Massachusetts Foreclosure Timeline

by Jed Berliner, Western & Central Massachusetts Consumer Lawyer

May 28, 2008

We have a new law in Massachusetts that extends the duration of the foreclosure process.

Day 1: 150 Day Notice of Acceleration is sent. (Formerly 90 days.) This means that the entire mortgage debt will be due in 150 days if you do not become current with your payments. (A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing will reverse this and give you up to five years to catch up on your missed mortgage payments.)

5 Months: The foreclosing mortgage holder can begin the Land Court proceeding for a determination that you are not a military servicemember. You will get an “Order of Notice” which gives you 30 days to tell the Land Court if you are in military service. This step is unique to Massachusetts. It is not strictly required for a foreclosure, but it is required for insurable title. (Lenders to the next purchaser will require title insurance before making a mortgage loan.) The procedure used to take only 30 days, but the Land Court is very, very backed up these days. There is a very remote possibility that you have a Rambo foreclosing lender who wants you out of the house quickly and will get the Land Court ruling later. If so, delete this step.

6-8 Months: After the Land Court issues its judgment that you are not in the military service, the lender will run a classified advertisement at least three weeks in advance of the proposed sale. This might be delayed somewhat for the convenience of the lender or its attorney.

1 Week Later. The lender gives you two weeks’ advance notice of the proposed sale.

1 More Week Later: The lender will run a second classified advertisement one week before the proposed sale.

Final Week: The auction takes place. Your ownership rights end immediately following the auction when the successful bidder signs a memorandum of sale. It’s too late to stop the foreclosure with a bankruptcy filing. On very, very rare occasion, you might successfully argue that the advertising was unreasonable or that the foreclosing party did not have rights to the mortgage and the auction is void. Do not count on this.

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Jed Berliner practices exclusively in consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, and related consumer protection litigation such as credit card defenses and suing debt collectors. He established his Springfield, MA practice in 1988. Attorney Berliner is a regular and active contributor to the Bankruptcy Law Network, the Bankruptcy Roundtable, and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, three specialized consumer bankruptcy forums on the Internet, and is an informal mentor to regional practitioners. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in consumer bankruptcy issues. He thoroughly enjoys being rated "excellent" in his client surveys.

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Last modified: May 2, 2012