In Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Law School News reports:
- Groundbreaking legislation originally drafted by students from the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) to protect tenants from losing their homes after foreclosure was signed into law on August 7 by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick ’82, former president of HLAB. [...] The new law, if applied appropriately, will be a very important tool in keeping people in their homes and protecting neighborhoods from falling into decay, says [HLAB Director and Clinical Professor of Law David] Grossman. “It provides rights to tenants that no law in Massachusetts has for years,” he says. “It could solve the problem that’s plagued our communities and cost us thousands of hours trying to solve in a less-efficient fashion, through litigating against banks in court.”
- HLAB students drafted what is considered the heart of the bill, a critically important “just cause” section that prohibits banks from evicting tenants from foreclosed-on properties unless the tenant fails to pay rent, harms the property, or otherwise gives “just cause” for eviction. It is believed to be the first “just cause” law in the country pertaining specifically to tenants in foreclosed-on properties.
- In addition, the bill imposes a longer pre-foreclosure period on banks that don’t make a good-faith attempt to restructure loans with homeowners, and it criminalizes mortgage fraud. It also provides property tax exemptions for purchasers of foreclosed properties.