Late To The Party? More Foreclosure Legislation Filed In Massachusetts

by Rich Vetstein on January 28, 2011

in Foreclosure, Mortgage Crisis

You knew this was coming. The politicians smell a big political opportunity with the foreclosure mess in Massachusetts, and are filing legislation left and right.

The latest is legislation filed by State Senator Karen Spilka and Attorney General Martha Coakley mandating loan modifications in certain circumstances. Specifically, the loan modification legislation requires creditors to take “commercially reasonable efforts” to avoid foreclosure upon certain sub-prime loans. The legislation also provides a safe harbor for creditors to comply with this requirement of commercial reasonableness.

The legislation also addresses problems with foreclosures highlighted in the recent decision by the Massachusetts SJC, U.S. Bank v. Ibanez by prohibiting foreclosures where creditors lack the documents supporting their purported right to foreclose, and prohibits passing on certain fees and costs to homeowners.  Specifically, this legislation:

  • Codifies the recent SJC decision in Ibanez by requiring a creditor commencing foreclosure to show it is the current legal holder of record of the mortgage. The bill also forbids misrepresentations to courts concerning holder status;
  • Prohibits passing on to third parties the costs of remedying prior improper foreclosures or absence of recorded assignments;
  • Prohibits “junk fees” (for goods or services not performed) tacked on during foreclosure and prohibits bribes, referral and similar fees for foreclosure business; and
  • Requires recording of assignment establishing the creditor as present holder of the mortgage before it can foreclose on the property.

A violation of this legislation would constitute a violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 93A which carries triple damages and attorneys fees.

For more information, here is the announcement from Sen. Spilka’s office.

Previous post:

Next post: