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General Laws

[Text of section effective until January 1, 2016. For text effective January 1, 2016, see below.]

Section 35A. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Borrower”, a mortgagor of a mortgage loan.

“Borrower’s representative”, an employee or contractor of a non-profit organization certified by Housing and Urban Development, an employee or contractor of a foreclosure education center pursuant to section 16 of chapter 206 of the acts of 2007 or an employee or contractor of a counseling agency receiving a Collaborative Seal of Approval from the Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative administered by the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association.

“Creditor”, a person or entity that holds or controls, partially, wholly, indirectly, directly, or in a nominee capacity, a mortgage loan securing a residential property, including, without limitation, an originator, holder, investor, assignee, successor, trust, trustee, nominee holder, Mortgage Electronic Registration System or mortgage servicer, including the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. “Creditor” shall also include any servant, employee or agent of a creditor.

“Creditor’s representative”, a person who has the authority to negotiate the terms of and modify a mortgage loan.

“Modified mortgage loan”, a mortgage modified from its original terms including, but not limited to, a loan modified pursuant to 1 of the following: (i) the Home Affordable Modification Program; (ii) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Loan Modification Program; (iii) any modification program that a lender uses which is based on accepted principles and the safety and soundness of the institution and recognized by the National Credit Union Administration, the Division of Banks or any other instrumentality of the commonwealth; (iv) the Federal Housing Agency; or (v) a similar federal refinance plan.

“Mortgage loan”, a loan to a natural person made primarily for personal, family or household purposes secured wholly or partially by a mortgage on residential property.

“Net present value”, the present net value of a residential property based on a calculation using 1 of the following: (i) the federal Home Affordable Modification Program Base Net Present Value Model, (ii) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Loan Modification Program; or (iii) for the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency’s loan program used solely by the agency to compare the expected economic outcome of a loan with or without a loan modification.

“Residential property”, real property located in the commonwealth having thereon a dwelling house with accommodations for 4 or less separate households and occupied, or to be occupied, in whole or in part by the obligor on the mortgage debt; provided, however, that residential property shall be limited to the principal residence of a person; provided further, that residential property shall not include an investment property or residence other than a primary residence; and provided further, that residential property shall not include residential property taken in whole or in part as collateral for a commercial loan.

(b) A mortgagor of residential property shall have a 150-day right to cure a default of a required payment as provided in the residential mortgage or note secured by the residential property by full payment of all amounts that are due without acceleration of the maturity of the unpaid balance of the mortgage; provided, however, that if a creditor certifies that: (i) it has engaged in a good faith effort to negotiate a commercially reasonable alternative to foreclosure as described in subsection (c); (ii) its good faith effort has involved at least 1 meeting, either in person or by telephone, between a creditor’s representative and the borrower, the borrower’s attorney or the borrower’s representative; and (iii) after such meeting the borrower and the creditor were not successful in resolving their dispute, then the creditor may begin foreclosure proceedings after a right to cure period lasting 90 days. A borrower who fails to respond within 30 days to any mailed communications offering to negotiate a commercially reasonable alternative to foreclosure sent via certified and first class mail or similar service by a private carrier from the lender shall be deemed to have forfeited the right to a 150-day right to cure period and shall be subject to a right to cure period lasting 90 days. The right to cure a default of a required payment shall be granted once during any 3 year period, regardless of mortgage holder.

(c) For purposes of this section, a determination that a creditor has made a good faith effort to negotiate and agree upon a commercially reasonable alternative to foreclosure shall mean that the creditor has considered: (i) an assessment of the borrower’s current circumstances including, without limitation, the borrower’s current income, debts and obligations; (ii) the net present value of receiving payments pursuant to a modified mortgage loan as compared to the anticipated net recovery following foreclosure; and (iii) the interests of the creditor; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a creditor from considering other factors; provided, further, that the creditor shall provide by first class and certified mail or similar service by a private carrier to a borrower documentation of good faith effort 10 days prior to meeting, telephone conversation or a meeting pursuant to subsection (b).

(d) A borrower who receives a loan modification offer from the creditor resulting from the lender’s good faith effort to negotiate and agree upon a commercially reasonable alternative to foreclosure shall respond within 30 days of receipt of first class or certified mail. A borrower shall be presumed to have responded if the borrower provides: (i) confirmation of a facsimile transmission to the creditor; (ii) proof of delivery through the United States Postal Service or similar carrier; or (iii) record of telephone call to the creditor captured on a telephone bill or pin register. A borrower who fails to respond to the creditor’s offer within 30 days of receipt of a loan modification offer shall be deemed to have forfeited the 150-day right to cure period and shall be subject to a right to cure period lasting 90 days.

(e) Nothing in this section shall prevent a creditor from offering or accepting alternatives to foreclosure, such as a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, if the borrower requests such alternatives, rejects a loan modification offered pursuant to this subsection or does not qualify for a loan modification pursuant to this subsection.

(f) A creditor that chooses to begin foreclosure proceedings after a right to cure period lasting less than 150 days that engaged in a good faith effort to negotiate and agree upon a commercially reasonable alternative but was not successful in resolving the dispute shall certify compliance with this section in an affidavit. The affidavit shall include the time and place of the meeting, parties participating, relief offered to the borrower, a summary of the creditor’s net present value analysis and applicable inputs of the analysis and certification that any modification or option offered complies with current federal law or policy. A creditor shall provide a copy of the affidavit to the homeowner and file a copy of the affidavit with the land court in advance of the foreclosure.

(g) The mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, shall not accelerate maturity of the unpaid balance of such mortgage obligation or otherwise enforce the mortgage because of a default consisting of the mortgagor’s failure to make any such payment in subsection (b) by any method authorized by this chapter or any other law until at least 150 days after the date a written notice is given by the mortgagee to the mortgagor; provided, however, that a creditor meeting the requirements of subsection (b) that chooses to begin foreclosure proceedings after a right to cure period lasting less than 150 days may accelerate maturity of the unpaid balance of such mortgage obligation or otherwise enforce the mortgage because of a default consisting of the mortgagor’s failure to make any such payment in subsection (b) by any method authorized by this chapter or any other law not less than 91 days after the date a written notice is given by the creditor to the mortgagor.

Said notice shall be deemed to be delivered to the mortgagor: (i) when delivered by hand to the mortgagor; or (ii) when sent by first class mail and certified mail or similar service by a private carrier to the mortgagor at the mortgagor’s address last known to the mortgagee or anyone holding thereunder.

(h) The notice required in subsection (g) shall inform the mortgagor of the following:—

(1) the nature of the default claimed on such mortgage of residential real property and of the mortgagor’s right to cure the default by paying the sum of money required to cure the default;

(2) the date by which the mortgagor shall cure the default to avoid acceleration, a foreclosure or other action to seize the home, which date shall not be less than 150 days after service of the notice and the name, address and local or toll free telephone number of a person to whom the payment or tender shall be made unless a creditor chooses to begin foreclosure proceedings after a right to cure period lasting less than 150 days that engaged in a good faith effort to negotiate and agree upon a commercially reasonable alternative but was not successful in resolving the dispute, in which case a foreclosure or other action to seize the home may take place on an earlier date to be specified;

(3) that, if the mortgagor does not cure the default by the date specified, the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, may take steps to terminate the mortgagor’s ownership in the property by a foreclosure proceeding or other action to seize the home;

(4) the name and address of the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, and the telephone number of a representative of the mortgagee whom the mortgagor may contact if the mortgagor disagrees with the mortgagee’s assertion that a default has occurred or the correctness of the mortgagee’s calculation of the amount required to cure the default;

(5) the name of any current and former mortgage broker or mortgage loan originator for such mortgage or note securing the residential property;

(6) that the mortgagor may be eligible for assistance from the Homeownership Preservation Foundation or other foreclosure counseling agency, and the local or toll free telephone numbers the mortgagor may call to request this assistance;

(7) that the mortgagor may sell the property prior to the foreclosure sale and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage;

(8) that the mortgagor may redeem the property by paying the total amount due, prior to the foreclosure sale;

(9) that the mortgagor may be evicted from the home after a foreclosure sale; and

(10) the mortgagor may have the following additional rights, depending on the terms of the residential mortgage: (i) to refinance the obligation by obtaining a loan which would fully repay the residential mortgage debtor; and (ii) to voluntarily grant a deed to the residential mortgage lender in lieu of foreclosure.

The notice shall also include a declaration, in the language the creditor has regularly used in its communication with the borrower, appearing on the first page of the notice stating: “This is an important notice concerning your right to live in your home. Have it translated at once.”

The division of banks shall adopt regulations in accordance with this subsection.

(i) To cure a default prior to acceleration under this section, a mortgagor shall not be required to pay any charge, fee or penalty attributable to the exercise of the right to cure a default. The mortgagor shall pay late fees as allowed pursuant to section 59 of chapter 183 and per-diem interest to cure such default. The mortgagor shall not be liable for any attorneys’ fees relating to the mortgagor’s default that are incurred by the mortgagee or anyone holding thereunder prior to or during the period set forth in the notice required by this section. The mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, may also provide for reinstatement of the note after the 150-day notice to cure has ended.

(j) A copy of the notice required by this section and an affidavit demonstrating compliance with this section shall be filed by the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, in any action or proceeding to foreclose on such residential real property.

(k) A copy of the notice required by this section shall also be filed by the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, with the commissioner of the division of banks. Additionally, if the residential property securing the mortgage loan is sold at a foreclosure sale, the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, shall notify the commissioner of the division of banks, in writing, of the date of the foreclosure sale and the purchase price obtained at the sale.


Chapter 244: Section 35A. Right of residential real property mortgagor to cure a default; notice required to accelerate maturity of balance; contents of notice; late fees; filing

[Text of section as amended by 2010, 258, Sec. 8 effective January 1, 2016. See 2010, 258, Sec. 14. For text effective until January 1, 2016, see above.]

Section 35A. (a) Any mortgagor of residential real property located in the commonwealth, shall have a 90-day right to cure a default of a required payment as provided in such residential mortgage or note secured by such residential real property by full payment of all amounts that are due without acceleration of the maturity of the unpaid balance of such mortgage. The right to cure a default of a required payment shall be granted once during any 5-year period, regardless of the mortgage holder. For the purposes of this section, “residential property”, shall mean real property located in the commonwealth having thereon a dwelling house with accommodations for 4 or less separate households and occupied, or to be occupied, in whole or in part by the mortgagor; provided, however, that residential property shall be limited to the principal residence of a person; provided further, that residential property shall not include an investment property or residence other than a primary residence; and provided further, that residential property shall not include residential property taken in whole or in part as collateral for a commercial loan.

(b) The mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, shall not accelerate maturity of the unpaid balance of such mortgage obligation or otherwise enforce the mortgage because of a default consisting of the mortgagor’s failure to make any such payment in subsection (a) by any method authorized by this chapter or any other law until at least 90 days after the date a written notice is given by the mortgagee to the mortgagor.

Said notice shall be deemed to be delivered to the mortgagor: (i) when delivered by hand to the mortgagor; or (ii) when sent by first class mail and certified mail or similar service by a private carrier to the mortgagor at the mortgagor’s address last known to the mortgagee or anyone holding thereunder.

(c) The notice required in subsection (b) shall inform the mortgagor of the following:—

(1) the nature of the default claimed on such mortgage of residential real property and of the mortgagor’s right to cure the default by paying the sum of money required to cure the default;

(2) the date by which the mortgagor shall cure the default to avoid acceleration, a foreclosure or other action to seize the home, which date shall not be less than 90 days after service of the notice and the name, address and local or toll free telephone number of a person to whom the payment or tender shall be made;

(3) that, if the mortgagor does not cure the default by the date specified, the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, may take steps to terminate the mortgagor’s ownership in the property by a foreclosure proceeding or other action to seize the home;

(4) the name and address of the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, and the telephone number of a representative of the mortgagee whom the mortgagor may contact if the mortgagor disagrees with the mortgagee’s assertion that a default has occurred or the correctness of the mortgagee’s calculation of the amount required to cure the default;

(5) the name of any current and former mortgage broker or mortgage loan originator for such mortgage or note securing the residential property;

(6) that the mortgagor may be eligible for assistance from the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency and the division of banks and the local or toll free telephone numbers the mortgagor may call to request this assistance;

(7) that the mortgagor may sell the property prior to the foreclosure sale and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage;

(8) that the mortgagor may redeem the property by paying the total amount due, prior to the foreclosure sale;

(9) that the mortgagor may be evicted from the home after a foreclosure sale; and

(10) the mortgagor may have the following additional rights, depending on the terms of the residential mortgage: (i) to refinance the obligation by obtaining a loan which would fully repay the residential mortgage debtor; and (ii) to voluntarily grant a deed to the residential mortgage lender in lieu of foreclosure.

The notice shall also include a declaration, appearing on the first page of the notice stating: “This is an important notice concerning your right to live in your home. Have it translated at once.”

The division of banks shall adopt regulations in accordance with this subsection.

(d) To cure a default prior to acceleration under this section, a mortgagor shall not be required to pay any charge, fee, or penalty attributable to the exercise of the right to cure a default. The mortgagor shall pay late fees as allowed pursuant to section 59 of chapter 183 and per-diem interest to cure such default. The mortgagor shall not be liable for any attorneys’ fees relating to the mortgagor’s default that are incurred by the mortgagee or anyone holding thereunder prior to or during the period set forth in the notice required by this section. The mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, may also provide for reinstatement of the note after the 90 day notice to cure has ended.

(e) A copy of the notice required by this section and an affidavit demonstrating compliance with this section shall be filed by the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, in any action or proceeding to foreclose on such residential real property.

(f) A copy of the notice required by this section shall also be filed by the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, with the commissioner of the division of banks. Additionally, if the residential property securing the mortgage loan is sold at a foreclosure sale, the mortgagee, or anyone holding thereunder, shall notify the commissioner of the division of banks, in writing, of the date of the foreclosure sale and the purchase price obtained at the sale.

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