Massachusetts Foreclosure Laws

Expected Timeline: Three to four months
Security Instrument: Mortgage
Type of Process: Most commonly nonjudicial, but judicial also available.
Protections for Servicemembers: None.
Time to Respond: Homeowners must receive notice of sale at least 14 days before scheduled sheriff sale date. Notice must be published for three consecutive weeks before auction.
Reinstatement Period: In the case of a conditional judgment, homeowners have two months to reinstate the loan. Homeowners are entitled to a 90 day notice of right to reinstate before acceleration of mortgage can occur. Notice must be served by first class mail
Protections for High-Cost Mortgages: Predatory Home Loan Practices Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 183C, § 1-19
Redemption Period: None.
Eviction Process: If conditional judgment is awarded to lender, new owner can use writ of possession to evict former owners without notice once reinstatement period has expired.
Deficiency Judgments: Allowed, must be brought as separate lawsuit if a notice of intent to seek a deficiency is included in notice of sale. Notice of sale must be mailed to homeowners at least 21 days before auction date.
Limits on Deficiency Judgments: If a deficiency is to be pursued, the bank must include a notice of intent to seek deficiency with the required Notice of Sale. This Notice of Sale must be served on the borrowers at least 21 days prior to the actual auction.
Cash Exempted in Bankruptcy: $11,000 for single person, $22,000 for married couple.
State Statutes: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, § 14

Massachusetts allows both the Non-Judicial and Judicial Foreclosure processes. If the original loan documents do not contain a power of sale clause, then the Judicial Foreclosure process must be followed. This process requires the lender to sue the borrower to obtain a court order to foreclose. Then the lender must take possession of the property peaceably with the proper consent of the borrower. If the lender holds possession of the property for three years, then the redemption period of the borrower has expired.

Non-Judicial Foreclosure is used when the original loan documents contain a power of sale clause, authorizing the lender to sell the property in the event of a default. The notice of sale must be sent to the borrower by registered mail at least thirty (30) days before the scheduled sale date. For three (3) consecutive weeks, the notice must be published in a magazine that is generally circulated in the county in which the property is located. The publication of the notice must begin at least twenty-one (21) days before the sale date.

The sale of the property is conducted as a public auction at the place and date specified in the notice of sale.

The borrower does not have a right to redeem the property if the Non-Judicial Foreclosure process is used.

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