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New Mass. law toughens foreclosure safeguards

Associated Press | 8/10/2010, 9:47 p.m.

“Because many of the provisions (of the law) kick in immediately, it is going to cause some confusion in the market,” said Skarin. “Our members have been scrambling to try to comply with the law.”

Lawmakers said the legislation was designed not just to help individual homeowners and tenants, but to fend off blight that can come from too many foreclosed properties in a single area.

“When a property lays vacant and abandoned it is an invitation to drug addicts and vandals, and can be a general eyesore to a whole neighborhood,” said House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Charles Murphy, D-Burlington.

The bill also creates a new property tax exemption that lets a charitable organization that acquires a foreclosed property — and plans to create low and moderate income affordable housing there — to be exempt from property taxes until it rents or leases the property.

The exemption would expire seven years after purchase.

The new law comes as the state continues to struggle with high numbers of foreclosures.

There were 1,313 foreclosure deeds recorded in Massachusetts last month, compared with 628 in June 2009, according to The Warren Group, an independent publisher of real estate data.

Associated Press