By Bob Katzen
The United States Supreme Court ruled that cities and towns that foreclose on properties on which the owner owes back property taxes, cannot keep all of the profits when the city or town sells the property at auction. Current Massachusetts law allows this practice.
Since 2019, Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) has sponsored a bill at the state level that would have outlawed the practice in the Bay State. He applauded the court’s decision.
“Permitting municipal officials and private, profit-driven companies to prey upon the misfortunes of homeowners, robbing them of every cent of their equity, is unconscionable,” said Montigny. “Homeowners must be provided with enhanced protections so that their residences are not stolen under the guise of a bureaucratic process, and that they have every opportunity to settle their debt. Pushing out senior citizens, people with disabilities, and those facing tremendous personal challenges is atrocious. Local officials who have allowed [this] must immediately reverse their decision and provide restitution to anyone who suffered from this predatory practice. Frankly, those officials are not worthy to serve the public. Prospectively, I hope my bill to protect homeowners will be expedited through the legislative process and signed by the governor so that we can put an end to this shameless profiteering and bring Massachusetts in line with constitutional requirements.”