Under Massachusetts law, what can a creditor do to collect a deficiency?


In Massachusetts creditors have numerous rights in terms of collecting on a deficiency balance owed to them. Initially, we would prepare a demand letter and see if there is a response. Often times a debtor will begin to take the creditor seriously if they see a letter from an attorney’s office. If there is no response, we would then proceed with either a small claims suit ( for claims less than $7,000) or a civil suit ( for claims greater than $7,000).  The creditor has a number of options from the outset of the case including attachment of real estate, bank accounts and wage garnishment. Once the debtor is served with the Complaint they will have twenty days to file a response. If the matter is truly uncontested ( as is typical in matters where the debtor simply does not have the funds or is trying to avoid payment as opposed to the situation where there is a dispute between the parties) and the debtor does not respond to the Complaint within 20 days we will then proceed to file a Request for a Default Judgment and thereafter the Execution.  The Execution is a court document that is good for 20 years from the date of issuance ( and can be renewed thereafter) which says that the debtor owes the money to the creditor.  The Execution allows the creditor to place liens on real estate and in some instances, depending upon how the property is owned, to force a sale of the real estate, seize assets, including vehicles, business assets, tools, etc. If the debtor does not have any assets we typically would proceed with a post judgment debtor examination in Court before a Judge where a Judge would order a payment plan based upon the debtor’s finances. If the debtor fails to appear at this hearing then an arrest capias would issue and the debtor would need to appear in Court at a pre-determined time by the Sheriff’s Office or risk being physically arrested and brought into Court.

Our firm prides itself on our aggressiveness in terms of the enforcement of post judgment Executions and protecting the rights of the creditors that we represent.

The Greater Boston business lawyers at Goldberg & Oriel represent individuals, families, and businesses throughout Massachusetts.   Located in Framingham, Massachusetts our business attorneys serve the entire Boston region including the communities of Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brockton, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Canton, Dedham, Framingham, Lexington, Marlborough, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Quincy, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, and Worcester.