Update: MA State Court Deadlines Postponed Until July 1

MAAPL Coordinator Grace Ross has issued an update to our previous post on  Massachusetts state court cases being postponed. Court case deadlines have been postponed for another month until July 1, 2020 for all non-emergency or lower-priority matters.

Today, May 26, 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) published a new COVID-related order.

The key points are that the courts will physically remain closed, although the clerks are there doing business. If you need to reach them you can call, email, etc. Because of the further extension of deadlines, courts expect to hold more non-emergency hearings virtually than they did previously. (They do not expect this delay to be extended any farther than July 1–unless, God forbid, the pandemic starts getting worse again.)

What you need to know:

1. The Massachusetts moratorium on evictions and foreclosures continues to be in place, and any roles the courts play in that will continue (they mention that directly in the guidance for the first time.) That means summary process/eviction cases are stayed.

A. We are keeping in touch with the courts because of the possibility of misinterpretation. We are deeply concerned about this specifically regarding the moratorium we fought for. It was meant to stop evictions. That should not stop your ability to use the courts to protect against an eviction. We are reaching out to the courts (and if necessary, will bring in our Legislators) to clarify the purpose for putting a stay on eviction cases in the courts.

2. If you have any kind of deadline for a court filing or a tracking order (for instance, a set of dates that say discovery will be due on this date, motions will be due on that date), those are all stayed until July 1.

A. If you had a deadline of, let’s say, 30 days, and the clock on that deadline was supposed to start before March 17, you can figure the new deadline this way: it will be whatever number of days occurred before March 17, and then the clock stops. On July 1 the clock will start again. So you’ll have the remainder of whatever 30 days had not gotten used up by March 17. That will become your new deadline in July.

B. If the other side was supposed to get you something on a court tracking order by a certain date, and their date is now moved to July 1 and your date was after that, you need to figure out the number of days between their deadline and your responsive deadline after that. Then imagine counting your deadline as counting the same number of days after July 1.

3. All jury trials in civil matters will not commence before September 8. All bench trials on the civil side scheduled for any time up to June 30 are now continued to a date no earlier than July 1, 2020.

If you have trouble figuring out when things are due, please be in touch with MAAPL and we’ll help you work out the answer.

We have two concerns:

1. If anyone is trying to pressure or intimidate you, or otherwise deter you from fighting your case in court. All of that is illegal. If they show up on your property that’s still trespassing, and we will use the court to enforce against any of these actions. So let us know if you are experiencing such things.

We are concerned if you need to take action to defend yourself, and that could include emergency needs such as a code violation in your home. Again, let us know, and we’ll make sure you can file in court.

2. Virtual hearings – It is possible that some courts may decide to hold a hearing because they’re trying to get through some of their non-emergency business, which may affect you if you have a case that’s a non-emergency matter sitting idle right now in the courts. They can try to hold such hearings virtually (not for eviction or foreclosure because of the state moratorium, but for other cases).

This deeply concerns us because pro se folks have reported to MAAPL having a harder time doing things by telephone or over the Internet rather than being present in the courtroom. This is a constitutional due process issue, and you should be protected from such a hearing.

If you are not as effective virtually as you would be in person, the courts say (under number three of the 5-26-20 order) that in-person proceedings will be conducted “only where entry to a court house is required to address matters that cannot be resolved virtually,” and they give two reasons why: either “because it’s not practicable or would be inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.”

Your right to your home, whether it’s possession or ownership (that is, the right to occupy and not be evicted, or for instance, a foreclosure), is a constitutional right, and your right to protection through the courts of those constitutional rights is separately also a constitutional right.

So, if a telephonic hearing or a virtual hearing makes you less effective, you should refuse it. If they try to hold such a hearing and it’s not working for you, you should register a complaint right then, and ask that the hearing be rescheduled for an in-person hearing. It’s critical that you put such an objection on the record in the court during the virtual hearing because it’s a constitutional due process violation if you are in any way weaker or less able to function, or handicapped by the fact that the hearing is being held virtually.

Please keep checking back here on MAAPL’s home page. We will continue posting updates on this situation regarding court schedules and related matters.

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More Protection from Foreclosure for Fannie/Freddie Mortgagors!

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has extended its moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for those with Fannie and Freddie mortgages through June 30th, 2020.

On May 14th, 2020, as per its press release:

“…to help borrowers and renters who are at risk of losing their home due to the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are extending their moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least June 30, 2020.  The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. The current moratorium was set to expire on May 17th.

“During this national health emergency, no one should be forced from their home,” said Director Mark Calabria. “Extending the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums protects homeowners and renters with an Enterprise-backed mortgage and provides certainty for families.”

You can read the full press release at https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Extends-Foreclosure-and-Eviction-Moratorium.aspx

Fannie and Freddie lawyers in Massachusetts are violating the existing moratorium. Be aware that they cannot harass or pressure you (although we have examples that they are); they cannot talk to you if you are in an eviction case self-represented — whether to threaten you or try to buy you off; they cannot record any steps in the foreclosures; they cannot advertise nor file an active military service proceeding (mostly in Land Court but not only there).

PLEASE let MAAPL know if you experience any of these violations! Join our Sunday night Info Calls (see the call details in the right sidebar under Join the Next MAAPL Info Call!) or leave us a voicemail or send a fax to MAAPL at 508-630-1686.

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New non-emergency MA Court cases postponed to June 1/July 1

The SJC Court Order for the MA Courts, given the continuing COVID-19 crisis, was posted on Tuesday April 28. The specific orders by each court division have not yet posted, so MAAPL will amend this information once we get the specifics. Appeals Court has now posted as well:


We do know that Housing Court is functioning quite differently because of the Moratorium on evictions (for 120 days or 45 days after state COVID crisis is declared over — see our post on the Moratorium). We will also be posting an update on Registry of Deeds filings because of the postponement of nonjudicial foreclosures.

For the overall functioning of the MA courts, administratively they’re still moving forward. The courthouses are basically closed except for emergency matters. The deadlines for all non-emergency filings have been moved to June 1, 2020. This includes Appeals Court deadlines — some of these will now commence on June 1st; some are “tolled”:


Therefore all briefs or responses to filings are postponed until at least June 1; it may be longer if they fall under the tolling requirements. Tolling is the stopping of a clock on something until a future date restarts the clock. For motions and filings that are covered by the new COVID tolling rule, you’ll take the date that it was due and then, if the clock for counting when it was due started before March 16, you’ll count how many days up until March 16 and then at June 1 that clock will restart with whatever remaining days existed in the time period.

If you’re uncertain about a deadline, feel free to contact MAAPL for help in figuring it out. You can also file a status update to the court in your case (several people have done this) letting the court know what you understand the next deadline to be if it’s looming shortly and you’re not sure.

BEWARE, given the stoppage of all non-emergency eviction cases, we would consider an attempt to evict you without court process, either by pressure or by monetary enticement illegal. Or a post-foreclosure bank or investor may create a violation of a sanitary code (the code for health conditions in your home) to go un-repaired so that it is dangerous. All of these are also an emergency violations. CONTACT MAAPL IMMEDIATELY if any of these happen.In terms of eviction/summary process cases, there should be no forward movement in any of the cases, and the delay cannot be used by the lawyer or the other side to try to pressure you into a resolution. They are simply going to have to wait.

This time period will give you time to research and beef up your legal arguments and get your evidence in order. We strongly suggest you use this time for this purpose; it will help you be stronger and get ahead of the legal issues. We are also continuing to make legal inroads, so the longer you can delay the more likely you are to win in the long run.

One significant concern is that the Housing Court has shut down the e-file system, and some the other courts seem to have done that as well. If you need to file something, 1.  try to file it through the e-file system (see directions below), and 2. if you receive a notice that you can’t file it that way then call the Clerk of the respective court. They have been allowing people to email their filings.

Federal Court cases are continuing, BUT also true of bankruptcy court filings, your can e-mail or fax you materials if you contact the Clerk and prearrange it.

Many of the courts and the Registries of Deeds have drop boxes where you can leave documents. Make sure you record the leaving of such documents by taking a picture of the box so that the phone/picture will have a time and date stamp on it.MAAPL will try to keep updated information here on our home page, so please keep returning here to check for new information.

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VICTORY! Gov. Baker Signs Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions into Law!

Photo of MA State HouseIn historic legislation signed by the Governor yesterday, we got a blanket Moratorium on foreclosures and all evictions, except where the occupant has committed a criminal act that endangered others. This law appears to be in effect for 120 days, or 45 days after the Governor declares the crisis over.

If you made phone calls and talked to legislators in support of the fight to get this Moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, or if you were part of our efforts when we filed legislation for a Moratorium on foreclosures over a year ago, your work and your voice made a real difference. Together, we provided the arguments and the evidence to the legislators—these were key building blocks in getting this bill passed.

Think back: every time that you stepped through the shame and…

  • you told your story to somebody else, especially if you told that story to an elected official or someone else in a position of power,
  • you backed somebody and that story got into the newspaper or on Facebook,
  • you stood up for each other in court, and
  • joined in the effort that led finally to the filing and hearing of the Adjartey and Hilton cases at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in December of 2018…

you moved us closer to this victory for Massachusetts homeowners and tenants.

This Moratorium belongs to each and every one of you, because each of those efforts created a context, so when our society was forced, for unfortunate reasons, to face the fact that a home is indeed as precious as our Constitution says it is, we had enough educated Massachusetts legislators to do the right thing!

THIS is our window of opportunity.

  1. Please use this time to get ahead of your case. Learn, send letters, develop arguments, find your evidence, etc.
  2. Please volunteer time so that we can go on the offensive. You can help from your home or at the office (open regular hours).

Some specifics from the new law: the eviction cases are stopped in Court, but also constables are specifically not allowed to serve eviction orders. The foreclosures—both judicial and non-judicial, and including explicit steps like advertising an auction sale—have been stopped.

BUT be careful—in all your situations, the bank’s agents have broken dozens of laws. Already at least one Freddie, one Fannie and one FHA lawyer have violated the Federal moratoriums! Be watchful and be in touch IMMEDIATELY if they contact you, file in the Registries of Deeds, etc.

MAAPL thanks our many coalition partners who worked together, and especially coordinated the crossover with the new Tenant Rising Coalition with which we share so many members—thanks to Michael Kane of MAHT and Lew Finfer of MCAN.

And special thanks to the numerous state legislators who stayed in touch with us and so many of you while we advocated for the best law possible! (There is at least one urgent repair I’ll be in touch about…)

Grace C. Ross
Coordinator, Mass. Alliance Against Predatory Lending

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Action Alert: Make 3 Calls NOW to Correct and Pass Emergency Moratorium Bill!


Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending

MAAPL: 3 Calls NOW! Monday, April 7th

Massachusetts Senate must Correct AND Pass the Emergency Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions Bill

Your voice gets results! Call your state Senator TODAY! Ask them to get critical changes into the Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium bill.

When the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed its own bill late last week, it deleted crucial enforcement language, misrepresented whom you pay the mortgage to, and allowed too broad exemptions from eviction stoppage.

We all know just how “creative” the Financial Industry gets when they want to take our homes away. Don’t leave them any loopholes. Ask your Senator to make critical changes and vote to protect our homes NOW!

Here’s what you do:

1. If you don’t know who your state Senator is, go to WhereDoIVotema.com. Type in your address. It will tell you who your elected officials are and their phone numbers. Make a note of your state Senator’s name and phone number, then call their office.

2. What do I say?  [Leave a message if no one answers the phone]:

“Hello, my name is _________. I live in [name of your town].

“Please make critical changes to the Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium legislation and then pass it as quick as possible!

“Your Senate bill must:

  • Include Enforcement of Stoppage of Foreclosures and Evictions;
  • Correct too Broad exemptions and Process for Collecting on a Note;
  • Stop every step of the state’s non-judicial foreclosure process;
  • Provide for Notification of Authorities at each of those steps.

“For details, see the email correspondence the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending sent you.

“Please, as my Senator, will you protect our homes during this COVID-19 emergency?

“Thank you.”

3. Please also call:

  • the Senate President’s Office, President Spilka, (617) 722-1640
  • the Senate Ways & Means Committee Chair, Senator Rodrigues (617) 722-1114

with the same message.

When you have finished the call, e-mail Grace Ross, MAAPL coordinator. Tell her who your Senator is and that you asked them to get crucial foreclosure protections in the Senate Moratorium bill: maaplinfo@yahoo.com

Your voice gets results on Beacon Hill—please make your call NOW!

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Update: Some Banks/Landlords Try to Push Evictions Through District Court

A Bank or Landlord seeking to avoid delay by using District Court instead of Housing Court will not avoid the required delay for prosecuting an eviction case.

It has been brought to our attention that entities seeking to evict people may be trying to circumvent the Housing Court being closed by going to District Court.

First, everyone is reminded that if an eviction/summary process is filed in District Court, you have a right to file for it to removed back to Housing Court, and if you so file, it has to be transferred over to the Housing Court. However, at this point an evicting entity attempting to get around the Housing Courts being closed and therefore filing in a District Court will still be postponed.

It appears from the District Court standing order of 2-20 under III paragraph D, that if someone attempts to file an eviction case and follows the rules (uniform summary process rules) for filling out the summons & complaint and scheduling a hearing, the hearing’s normally scheduled, say, 10 days after the date on which the court case has to be entered (‘entry date”).

The standing order will then require that they wait at least 60 days from that date before they will get a scheduled date for the hearing that they listed on the summons and complaint. Therefore, the date required for answer and discovery should likewise be postponed even though that’s not explicit in the order.

You will not get penalized by not e-filing your answer and discovery forms by the answer date listed on the court summons and complaint. Please pass that information along as well.

Thanks for people continuing to ask me (Grace Ross, MAAPL Coordinator) questions. I will continue to research and provide answers to our broad community here on the MAAPL website.

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Clarifying Governor Baker’s remarks of 3/25/2020

Auctions and evictions are still not stopped. Photo of MA State House

On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Governor Baker announced that the Massachusetts Division of Banks is telling Massachusetts banks and credit unions to stop all foreclosure auctions for 60 days. Of course, the vast majority of foreclosures are not done by in-state Massachusetts banks.

For people who have mortgages with Massachusetts lenders, they’re told to be providing a forbearance of mortgage payments for 60 days. That means that for 60 days you can ask for and get a break from making payments. There won’t be any late fees or costs for an online payment. During the 60 days, they will not report any late payments to any credit rating agencies; that borrowers are given another additional 60 days to complete any trial loan modification you’re in the middle of paying on, and that if a servicer for a mortgagee closes their doors or cuts down their hours, they have to provide other avenues for borrowers to be able to manage their accounts and be in touch with them.

They’re requiring Massachusetts banks to reach out to borrowers and give them this information.

The Governor also announced that there will be new help eligible under the RAFT program for tenants and homeowners who are having problems making rent or mortgage payments.

We’re not sure how that interacts with foreclosure and post-foreclosure payment requirements, but are in the midst of researching it. We will post more information as soon as this has been clarified.

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Action Alert: Evictions in MA Are Still Happening, But You Can Help Stop Them!



Until there is an actual, specific announcement for the state of MA that foreclosures and evictions have been halted, please share the following information as broadly as possible:

Forcible eviction in MA can only occur based on a court order, and the housing courts of MA are not processing eviction (“Summary Process”) cases until at least April 21, 2020. BUT in any case where a judgment has been entered and an execution issued, evictions have not been legally stopped.

Executions to evict are carried out with a 48-hour notice (although it may give more than 48 hours). Courts are not aware of, nor involved in, the scheduling of such evictions. The MA Housing Court Division has presently ordered that if you file a motion to request a stay of eviction (except in specific circumstances), those stays are to be granted.

However (you must get this word to everyone), because the doors to the courts are locked, the only way to file for a stay of eviction is electronically.

Please download and follow these instructions for how to submit such a filing. (DOC and PDF)

We will also keep this website updated with any changes in state or federal policy related to stopping evictions and foreclosures.

Please post this everywhere you can!

Because of shame, people will not tell you that they are potentially going to be evicted, so you do not necessarily know who may need this information. With so many foreclosures and post-foreclosure evictions and evictions of tenants still happening, anybody you know could potentially be facing eviction.

Many thanks,

Grace C Ross

P.S. Once you re-post everywhere, you can also call your MA state Rep and Senator and the Governor and ask for an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions…

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National Foreclosure and Eviction News: Updates from MAAPL

Known as of March 17, 2020:

Foreclosures and Evictions have NOT stopped nationally… but there’s good news for those with FHA mortgages! (and maybe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac… )

While Trump did not stop all foreclosures and evictions across the country—the President did order HUD (Housing and Urban Development; an agency of the United States government) to stop the foreclosure of FHA underwritten mortgages and evictions with FHA underwritten mortgages during the formal, COVID-19 federal state of emergency until the end of April…

This is a huge step by the federal government acknowledging that foreclosures and evictions should be stopped because homes are essential to peoples health. However, it does not effect the vast majority of people with mortgages who might be in the foreclosure process or—like in Massachusetts—are fighting an eviction case after a purported foreclosure.

While the Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA: the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) also has apparently told their two organizations to stop foreclosures and evictions, MAAPL knows that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have no personnel who directly track what mortgages they own. This means that the Fannie and Freddie can only give a general order to the mortgage servicers, not a specific one regarding named, individual mortgages.

Additionally, the servicers themselves do not always know if a specific mortgage was purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Therefore, this FHFA statement stopping these foreclosures and evictions may not carry the force it should in individual cases.

But you should know: the Massachusetts Housing Courts are not taking action on eviction (Summary Process) cases until April 21st—unless one of the parties claims it is an emergency.

Please correct everybody you know who may be misinformed about Massachusetts Foreclosures and Evictions during this COVID-19 emergency.

Please post this piece broadly across Facebook and the internet. Trump’s HUD action does not protect the vast majority of people facing foreclosure or an eviction. 

What the country needs is actual legislation at the state level—state by state. Those of you working on your legal foreclosure cases know that almost all the country’s foreclosure-related law is at the state level, not the federal level. No government body at the national level has the authority to stop all foreclosures or evictions across the country.

So, what can you do? 

  1. MAAPL asks you to: support legislation at the state level to stop all foreclosures and evictions. Massachusetts has the ability to do this for Massachusetts residents. Please post this information broadly.
  2. Call your MASSACHUSETTS legislators immediately to co-sponsor HD4935 to halt Massachusetts foreclosures and evictions during its COVID-19 emergency before noon on Friday, March 20th, 2020.

  3. Please share the good news with your friends with FHA mortgages. But don’t believe or spread false promises and misleading information at this very serious time.
  4. Tell everyone you know fighting a Massachusetts foreclosure!  MAAPL holds regular, 5pm Sunday night calls. Dial 515-606-5122, and use the code 794420 when prompted.

For more information on Massachusetts legislative and other anti-foreclosure action, keep checking this website!

Grace C Ross, Coordinator
Mass. Alliance Against Predatory Lending

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Urgent: Call Today to Halt Evictions in MA During Coronavirus Crisis!

MAAPL Call-In NOW!: March 16th (or as soon as you do it!)

Halt Foreclosures & Evictions during COVID-19 Emergency 

Your voice gets results! Call your state Representative & Senator.

Ask each to support HD.4935 &

Halt foreclosures & evictions during the COVID-19 Emergency!

Here’s what you do:

If you don’t know who your state representative and senator are, go to WhereDoIVotema.com. Type in your address. It will tell you whom your elected officials are and their phone numbers. Leave a message if no one answers the phone:

What do I say?

“Hello, my name is                    . I live in name of your town.

Please tell the Senate President & Speaker of the House to immediately pass Rep. Honan & Rep. Connolly’s Bill, HD4935, and halt foreclosures & evictions during this COVID-19 emergency.

In order to be safe and practice social distancing—people need a home!

The foreclosure crisis is still very much with us. Homeowners are fighting 100s of foreclosure auctions throughout the Commonwealth every month. Massachusetts needs this legal protection!

Please, as my Representative/Senator, will you ask the Senate President and Speaker of the House to pass HD4935 now?

Thank you.”

When you have finished the call, e-mail Grace Ross, MAAPL coordinator. Tell her who your Representative/Senator is: maaplinfo@yahoo.com

MAAPL has sent in an amendment to this legislation to add wording to ensure that homeowners get contacted. 

Call today! 

More information below…

Introducing legislation to halt evictions and foreclosures during COVID-19 emergency

State Representative Mike Connolly and Rep. Kevin Honan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, to file legislation to halt evictions and foreclosures in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

The text of the bill, HD.4935, An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID19 Emergency, is available here via .pdf file.

In this time of unprecedented concern over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Baker has declared a State of Emergency and members of the public are being asked to practice social distancing and follow the advice of public health agencies to reduce the spread of the virus.

A moratorium on evictions and foreclosures and related legal proceedings will protect public health and safety by keeping vulnerable residents sheltered, by reducing crowding within the courts and in shelters, and by helping to limit further disruptions and additional strain on our already-fractured social safety net.

The legislation was filed at noontime on Friday, March 13. In addition, the sponsors of the bill are joining with others in calling on Governor Baker and the Courts to use their own authority to halt evictions and foreclosures for the duration of this emergency. To that end, Reps. Connolly and Honan also sent this letter to the Chief Justice of the Housing Court and this letter to the Chief Justice of the Trial Courts.

Your call TODAY can help halt evictions until this crisis has passed. Please call now! Your voice matters to hundreds of families across MA!

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