Massachusetts Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Could Receive Reprieve through Mandatory Mediation Program
A new bill proposed by Senator Nick Collins in the Massachusetts legislature would require a mandatory mediation process before homeowners facing foreclosure could be evicted from their homes. There would also be a judicial processed needed prior to removal under the potential law.
Details of the bill were shared by the Massachusetts Alliance against Predatory lending in a press conference. According to the group, the bill would “help protect residents” across the state.
Under existing laws, there are four different ways for lenders to file a foreclosure, but only one of those options requires parties to go in front of a judge. This option is called “judicial foreclosure.” The bill, if it is passed, would ban the other three types of foreclosures so all lenders and homeowners would be required by law to appear in court prior and to participate in a mandatory mediation before they could move onto foreclosure.
The ban of the other three types of foreclosure would not be permanent and would be in place for only two years. There could, however, be extensions of the new law for up to a decade.
The alliance claims the current foreclosure process harms homeowners and isn’t fair to them because it requires no oversight by the court system. This means fraud and predatory practices can make it impossible for families to protect or defend themselves.
Collins proposed the bill after hearing from constituents sharing their struggles and their fears of losing their homes. Talking about the need for the bill, Collins stated, "To have to be with a family who has no other way to keep their roof over their heads other than to prevent foreclosure without proper tools is very disheartening so that's why I filed this bill.”