Year: 2004

August 22, 2004

Mold continues to frighten homeowners, infuriate insurance companies, and unnerve property managers, despite a raft of studies concluding that the concerns may be exaggerated, if not unjustified. Several different reports have now challenged the conventional wisdom – made so by media coverage of huge liability judgments – that mold is a health hazard, responsible for many severe and even life-threatening ailments. The most recent of those studies, overseen by the Institute of Medicine (an affiliate [Read More...]

July 22, 2004

The call comes, as these calls always seem to come, at midnight. Water is pouring into two units and an adjoining common area from a breach in the newly installed roof. The trustees contact a contractor, who makes the necessary repairs the next day. The quick action pleases the affected owners, who were not enjoying the waterfall in their living rooms. But, unfortunately, the repair also destroyed the evidence the association needs to pursue a [Read More...]

June 22, 2004

Landlord-tenant relationships have never been held up as models of harmony. Insert them in a condominium community, and an already unstable mix becomes potentially combustible. In almost any homeowners’ association, the subject of rentals will divide owners between those who rent their units or might want to, and those who don’t rent their units and don’t think anyone else should be allowed to either. The nay-sayers cite a host of arguments to support their view [Read More...]

March 22, 2004

It would be hard to think of an area that attracts less attention than notary public services, but concerns about fraud and the illegal practice of law have produced new rules that will mean significant changes for the state’s 130,000 notaries. The rules, embodied in an executive order signed last year by Gov. Mitt Romney, set specific performance standards and impose extensive record-keeping requirements on anyone providing notary public services in Massachusetts. The order, signed [Read More...]

February 22, 2004

It is winter in New England, and, as you have no doubt noticed, a particularly messy one, at that. Some people (one of my partners among them) managed to fly off to much warmer and snowless Houston to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl. I stayed behind to field phone calls–eight in one day alone – from community associations grappling with frozen pipes and the assorted legal and insurance problems they are creating. Typically, [Read More...]

January 22, 2004

A Massachusetts court has delivered a clear and not at all welcome message to community associations, in the form of a $500,000-plus award to a condominium owner as compensation for health problems she claimed resulted from a mold outbreak in her unit. The message: If you’re not concerned about mold and the potential liability it creates for your community, you should be. The suit that produced this award, Stevens v. Fennessy,, apparently represents the [Read More...]