Efforts by Massachusetts homeowners to stop foreclosure sales gained valuable traction from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s recent request that lenders and loan servicers suspend foreclosures in light of recent disclosures of widespread abuse among financial institutions. The widespread publicity in the media regarding misconduct by financial institutions offers ammunition for homeowners who wish to stop a foreclosure sale by filing a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction in court.
Because Massachusetts is a “non-judicial” foreclosure state, the foreclosure process proceeds extremely quickly (often, in as little as 90 days) and with essentially no judicial oversight unless a homeowner files a legal action in court to stop the foreclosure process. This may be done by the filing of a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction. Sample Massachusetts foreclosure defense forms, including complaints and preliminary injunction motions, are available for download.
The announcements by the Office of the Attorney General, together with the considerable protections offered by the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, provide powerful ammunition for stopping a foreclosure sale in Massachusetts. A Massachusetts homeowner trying to stop a foreclosure sale may raise a number of powerful arguments and causes of action, including:
- Fraud/duress as a result of misrepresentations made to the homeowner by the initial lender at the time of the loan;
- Illegality of the underlying loan due to its egregiously high costs that were deceptively withheld and/or concealed at the time of the loan;
- Failure of the loan servicer to provide foreclosure notices required under Massachusetts law; and
- Lack of standing (i.e., the financial institution does not possess the initial note and/or cannot produce a complete chain of assignments).
Complaints to stop foreclosure and motions for preliminary injunctions should be filed in the Superior Court for the county in which the property is located.