WBUR

Mass. Senate Passes Foreclosure Bill

THE STATE HOUSE — A foreclosure prevention bill is headed to the governor’s desk after getting unanimous approval Thursday in the state Senate.

As WBUR’s Bianca Vazquez Toness reports for our Newscast unit:

The bill would require banks to evaluate a homeowner’s ability to pay their mortgage, then modify the loan if it’s cheaper than foreclosing.

“There’s responsibility that goes all around,” said Westfield Sen. Michael Knapik, who was on the committee that negotiated the bill’s final version. “And the sooner we can get to modifications, the sooner we can get all parties to agree, that all works out well.”

“We’re creating that discussion between the borrower and the bankers that we think was lacking in the existing law,” added East Boston Sen. Anthony Petrocelli.

But homeowner advocates say a provision added to the bill without debate would make it difficult for people to sue lenders to get their homes back after illegal foreclosures.

“If their home was taken from them wrongfully, they will not have recourse if the bank is able to sell it quickly enough to an investor, which is the ultimate insult after a long string of insults,” said Eloise Lawrence, an attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.

The bill now awaits Gov. Deval Patrick’s signature.

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