Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that will provide homeowners facing foreclosure and tenants in foreclosed apartment buildings extra protections on Saturday.
The legislation has been declared emergency law, “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience” as the state continues to struggle with a high rate of foreclosures; it has more than doubled in the past year.
The new law also makes adjustments to the reverse mortgage process for low income seniors. According to the bill, this includes seniors who have a gross income of less than 50 percent of the average in the area, a figure determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and also must possess assets valued at less than $120,000 (excluding a primary residence).
The new law requires that anyone who fits the description receive written certification from a counselor approved by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs stating that he or she has received counseling in person, relative to the appropriateness of the loan transaction, and has completed the approved counseling program. Then the senior must affirmatively opt in writing for the reverse mortgage loan.
The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association said it was able to delay the reverse mortgage amendments for 24 months to study the impact of the new requirements. For more information on the bill see here.