A decree foreclosing the right of the equity owners, Irene Anderson and June DeMeritte, to redeem the premises at 21 Woodbine Street in the Roxbury District of Boston, in the County of Suffolk, was entered by this Court on August 21, 1979. A deputy sheriff served the equity owners by leaving the citation at what his return describes as their last and usual abode. When a sale by the city of the premises recently was scheduled, this Court refused to issue an order restraining the city from conducting the sale. Thereafter, June DeMeritte, one of the equity owners, brought a petition to vacate the final decree and set aside the sale to Gregory Knight.
A hearing was held on the plaintiff's petition on March 12, 1982 at which counsel for the plaintiff in the proceedings to vacate was detained in the bankruptcy court and his associate who was present was unfamiliar with the facts. The plaintiff did address the Court and stated that her mother and co-owner was hospitalized from the effect of a stroke, that the plaintiff had undergone open heart surgery, that she had been renting the property from the city, that there was neither heat nor water in the premises, that she knew of the sale only from a neighbor, that she has no other place to live, and that after she was told of the sale, she then sought legal assistance. It also appeared that the final decree was entered by default, that no finding then was made of the amount necessary to redeem but that the city was owed well over $4,000 at the time of the entry of the decree and that the amount now due has burgeoned, to over $7,000.
While I have no doubt that this Court has inherent power to vacate its decree when justice requires, the applicable statute, G. L. c. 60 §69A provides that "no petition to vacate a decree of foreclosure entered under section sixty-nine and no proceeding at law or in equity for reversing or modifying such a decree shall be commenced by any person other than the petitioner except within one year after the final entry of the decree..." Difficult though this case is and sympathetic though I am with the plaintiff's plight, she having no other place to live, I must on the facts recited above deny the petition to vacate. However, I will allow the plaintiff to remain in the premises until May 1, 1982.