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Rep. Basile, Sen. Petruccelli support Senate and House Legislation Preventing Mortgage Foreclosures

BOSTON – The Legislature today sent legislation to the Governor that will prevent unnecessary and unlawful foreclosures, reduce the number of abandoned properties across the Commonwealth and help remove one of the biggest remaining barriers to the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“As I noted when the bill emerged from the committee, we have worked extremely hard over the course of the session, and throughout the conference committee process, to produce a meaningful, reasonable approach to address the outstanding foreclosure crisis,” said Senator Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston), Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services.  “I am hopeful that this new law will help families and our communities for years to come.”

The bill requires banks and other lenders to offer loan modifications to borrowers in certain circumstances to avoid foreclosures. Lenders must conduct a complete financial analysis of the borrower and determine if it would be more beneficial to receive lower monthly mortgage payments or the anticipated recovery from a foreclosure.

There is a 150-day timeframe for deciding whether or not to offer the loan modification which may come in the form of a reduced interest rate or principal, or an extension of the loan repayment period. The modified loans would allow borrowers to stay in their homes, lenders to avoid foreclosure costs and potential market losses, and neighborhoods to avoid the problem of abandoned properties and vacant lots.

“I commend my colleagues on the conference committee for this prudent piece of legislation. It represents a good compromise that will undoubtedly help many people in the Commonwealth. This bill will help people to keep their homes, save local communities from the adverse effects of unnecessary foreclosures, and stabilize the housing market, thus strengthening our economy,” said Representative Carlo P. Basile (D-East Boston), House Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services.

“Even banks have acknowledged that it often makes more financial sense to create an affordable payment plan rather than foreclosing and selling a home at a substantial loss. This bill gives us a fair and reasonable approach to offer modifications to more than 100,000 Massachusetts borrowers. We can keep people in their homes without sacrificing the banks’ bottom lines, and save families and communities.”


Loan modifications would be available for owner-occupied homes and apply to loans that are considered risky, such as adjustable rate mortgages and interest-only loans. The bill compliments the work of loan modification specialists in the Attorney General’s Office who assist borrowers in their negotiations with lenders.

The bill also incorporates a recent Supreme Judicial Court decision requiring lenders to prove they are the current legal holder of a mortgage before beginning a foreclosure.

The legislation also prohibits lenders from passing along costs of prior improper foreclosures or imposing fees for services not provided in connection with a foreclosure.

Furthermore, it requires the Division of Banks, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, to track the resolution of certain mortgage loans and report to the Joint Committee on Financial Services within 90 days of the end of each calendar year through December 31, 2017.

The Legislature had consistently worked to protect homeowners and residents. In 2010, legislation passed that prevented tenants in foreclosed buildings from being evicted without just cause. It also required written notice with proper contact information to be posted and delivered before evicting a tenant for failure to pay rent.

For homeowners, that legislation temporarily extended the 90-day right-to-cure period, enacted by the Legislature in 2007, to 150 days. The 2007 law gave homeowners 90 days to come up with past due payments on their mortgage before the lender could require full payment of the unpaid balance. This was intended as a cooling off period for the lender and homeowner to work out a new payment plan to avoid foreclosure.


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