Housing Court Interprets the Retroactivity of Tenant Protections by Kathryn D. Ryan and Patricia Antonelli, Esq.

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In our previous e-Alert dated September 10, 2010, we reported .on new post-foreclosure tenant protections found in Massachusetts law. Chapter 186A imposes a posting requirement and mandates that “just cause” is necessary to accomplish eviction. Chapter 186A was effective on August 7, 2010, but the legislation does not address its retroactivity to evictions that were already in process on August 7, 2010. Chapter 186A makes it almost impossible for foreclosing lenders who buy at foreclosure sale to establish and follow a schedule for evicting pre-foreclosure tenants. Lenders typically want foreclosed properties vacant for purposes of marketing and selling.

Judge Dina E. Fein of the Western Division Housing Court located in Springfield, Massachusetts has recently applied Chapter 186A in two eviction cases that involve foreclosure sales that took place before the new law’s effective date, reasoning that the legislation is procedural in nature, rather than substantive, and was enacted on an emergency basis.

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