Once foreclosure begins, can it be stopped? In Massachusetts, the answer is “yes.”
The start of the foreclosure process in Massachusetts begins with a series of notices sent to the homeowner, informing them of the foreclosure sale date. These notices are also published in a local newspaper. While this is the official beginning of the foreclosure process, the homeowner has usually been provided notice of the foreclosure well in advance of these notices, through letters from the bank informing them of the loan default and offering them an opportunity to cure the default. At this point, the sale is scheduled, but has not occurred. Here, there are several options that homeowners can do to stop a foreclosure.
If the homeowner has not applied for a loan modification, they can speak with the lender and see if the lender is willing to consider reviewing them for this loss mitigation assistance. If the homeowner applies far enough in advance of a foreclosure sale, the lender may be willing to do so and postpone the foreclosure. Generally, however, a lender will not postpone a foreclosure sale if a loan modification application is received after a scheduled sale date.
If the lender is unwilling to stop a foreclosure sale, a homeowner may be able to ask a court to stop the foreclosure, if there are grounds for challenging the foreclosure’s validity. A homeowner can request a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to stop a foreclosure. Obtaining the help of an attorney in doing this is highly, highly recommended.
A homeowner can also consider filing bankruptcy to stop foreclosure. A bankruptcy creates an automatic stay against all creditors, including a foreclosure sale. A homeowner, again, should consult with an attorney before taking this action.
After a foreclosure sale occurs, a homeowner still has a right to challenge the foreclosure’s validity. A homeowner can seek a declaratory judgment or another type of court order requesting that the foreclosure be rescinded. While it is possible to stop a foreclosure after a sale has occurred, it is much harder than fighting a foreclosure before a sale has happened. It is, however, not impossible.
If you find yourself facing a foreclosure, contact me for a consultation to see if I can be of help.