In Massachusetts, a homeowner may have valid legal defenses against the lender in mortgage foreclosure proceedings. In a December 27, 2018 Massachusetts foreclosure case, the issue was whether the foreclosure on the defendants’ home mortgage was void due to the bank’s failure to strictly comply with the provisions in the mortgage. The bank appealed the matter after the trial court ruled that the foreclosure was void.
In Massachusetts, the statutory power of sale requires that, upon default, the lender comply with the terms of the mortgage and all foreclosure laws. In 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held in Pinti that, to effect a valid foreclosure sale, the lender must strictly comply not only with the terms of the actual power of sale in the mortgage, but also with any pre-foreclosure conditions that are required before exercising the power of sale. Thus, a lender’s failure to strictly comply with the notice of default provided in the mortgage renders the foreclosure sale void.
The strict compliance requirements of Pinti apply to any foreclosure case in which an issue with the failure to adhere to the mortgage terms was timely and fairly asserted in the trial court, or for any appeal before July 17, 2017.