30 Nov Massachusetts Mortgage Foreclosures Severely Backlogged
To foreclose on a mortgage in Massachusetts it is standard practice to file an action in the Land Court for a declaration stating that the homeowner isn’t in the active duty military. This is so because a mortgagee has a duty to get a fair sale price at a foreclosure auction. Due to certain protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), a buyer can’t be sure that the sale won’t be invalidated due to the military service status of the defaulting homeowner, and therefore might pay less for the home….unless there is an order of a court or some other conclusive proof that the homeowner isn’t under the protection of the SCRA. The bottom line is that here in Massachusetts, these Land Court SCRA lawsuits are standard before any foreclosure takes place.
Today I spoke with someone at the Massachusetts Land Court and was informed that so-called “return dates” were about four and a half months out in cases filed today. What that means is that once a homeowner is served with a SCRA lawsuit, they will now still usually have four to five months before a foreclosure auction. That’s a significant backlog when contrasted against the six weeks from filing to return date that used to be the norm in SCRA actions.
Nicholas Ortiz, Boston Bankruptcy Attorney
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