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 |  Wicked Local

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell recently reminded Norfolk County homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage or facing foreclosure that there are consumer programs available to help them out.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of upheaval in all our lives,” O’Donnell said. “Some more than others. Some of our neighbors have been furloughed or lost their jobs all together due to the economic impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the beginning of the pandemic, policy makers at the state and federal levels recognized the impact the pandemic was having on the ability of many to pay their mortgages and rents. A moratorium was put in effect which suspended foreclosure and eviction proceedings.” 

The moratorium expired on Oct. 17.

“While the pandemic has been ongoing, the Norfolk Registry of Deeds has been working in close cooperation with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office monitoring protections afforded to homeowners affected by the COVID-19 state of emergency through Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures, during the COVID-19 emergency as well as protections put in place by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub L. 116-136,” O’Donnell said. “We are very sensitive to how this pandemic has caused upheaval in people’s lives, and want to do our part to ensure compliance with the CARES Act.”

To help those facing issues paying their mortgage, the Registry of Deeds has partnered with non-profit agencies by promoting their services when it comes to mortgage modification and foreclosure programs. Homeowners can contact Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181, ext. 376 or NeighborWorks Housing Solutions at 508-587-0950, ext. 46. Another option available is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division at 617-727-8400. 

“All of these agencies provide a range of assistance from helping with the mortgage modification process, providing legal services, and offering credit counseling,” O’Donnell said. “For more information on these and other support options, go to the registry’s website http://norfolkdeeds.org, click on the ‘Support’ tab and then click on the subtab that mentions Foreclosure Assistance.”

O’Donnell also warned homeowners against falling prey to for-profit companies who offer loan modification and credit counseling services but charge an exorbitant fee. 

“Even in these times of COVID-19, unscrupulous for-profit foreclosure relief and mortgage modification companies are in some cases preying on vulnerable homeowners,” O’Donnell said. “They make unrealistic promises and charge a lot of money for doing so. If one of these companies is telling you something that is too good to be true, it probably is.”

O’Donnell said check out any for-profit foreclosure relief and mortgage modification company before entering into a contract with them.

“There are important discussions ongoing at the State House surrounding the foreclosure and eviction moratorium issue,” O’Donnell said. “Hopefully, state officials and stakeholders can come to a resolution that satisfies all parties. With the foreclosure and eviction moratorium rescinded, many individuals and families are faced with some very difficult decisions. It is truly tragic that so many are having issues paying their mortgages and facing foreclosure through no fault of their own. If you or a loved one are in this situation, it would be prudent to sit down with a reputable non-profit agency such as Quincy Community Action Programs, NeighborWorks Housing Solutions or the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office to discuss what options are available. The registry is always glad to help those facing a mortgage delinquency or foreclosure crisis by directing them to one of these fine agencies. Each of these organizations are there to serve your needs in a professional and honorable manner.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives like us at http://facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on http://twitter.com/NorfolkDeeds and http://instagram.com/NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High St., Dedham. The registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the registry’s website http://norfolkdeeds.org. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at 781-461-6101, or email us at registerodonnell@norfolkdeeds.org.



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