If you are one of the thousands of Americans that are facing foreclosure we may be able to help. We understand how important it is to retain the ownership of your home and maintain life as you know it. There are various avenues one can pursue in the attempt to defend against foreclosure, some of which are cooperative towards your lender, some of which are adversarial. It is important to consider all your options when facing the threat of losing your home. It is wise to talk to an attorney to understand what is at stake when attempting to work with your mortgage servicer or lender, how a short sale or deed-in-lieu works, and if you have grounds and whether to resort to litigation.
What can I do?
Lenders are required to follow certain procedures in the foreclosure process and much has changed in the years since the great recession started. A brief history of Massachusetts is the following. First in 2008 the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act to Preserve and Protect Home Ownership”, which applies to foreclosures initiated on or after May 1, 2008. It was designed to help financially distressed homeowners with foreclosure relief. It provided homeowners a period of time to pay a mortgage arrearage/delinquency (a right to cure) and keep their home. Later, on 7 August 2010, Massachusetts enacted "An Act to Stabilize Neighborhoods Through the Protection of Tenants of Foreclosed Properties." It establishes a framework for negotiations between lenders and homeowners and extends the right to cure period. Lenders that do not take acts outlined in the bill with have to allow the homeowner 150 days to cure their mortgage arrearage before starting the usual foreclosure process in Massachusetts. Most recently, on August 3, 2012, the legislature passed "An Act preventing unlawful and unnecessary foreclosures" which changed the process lenders must follow to foreclose on "certain mortgage loans." The most publicized change in this new foreclosure law in Massachusetts is the requirement for the mortgage holder to offer a loan modification (under certain circumstances) for these "certain mortgage loans" and outlining the obligations and process for both parties that must be followed.
Other laws can apply as well and foreclosure defense law is constantly changing. An important and highly publicized Massachusetts Land Court case involving wrongfully foreclosed residences in the city of Springfield in western Massachusetts styled as US Bank, N.A. v. Ibanez, Misc. Case No. 08-384283 (October 14, 2009) was affirmed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on January 7, 2011. Generally, this case is about what foreclosing lenders must do to establish their title to the mortgage prior to foreclosing when the mortgage has been assigned from one lender to another. Reports speculate that this ruling could mean there were many wrongful foreclosures that have occurred in Massachusetts in the past. The law confirmed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in US Bank, N.A. v. Ibanez may help Massachusetts homeowners mount a foreclosure defense in the future as well. Statutes in Massachusetts like the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act may apply to certain situations in the foreclosure process when banks have conducted unfair and/or deceptive practices as well. These laws, and other laws, can be applied to your particular situation to determine if there are grounds to challenge and defend against the foreclosure and try and save your home.
I attempted a loan modification and it isn’t/didn’t working/work?
You’re not alone. Lenders usually solicit people, albeit possibly disingenuously, to apply with them to seek a modification of the terms of the mortgage. However, it is quite common for significant problems to arise during the process; documents get lost or mysteriously are not received, promises get broken, stories change, and all the while the threat of foreclosure is looming. It is risky to rely upon the lender’s voluntary choice to agree to modify your loan when so much is at stake. Please contact this office if you are interested in evaluating the loan modification process, a review of the foreclosure procedures and process, or to evaluate if there are grounds to stop the foreclosure or pursue litigation. Get a lawyer on your side.
Will filing for bankruptcy save my house?
Maybe, it is important to have your financial situation analyzed to present the various options and strategies you may employ to save your home. Bankruptcy can be one of them. However, you need to understand what can and what can’t be achieved in bankruptcy, the basic difference between chapter 7 and chapter 13, and whether it is best for you. To learn of one pitfall to avoid in relying on bankruptcy, see my article.
Contact us for help with Foreclosure Defense at (413) 746-8008 or (508) 769-1359 or by email below.
Attorney George E.Bourguignon, Jr. is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The information provided in this web site is offered for informational purposes only; it is not offered and does not constitute legal advice. Your visit to this web site does not constitute a legal consultation. This web site may be considered as advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. You may not base legal hiring decisions solely on brochures, advertising or other promotional materials.
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