Special Information for Owners or Tenants facing foreclosure
If you are an owner who is worried about falling behind on your mortgage, or who is already facing foreclosure, new resources have emerged to help you. Scroll to the bottom of this page and call one of the foreclosure hotlines…CALL TODAY! The earlier you seek help, the better the outcome is likely to be.
If you are a tenant who lives in a building facing foreclosure, know your rights! Please see the information below:
– It can be scary when your landlord loses his or her building to foreclosure, but don’t panic. This does not mean that you have to start packing up your belongings and getting ready to move.
– Only a judge can evict you. You have the right to stay in your apartment until that happens and to raise defenses and claims in court against the new owner. If you lose the eviction case, you can also request up to six months (or up to 12 months if some one in your household is 60 years of age or older or has a disability) from a judge before you have to move.
– Someone may offer you “cash for keys”; asking you to move out very quickly in exchange for money. That person may try to convince you that you have no choice, but that isn’t true. You don’t have to take the deal; if you do, you may be giving up your legal rights and moving much sooner that necessary.
– Even if the bank sells the building with the provision that it be delivered free of tenants, that is not your problem, and does not affect your right to stay in your home and defend against eviction until a judge tells you that you must leave.
– Being in a foreclosed building does not, by itself, entitle you to withhold rent. If a bank takes over and doesn’t want to accept your rent, keep a record of your offer to pay.
– Even if a bank takes over the building, they are still legally responsible for maintaining it. If you’re having problems with repairs or services that the owner is supposed to provide (like utilities), you should contact the bank or its broker or attorney, preferably in writing, and let them know what is needed. If you don’t get a response, contact your City’s Building Department. City of Medford Building Department: 781-393-2480.
– The new owners of the building are legally required to post their names and addresses in the building. You can also find the owner through a “Property Search” at the Registry of Deeds or at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodmidsth/midsthidx.htm.
– If you are being evicted in court, it is a good idea to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. For those who are low-income and eligible for free legal services, there are agencies that may be able to help. Medford area residents can contact Tri-CAP at 781-322-4125.
– If utilities that the owner was supposed to provide (like water, or common area lights, or heat or hot water) have been shut off or are threatened with shut off, let the bank or the broker know, and also call the Building Department. You may be able to keep service on by paying a projected bill, and can deduct these payments from any rent due. You may also be able to get an order from the Courts ordering the bank to pay the utilities.
– If you have a rental subsidy, let the subsidy agency know about the change in ownership, so that they stop paying the old owner. You should have additional eviction rights because of your subsidy.
– In the event that you have to move out, you can get assistance in finding housing by contacting the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership’s Housing Consumer Education Center at 617-425-6700. You can also add your name to the list in the Medford Office of Community Development to find out about upcoming housing lotteries in Medford: 781-393-2480.
(Thanks to the City of Boston Rental Housing Resource Center for most of the above information)
Contact Information for Housing Resources
Medford Housing Authority, 781-396-7200
Owns and manages Medford’s public housing units for the elderly, disabled and other low income families, as well as managing Medford’s Section 8 housing vouchers.
Serves Medford, Malden and Everett. Programs include Head Start early education,energy assistance, emergency rental assistance and referrals for other needs.
Medford Family Life & Education Center (Shelter, Inc.) 781-391-9116
Aims to prevent homelessness by providing transitional housing and supportive services to families.
Housing Families, Inc., 781-322-9119
Serves Medford, Malden and Everett. Programs to prevent and eradicate homelessness include the provision of shelters, transitional housing, permanent affordable housing, counseling, pro bono legal assistance and academic youth tutoring.
Action for Regional Equity
Coalition of organizations and individuals addressing the related issues of housing and transit through advocacy on regional and statewide policies, and other grassroots solutions.
Boston Tenant Coalition
Information on affordable housing, resources for tenants, and the latest advocacy issues.
Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, 617-399-0491
Public education, advocacy, enforcement and research in order to end illegal housing discrimination. Their website includes information on fair housing laws including tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities under those laws.
Metroplitan Boston Housing Partnership
Assistance for tenants and landlords, including access to vouchers for housing and a wide range of trainings
Citizens Housing and Planning Organization, 617-742-0820
Information on first time homebuyer classes, listing of affordable homeownership and rental lotteries, research on affordable housing, and housing related legislation currently before the legislature.
Homes for Families, 617-227-4188
Engages in advocacy and leadership development aimed at ending homelessness by ensuring the provision of affordable housing and access to education and jobs.
Department of Housing and Community Development
Part of the State government that supports cities and towns by offering programs, housing and funding to serve low to moderate incomes households
Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), 617-330-9955
Resources for communities and developers seeking to create affordable housing, links to information on tenants rights andmortgage information for first time homebuyers.
Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), 617-426-0303
Information on the collective work of the state’s non profit community development corporations (CDCs), which develop most of the state’s private, permanently affordable housing, and the latest on related legislative advocacy issues.
National Low Income Housing Coalition, 202-662-1530
Data on affordable housing and advocacy updates on federal housing programs.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Federal office that manages programs to assist tenants, first time homebuyers, cities and towns, and affordable housing developers. The site includes factual information on housing as well as details on the various programs HUD administers.
National Housing Institute and Shelterforce Magazine
The National Housing Institute publishes Shelterforce Magazine, which explores best practices in the non profit community development field, including affordable housing and other community issues.
Homeownership Preservation Foundation Hotline, 888-995-HOPE (4673)
24/7 Financial counseling services specifically regarding foreclosure prevention from HUD-approved counselors. Urges homeowners to call as early as possible if there is a fear of getting behind on payments
Pro Bono Foreclosure Assistance Hotline, 1-800-342-5297
Advice (potentially also legal assistance or the opportunity to refinance into a more sustainable mortgage) for low income Massachusetts homeowners who are having trouble meeting their mortgage payments. Leave a message in the “foreclosure assistance” voicemail box and your call will be returned. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE IN FORECLOSURE ALREADY TO GET ASSISTANCE! The earlier you call, the better your options will be.
Massachusetts Division of Banks Hotline, 1-800-495-BANK (2265)
For families already facing foreclosure, assistance in getting a delay in the proceedings in order to review options and potentially refinance into a more affordable or sustainable loan