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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
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    34

    Default [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Massachusetts

    I currently live in a house that has gone through a full foreclosure. I was a bone-fide tenant for years before this happened. The previous landlord (whom I was living with) moved out of the home in August of 2019, and in December 2019 I received paperwork that said the bank had purchased the house.

    I receive Chapter 115 benefits, which is financial assistance for veterans living in Massachusetts who are unable to work (in my case for a prolonged back issue that I have been waiting for a year to have surgery on). Prior to moving, the landlord assured me she had paid all the bills up to that point, and that everything was in good order. In mid-August 2019, the town informed me that they would be shutting off the water in a week if the water bill was not paid. She hadn't paid it, and when I moved the trash, gas, and electricity to my name that month as well I found out she had not paid those bills either (I am not on the hook for any of those bills she did not pay). I called my veterans services officer (“VSO”) to inquire about help they could provide, and the next month when I picked up my check was informed—without a notice of action—that they had terminated the rent portion of my check because they believed that the house was abandoned because she had moved to Idaho. I appealed it, and it took until February for a decision to be reached on that appeal. The action was overturned and I was entitled to the back-rent portion. Rather than provide it to me in my next check, they contacted her and asked her to fill out some paperwork, and they'd mail the check directly to her instead. From my understanding, she has since received the check. I have tried to contact her via phone and e-mail, and I know her phone is active, to receive the funds needed to take care of the bills (as we had agreed upon previously) since she was still obligated to handle them, as her housing verification with the town said that electricity and gas in particular were covered. When asked about what the rent was being used for by my VSO in August/September, she had specifically told them it was for “bills and maintenance”, as she was required to do. She appears to be ducking my phone calls, and the e-mail I sent on Friday has not been responded to. In this case, I am loathe to bring in veterans services as I can be held liable for what is going on, so what are my options since this would be interstate to get what I need?

    Second, after the sale in December the bank authorized a realtor to handle the property. I contacted them after I received the letter and the woman I spoke to has been incredibly pushy about getting me out of the house. I even offered to pay rent until I had my surgery (which was suppsoed ot be in January but was cancelled because of health insurance issue, and now with COVID won't be until June/July). I've spoken to her three times despite her claiming that she has “called and e-mailed consistently”. She has never once e-mailed me and every call she's made I have returned promptly. I am under the impression that I am protected by the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act because the foreclosure happened after it was signed back into law by Trump. When I even mentioned this to her she said that the bank didn't need to follow it as “they had no idea there was a tenant when they took over”. Be that as it may, with COVID preventing evictions and they haven't sent me any paperwork to move out at all, I am curious if I will be protected still by the 90-days before an eviction can happen and if I can finally get this surgery done.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,600

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    Do you have a lease? What did this "letter" say? When did the letter arrive?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    I've been a month-to-month tenant since 2015 with no break. I received the letter in mid-December 2019 stating that the house had been bought by the bank and the realtor had been contracted to manage the property. I e-mailed them via the form on their website, complete with my e-mail and phone number. A few days later they called and they asked when I planned to move out. At the time I said I was waiting on back surgery and that at the moment moving wasn't really an option, per my surgeon. She asked how long it would take to recover and, given I've had three surgeries on the same issue, I said between one and three months for full recovery, though one month definitely before I'd be able to do anything. She said the bank probably wouldn't be okay with that and she'd contact them, and call me back (literally, don't call us we'll call you). In January the surgeon cancelled my surgery because of a health insurance screw up and I waited to hear from the bank about what they were planning to do (cash for keys, that kind of stuff). She called a month later, irate I hadn't "returned any of her e-mails or called her" and when I mentioned that she had told me literally to wait for her, she brushed it aside. I explained the situation, she said that wouldn't fly and the bank "would definitely go forward with eviction". I mentioned the PTFA and her response was, and I quote: "The bank is not required to follow it as they didn't know a tenant resided there when they purchased the home." Since then, the only thing I received was from the bank's attorney stating what had been paid and breaking down the fees and the like (which should have gone to the landlord but it is what it is). I have received nothing else from the realtor, bank, or lawyers on any type of eviction, nor have they contacted me since January.

    Also, it should be noted that the landlord had to fill out the verification form themself, to include marking if heat and electricity are included in the rent figure. She said they were, so the town has proof of my claim.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7,860

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    From looking at the act, all they need to do is give you 90 days to be out under (a). Had you had a longer term lease, (b) might have extended that a bit. That is as much as you are legally entitled to unless Taxachusetts has a law that gives you more.
    I am the Mouse Man

  5. #5
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    The realtor sounds incompetent. The PTFA has nothing to do with whether the bank knew there was a tenant or not. That's something you're supposed to find out for yourself when you buy foreclosure properties. Since you've not apparently received notice to vacate yet. Continue making your rent payments to the bank (or whoever is designated to handle it) and ignore them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
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    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    Freeman, I'm aware. I was just curious if after the COVID thing ends will they still have to give me the 90 days or go "naw out bitch or we evict".

    Flying, she sounded pretty...special. And they knew someone was living there because I had spoken to a town representative in November when the public sale happened (which they had to forgo to begin with because they didn't do it right and they did it at a later point). That town rep took down my name and said he'd give it to them, I just couldn't come out and talk to anyone...despite the reason I went out was someone jimmied the lock to get inside and 'have a look around'. As I told him (NG LtCol with a CIB), I almost devalued the property when I heard him stomping up the stairs and he woke me from a dead sleep. Had my gun ready.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7,860

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    Quote Quoting FaheyUSMC
    View Post
    Freeman, I'm aware. I was just curious if after the COVID thing ends will they still have to give me the 90 days or go "naw out bitch or we evict".
    They can give you the notice now, they just can't act on it until any restrictions related to the pandemic are lifted.
    I am the Mouse Man

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,780

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    If it was me, I would just stop paying rent and find another place to live because the only guaranteed outcome of this is that you will eventually have to be physically removed from the property by a sheriff and all your belongings put out on the street (worst case scenario).

    Best you have some money set aside and a place to go so you don't have to scramble at the last minute.

    Yes, you have the 90 day protection under PTFA from the date you are served written notice to vacate.

    Unfortunately, all I can find online about MA eviction moratoriums is talk and proposals and that some courts have delayed evictions until April 21, which really doesn't help you much.

    No matter what the owner did, knew, or said she would do it's meaningless unless you are willing to sue her for any money you think she might owe you.

    I know I am painting a bleak picture here but these situations never end well and you end up throwing money away trying to stay where you are.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,600

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    Eh? I'm not sure why you would advocate not paying a debt that's legally incurred. I do think the suggestion of looking for another place to live is a good one because as soon as the bank/realtor gets their head out of their posterior, they'll start the proper proceedings. But it sounds like the poster already has that in mind, he's only worried about the short term.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: [Ma] Questions Onf Previous Landlord's Actions and Foreclosure As a Trenant

    So as expected the landlord is simply taking the money from the veterans services department and running off with it, despite saying that the rent covers bills (she said this in an e-mail to the veterans services officer). My options are limited as she lives in Idaho now. What are my options to get the money back for her failure to fulfill her obligations?

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