Court ruling turns up heat on Mass. tax lien law that costs homeowners their equity (GBH)

Below is an excerpt from an article published by GBH on April 22 highlighting a recent Hampden County court case decision that cracks down on predatory Massachusetts tax lien practices. Greater Boston Legal Services’ Senior Housing Attorney Todd Kaplan is quoted


A new ruling from the Hampden Superior Court in Springfield has found that a Massachusetts law permitting cities and towns to take homes or other real estate from tax delinquent owners – including their equity – is unconstitutional.

The ruling echoes a similar conclusion from the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

The Hampden decision marks the first time a Massachusetts court has declared unconstitutional this longstanding practice by dozens of cities and towns in the state. Housing attorneys and lawmakers told GBH News it could spur more action by state courts and the legislature to abolish the practice.

Last year the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously that tax lien foreclosures that also take property owners’ equity — beyond the tax bills they owe — are unconstitutional. And many critics say Massachusetts has acted too slowly to bring its laws in line with nation’s highest court’s decision.

Read more at GBH.