Year: 2014

March 13, 2014

BLAME THE WEATHER.  Economists are blaming the unusually harsh winter for declines in home sales, manufacturing and consumer spending, among other key indicators. Some were beginning to worry that the weather might not be entirely responsible, but a stronger-than-expected February employment report appears to have eased those concerns, at least for now. ANOTHER INDEX. The unemployment rate and consumer confidence index are key gauges of economic health, but they aren’t the only ones. The “divorce [Read More...]

March 4, 2014

Condominium law is different from condominium rules. Rules are made to be broken – or so it seems in some condominium communities, where owners regularly ignore rules and boards enforce them inconsistently, if at all. At the other extreme you will find communities in which rules overflow from War and Peace-sized volumes, where no infraction, however small or insignificant, goes unnoticed or un-fined. The best strategy lies somewhere in between, with enough rules to make [Read More...]

March 2, 2014

LIFTING THE CLOUDS. The Massachusetts Legislature is moving to clean up the title mess created by a 2011 state Supreme Judicial Court ruling that a foreclosure was invalid because the financial institutions did not have physical possession of the mortgage when they initiated the foreclosure proceedings. That decision (U.S. Bank vs. Ibanez) clouded the titles of hundreds of properties purchased in foreclosure sales. The pending legislation, approved by the Senate and awaiting action in the [Read More...]

February 17, 2014

DATA DISASTER. The fallout from the gargantuan data breeches at Target and other retailers continues to spread. Banks estimate that the massive data breach at Target alone has cost them $172 million – so far. The costs for consumers will be both direct and indirect. Ken Harney points out in a recent column that fraudulent use of stolen credit card information could saddle innocent owners with charges they didn’t incur and credit accounts they didn’t [Read More...]

February 13, 2014

  This office’s recent $12,250,000.00 settlement of a construction defect lawsuit filed by One Charles Condominium provides a noteworthy example of how a dedicated board and a committed team of professionals can effectively manage and successfully resolve even the most complex and challenging litigation matters. The One Charles Condominium is a luxury condominium building located on Charles Street in downtown Boston. The project was developed by MDA Park, LLC, a single purpose entity related to [Read More...]

February 3, 2014

BANNED IN BRITAIN. The Federal Drug Administration is still considering whether and how to control e-cigarettes, but Great Britain has made that decision. Regulators there have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, citing concerns about potential adverse health impacts and the need for more research on the product. FLOOD GATES. The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America has joined a long list of real estate industry trade groups [Read More...]

January 13, 2014

HEALING PROCESS. A strong sales pace has reduced the inventory of unsold existing condominiums and co-ops to a 4.6 months’ supply. Average prices have increased by 17.7 percent over the past year, according to industry statistics. . CONSTRUCTION COSTS. The rising price of lumber – up 30 percent over the past year – is narrowing the construction cost gap between high-rise and garden-style apartments as wood frame becomes almost as expensive as steel. BOOMERANG BOOST. [Read More...]

January 13, 2014

What’s in a name? When it comes to warning condominium owners about sexual predators living in their community, the condominium law answer is: The potential for huge liability and immense damage awards if the individual identified as a predator turns out not to be one. A South Carolina condominium board made that mistake recently and the association is paying the $890,000 cost of that error. The board of this resort community circulated a flyer obtained [Read More...]