. Bank, and Selene (to name just a few), as well mortgage investors like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Culik Law is a consumer protection law firm located in Boston, Massachusetts and Charlotte, North Carolina. Our attorneys have helped hundreds of homeowners with mortgage and foreclosure issues. If you have questions, contact Culik Law to see if we can help.