Chipman bill to protect families facing foreclosure becomes law

Posted: June 09, 2017 | Senator Chipman

Law protects Mainers from premature eviction during foreclosure proceedings

Mainers undergoing foreclosure will be protected from being prematurely evicted from their homes under a bill by Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, that became law this week.

“Families undergoing foreclosure are already in a stressful situation,” said Sen. Chipman. “They deserve the time necessary to line up new living arrangements so that they can move on with their lives as best as they’re able, without the fear that the rug will be prematurely pulled out from under them. We cannot allow shady actors to prey on families in these situations.”

There is typically a 90-day period after the entry of a foreclosure judgement during which the lender cannot begin the foreclosure sale process. This period allows homeowners to make new living accommodations if they’re unable to salvage their mortgage. This bill would codify that practice into law.

Most foreclosure lawyers and banking institutions honor the 90-day window, believing that the borrower’s right to possession continues until the end of this period. One foreclosure lawyer, however, has been asking that foreclosure judgements allow for immediate issuance of writs of possession, which allow lenders to evict homeowners before the 90-day period expires.

The law — LD 880 “An Act To Protect a Homeowner’s Equity of Redemption in a Foreclosure Action” — clarifies that homeowners under foreclosure may remain in their homes for the full 90-day period. The law protects the mortgagee’s right to protect the mortgaged property. According to a CoreLogic report from January, Maine has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.