• DYE CULIK PC | Consumer Protection Division

Foreclosed On? Foreclosure Might be Void if Bank Didn’t Send Post-sale Notices to Tax Collector and

Foreclosure is an ongoing problem. Although the foreclosure crisis may have peaked, many homeowners are still struggling with their banks trying to get loan modifications and stop foreclosures. Some homeowners are still living in their homes after a foreclosure has occurred.

What can you do if you were foreclosed on? Believe it or not, if the bank that foreclosed did not send notification of the foreclosure to the local tax collector/assessor, and to the water/sewer provider, the foreclosure just might be void.

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Why such a drastic result? Massachusetts allows for non-judicial foreclosure, which means that the bank does not have to take you to court in order to foreclose. This is in contrast to some states where the bank must actually file a lawsuit against you to get permission to foreclose. So because banks’ rights in Massachusetts go unsupervised, banks must “strictly comply” with all of the foreclosure laws. If they fail to do so, the foreclosure is void. And one of the (unnoticed) foreclosure laws requires that

Under General Laws of Massachusetts, chapter 244, section 15A, a “mortgagee” (a bank) who forecloses on a property must send notice of the foreclosure to all tenants, the assessor or tax collector, and the water or sewer department. If the bank does not “strictly comply,” with this, the foreclosure is void.

The full statute states:

Section 15A. A mortgagee taking possession of mortgaged premises prior to foreclosure or a mortgagee conveying title to mortgaged premises pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall, within thirty days of taking possession or conveying title, notify all residential tenants of said premises, and the office of the assessor or collector of taxes of the municipality in which the premises are located and any persons, companies, districts, commissions or other entities of any kind which provide water or sewer service to the premises, of said taking possession or conveying title.

Our office has in fact been able to void a foreclosure on this basis in Massachusetts federal court. The court issued an order stating the voidness of the foreclosure is mandated by the law.

There are many grounds for challenging a foreclosure, both before it happens, and after the sale. Our office has represented numerous consumers to obtain loan modifications and, in many cases, void foreclosures. If you are struggling with your bank, give us a call us for a no-cost case evaluation.

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