You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Court backs lenders in home-seizure case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Friday affirmed a lower court decision in favor of mortgage giant Fannie Mae that removes a legal challenge for borrowers fighting foreclosure.

The state’s top court ruled that a so-called “affidavit of sale” is enough for a lender to prove it has the right to seize a home. The affidavit is used by a lender during the auction process to prove it has complied with foreclosure laws.

Continue reading below

Christopher Pitt, president of the Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts, said the process has been in place since 1912. A decision against the affidavits could have put the validity of tens of thousands of foreclosures into question, he said.

“This was a positive outcome,’’ said Pitt. “It could have been much worse.”

The decision is one of several recent state SJC rulings related to foreclosure practices.

The case was first heard in housing court where a judge ruled in favor of Fannie Mae, which was trying to evict tenant Oliver Hendricks of Roslindale, who challenged the seizure claiming the affidavit was “outdated.” The top court said Hendricks’s challenge “offered nothing to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact.”

Richard Vetstein, a Framingham lawyer and author of the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, also applauded the confirmation of the century-old legal practice. He said it will make it harder for borrowers seeking to fight a foreclosure, but there are other areas for them to contest. “The burden shifts to the borrower to bring in evidence,’’ he said.

Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at jmckim@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jbmckim.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.