Summary of Massachusetts' Foreclosure Laws

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If you are facing foreclosure in Massachusetts, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial v. nonjudicial) used in Massachusetts
  • how much time you have to respond
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens afterwards (for example, whether you’ll be liable for a deficiency judgment).

Below we have outlined some of the most important features of Massachusetts foreclosure law. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; we've included statute citations so you can get more details from the laws themselves. And be sure to check out Nolo’s extensive Foreclosure section, where you can find information about all aspects of foreclosure, definitions of foreclosure terms (like redemption and reinstatement), and options to avoid foreclosure.

Topic

State Rule

Most common type of foreclosure process

Nonjudicial under power of sale

Time to respond

Prior to accelerating the loan and initiating foreclosure proceedings, the foreclosing party must mail to the homeowner a 150-day notice of homeowner’s right to reinstate the mortgage and that homeowner may be eligible for state agency assistance. (This time period can be reduced to 90 days if foreclosing party made a good faith effort to negotiate an alternative to foreclosure, but was unable to come to a resolution with the borrower, or if the borrower does not respond to a mailing offering to negotiate a foreclosure alternative.) After loan is accelerated, the foreclosing party must mail notice to homeowner at least 14 days before the sale date, and publish notice for three consecutive weeks before the sale date.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

150-day or 90-day right to cure (after service of notice of default) by paying amount due plus portion of late fees.

Redemption after sale

Not available (except as required by the terms of the mortgage)

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages

Homeowner can rescind a high-cost loan and use rescission as a defense to the foreclosure. Assignees of the loan may be sued for lender or loan originator abusive lending activities except for governmental entities, such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Predatory Home Loan Practices Act, Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 183C, §§ 1-19.

Special state protections for service members

None

Deficiency judgments

Can be obtained in separate lawsuit if a notice of intent to seek a deficiency is mailed to homeowner at least 21 days before sale date.

Cash exempted in bankruptcy

About $12,725 for one person, $25,450 for a married couple under the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Up to $6,000 under state exemption system.

Notice to leave after house is sold

If the former owner still resides in the property following the foreclosure sale, then an action for eviction starts with a 3-day or 30-day notice to quit, depending on who else lives in the property

Foreclosure statutes

Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 244, § 14, 35A

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