Gov. Deval Patrick has signed into law a package of foreclosure initiatives that he says will keep people in their homes and stabilize neighborhoods across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.[IMAGE]
The legislation, _An Act Relative to Mortgage Foreclosures_, was deemed an ""emergency measure"" by lawmakers and expands help for homeowners facing possible foreclosure, creates new protections for tenants renting apartments in foreclosed buildings, and establishes mortgage fraud as a crime.
""Even as Massachusetts continues its economic recovery, thousands of families are still dealing with the effects of foreclosure and they need immediate assistance,"" said Gov. Patrick. ""Combined with the 2007 comprehensive foreclosure law, we are redoubling our efforts to address the foreclosure crisis.""[COLUMN_BREAK]
The bill signed extends the 90-day right-to-cure on foreclosures created in 2007 to 150 days, and requires lenders to make ""good-faith efforts"" to address a homeowner's financial difficulties.
According to a statement from the governor's office, ""The longer waiting period gives the lender and homeowner more opportunity to find workable solutions that, in the long term, can help keep a family in its home.""
The new 150-day right-to-cure statute became effective August 7, and applies to all notices served to homeowners after that date. Lenders who filed notices before the
August 7th target are not required to restart the process, and foreclosure sales already in process prior to that date may proceed accordingly.
The new law also offers renters increased protection against foreclosure, as it requires proof of just cause before a tenant can be removed from a foreclosed property.
Additionally, the law creates consumer protections in the area of reverse mortgages to ensure borrowers are able to make informed decisions about these sometimes complicated loan products.
It establishes mortgage fraud as a crime Ã¢â‚¬" a provision the governor's office says ""gets to the source of certain dangerous practices that led to a pattern of default mortgages over the past few years.""
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, this new law will better protect homeowners in the state from instances of predatory lending by closing ""significant loopholes"" and providing law enforcement with new tools to prosecute cases of mortgage fraud.