The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the banks today in a challenge to the City of Springfield’s foreclosure ordinances. The Court held that towns and cities are not permitted to pass local ordinances that conflict with state foreclosure law. In essence, the Court held that the state legislature–and the state legislature alone– is responsible for Massachusetts foreclosure law.
While these local ordinances would have been beneficial to homeowners facing foreclosure, the Court’s decision makes sense. Foreclosure law has always come from state statute and the creation of anti-foreclosure protections by local towns and cities, while noble, is a job really left for the Legislature. I agree with the Court’s concluding remarks in the case, which read:
We recognize that the city of Springfield has attempted to address the serious problem of urban blight within its borders through these ordinances. Although we conclude that the city may not achieve its goal by ordinance as it has here attempted, a solution may be provided through the Legislature.
Hopefully, the Court’s decision will encourage state lawmakers to take on these challenges in the upcoming legislative session.