Housing Court 101
Anyone involved in foreclosure defense needs to understand Massachusetts’s Housing Court and how this specialized forum works for these types of cases.
Housing Court was originally created as a court for housing matters in the City of Boston. Later, its jurisdiction was expanded to cover others parts of the state. Currently, there are five divisions of Housing Court in Massachusetts:
- Boston Housing Court
- Northeast Housing Court
- Southeast Housing Court
- Worcester Housing Court
- Western Housing Court
- Housing Court has been responsible for many, many favorable decisions for homeowners in post-foreclosure cases. Housing Court is seen by many to be a pro-homeowner, pro-tenant court.
- Housing Court judges are familiar with post-foreclosure summary process cases because they preside over so many of them. Plus, the odds are really good that the same judge will hear the case from beginning to end, compared to District Court, where the presiding judge may change on a weekly basis.
- Housing Court often requires parties to go to mediation. If you are representing yourself, mediation can be helpful in reaching a settlement (bear in mind, however, that a mediator is not a lawyer and will not provide legal advice. If you intend to fight your case to the end, you are better off speaking to an attorney).
Overall, the best advantage of Housing Court is knowing who your judge is. Because the issues in post-foreclosure summary process cases tend not to vary a great deal, there is an excellent chance the judge you will be before has heard the issues in your case before. That gives you the advantage of knowing how the judge will approach your case, and allows you to proceed accordingly.