After a home is foreclosed in Massachusetts, an eviction case is almost always required to obtain possession of the property from those persons remaining in the home. A foreclosure only changes ownership of a property, not possession. For possession, a court eviction is required.
For background on the Massachusetts foreclosure process, read my published article on this complex (and ever-changing) area of law.
Former Owner or Former Tenant?
The threshold question for all evictions after foreclosure is determining who remains in the home after the foreclosure sale. Generally, the remaining occupants are either (1) former owners of the home or (2) tenants.
For the latter, Massachusetts law has several specific protections in place for tenants who had a bona fide lease or tenancy at the time of foreclosure. When dealing with such tenants who remain in a foreclosed property, special attention must be paid to these protections and when an eviction against such a tenant is allowed (I will cover this topic in a later blog post).
For former homeowners, the owner of a foreclosed home may pursue an eviction on the grounds that the occupant is a tenant at sufferance and does not have permission to be in the home.
A Massachusetts eviction must always be pursued in court. A “self-help” eviction, where the landlord/owner tries to get rid of a tenant without court intervention, is never allowed and can get a landlord/owner into huge trouble.
Eviction cases are generally filed in Housing Court or District Court. The timeframe for such a case can vary, based on a number of different factors.
Former owners are permitted to challenge the underlying validity of the foreclosure in one of these cases. Massachusetts law requires “strict compliance” for foreclosures, and a mistake in this process can invalidate the property’s ownership. This, in turn, can be an eviction defense.
For this reason, those pursuing evictions after foreclosure need to ensure that the process was done correctly.
If you need assistance with such a case, contact me for a consultation.