Housing Advocates Frustrated by Anti-Foreclosure Bill

As Massachusetts’ anti-foreclosure bill heads to the Governor’s desk, some housing advocates are urging him to make it stronger before he signs it. 

Many legislators are hailing the bill as a ground-breaking effort to slow the rate of home foreclosures in Massachusetts. Its key provision requires banks to assess whether foreclosing actually makes more money than modifying the home loan — if not, banks need to work towards modification, and allow more homeowners to stay in their homes. But some housing advocates are frustrated because they say the bill leaves out some critical pieces, including mandatory negotiating by banks before any foreclosure. And they say last-minute wrangling over the bill introduced measures that would reduce homeowner’s legal options. A coalition of consumer groups has sent Governor Deval Patrick a letter asking him to amend the bill before signing. Malcolm Chu of the Springfield organization, No-One-Leaves, says the current version is simply too weak to help homeowners.

But Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakely says she believes the bill will protect consumers — and she says she doesn’t think the most recent compromises will infringe on homeowner’s rights.