Category: General

While Condominiums are not eligible for the SBA’s forgivable loan Paycheck Protection Program, many condominium industry vendors have applied for and participated in the program.  On May 15, 2020, the SBA issued further clarification on finer points of the program and also released the form for participating borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness.  For the Application [click here]. Notable and Clarified Items Measurement Period – Borrowers may elect an alternative payroll cost measurement period to more [Read More...]

Many condominiums in Massachusetts have access to beaches.  On May 18, 2020, Governor Baker re-opened Massachusetts Beaches with restrictions. The highlight of the restrictions is that no groups of more than 10 may congregate at the beach and that people sitting or congregating in an areas of the beach must remain 12 feet apart from other groups.  Also, no sports may be played on the beach.  Masks must be worn where social distancing is not [Read More...]

CONSTRUCTION LIMITATIONS On May 18, 2020 Governor Baker laid the groundwork for phased re-opening of Massachusetts.  The soft re-opening starts with construction, manufacturing and places of worship.  The protocols for construction projects in Massachusetts are intense. Construction protocols should be of concern to condominium boards and property managers that are dealing with common area construction projects, as they will need to ensure that contractors that they hire are compliant with the regulations.  Condominium construction projects [Read More...]

In order to help struggling Rhode Island Businesses, the Rhode Island Superior Court has implemented a new receivership program (kind of like a bankruptcy reorganization without the stigma) to protect businesses from creditors during the COVID-19 crisis.  I mention this program for two reasons.  Because it is something business that can’t get SBA or PPP loans might want to take advantage of.  Secondly, other organizations that may be creditors or in business with some companies [Read More...]

Henry A. Goodman, is a Partner in our firm specializing in condominium law, corporations, general real estate matters, and civil litigation, with 25% of his practice devoted to litigation. He is a member of the Massachusetts federal and state bars, the Rhode Island bar, and the state of Florida bar. Goodman, who was involved in the initial drafting of the Massachusetts “Super Lien,” is considered to be the first attorney in Massachusetts to concentrate in [Read More...]

Ellen A. Shapiro, a partner of the firm, has close to 25 years of experience in condominium and community association law. A former prosecutor for the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office, Shapiro is implemental to the firm's Massachusetts lien enforcement department, which brings her to almost all of the state courts on a routine basis. In addition to her experience as a community association attorney, Shapiro, who is certified in Mediation and Condominium Dispute Resolution [Read More...]

A founding partner in the firm, Seth was among the first attorneys in Massachusetts to recognize condominium law as a specialty and develop a practice around it. He has represented condominium associations and developers since 1976, focusing particularly on the day-to-day issues related to the governance and management of condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner associations. Seth has used his experience helping communities cope with poorly drafted documents to help developer clients avoid many of those problems. [Read More...]

You’ve learned condo board lessons from The Godfather, now it’s time to learn lessons from The Office.  The source of most of the wisdom comes directly from Michael Scott’s complete lack thereof.  “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.”  – Michael Scott  Of course this is patently false! But the takeaway that is an expert [Read More...]

In response to the increased number of requests for assistance animals in housing accommodations throughout the country, on January 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance clarifying how housing providers, including condominium and community associations, should handle such requests.  The new guidance addresses some of the questions that have arisen in the past few years, including the trend of online certificates and certifications of disabilities. As a result of [Read More...]

Anthony is an associate in the firm’s Litigation Department. He joined the firm in 2019 and focuses his practice on real estate, condominium, and contract litigation. Prior to joining the firm, he was part of the Accelerator Practice Clinic at Suffolk University Law School. There he represented indigent tenants in landlord/tenant disputes/eviction cases. He was a Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Fellow and taught Constitutional Law to high school seniors in Dorchester, MA. He also coached the [Read More...]

Once upon a time, Whitman Pond Village Condominium initiated a lien enforcement case against a unit owner that failed to pay her condo fees.  Upon obtaining a default judgment against both the unit owner and her first mortgage holder, the Condo ultimately foreclosed on the unit in order to recoup the unpaid fees as well as the legal fees and costs incurred in the lien enforcement process.  After foreclosure, the Condominium held sale proceeds that [Read More...]

Technology is changing our environment in so many ways, it’s difficult to keep up. This is especially true in the home security business. I’m constantly hearing ads about the newest ways to monitor your home while you are away, or how to sync your surveillance cameras with your phone to watch your pets all day at work. There are obvious advantages to these new systems – I love the idea of making sure no one [Read More...]

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently issued a decision involving a landlord’s ability to request use and occupancy payments while a tenant lemans in a unit during an eviction proceeding.  The court said: The question presented in this case is whether a judge has authority to issue orders for interim use and occupancy payments during the pendency of a summary process eviction action, and, if so, the circumstances under which it is appropriate to exercise that [Read More...]

WHEN MANAGERS RECEIVE A LETTER THREATENING A WRONGFUL ACTION BY BOARD  TIPS: Some policies consider a claim a letter stating wrongdoing e.g. breach of fiduciary duty, failure to repair a leaking roof. Some policies do not consider a claim having occurred until a suit is filed or a claim filed with a regulatory body. When a manager receives a letter threatening suit or stating board or manager did something wrong, you should send letter and [Read More...]

Is there anything more annoying than realizing that your vehicle registration or inspection sticker has expired or is about to expire?  I let my registration lapse once when I was on summer vacation with my family.  On our first day of vacation, my wife let me sleep in.  She got up early and took our young children to buy muffins or bagels for breakfast.  On her way back, she got pulled over by the police [Read More...]

Last week, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed a $20 million judgment against Cumberland Farms in connection with a 2010 car crash that involved an elderly man who apparently suffered a stroke, sped through an intersection and crashed into the front of a Cumberland Farms convenience store and gas station located in Chicopee, killing a 43-year old woman who was shopping inside. Although it pertains to an accident at a commercial property open to the general [Read More...]

Where a property manager initiated a summary process action to evict a tenant from a property on behalf of its client, he lacked standing to do so. The court also decided that the property manager was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.   “Over the last decade, Fred Basile, a property manager, has initiated more than ninety summary process cases in his own name or in the name of his sole proprietorship, in each [Read More...]

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A complete understanding of your condominium’s Declaration of Trust, Master Deed, By-Laws, Amendments, and other governing documents is extremely important when living in a condominium. A review of these documents will dictate the size and boundaries of the condominium’s units among other things.  Recently, a client came to MEEB because his unit was being damaged by a water leak coming from a roof deck owned, through an easement, by another unit owner. When the case [Read More...]

Employers are tasked daily with making decisions regarding employee discipline and/or termination. When faced with these decisions, employers should appreciate that their actions may ultimately be reviewed by third parties, including but not limited to arbitrators, judges and/or juries, all of whom will be left to decide whether the employee whom was disciplined and/or terminated was treated fairly. While there is no recognized cause of action in Massachusetts for “wrongful termination,” or “unjust dismissal,” claims [Read More...]

Recently, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit (which includes Puerto Rico) decided that a condominium association is a “person” eligible to file bankruptcy. While the court did not permit the bankruptcy to go forward due to fraud, the decision is significant for condominium associations that are saddled with debt. The court’s reasoning follows: “[W]e conclude the bankruptcy court committed legal error when it applied a narrow, exclusive interpretation of the term ‘person’ set [Read More...]

  Condominium insurance is complicated. This is hardly a stop-the-presses revelation. Board members and association managers who have shopped for insurance policies or dealt with insurance claims know how complex, frustrating, and headache-inducing these tasks can be. Insurance-related questions could easily fill several large books, but I’m going to focus on two that seem to arise with considerable frequency: What rights do condominium owners have when damage to a unit is covered by the association’s [Read More...]

There’s an old adage that goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Recently, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision that could be said to stand for a somewhat contrary proposition: “if it’s broke, you can’t fix it” – at least as to restrictive covenants of common interest communities that are not condominiums created under the provisions of Chapter 183A of the Massachusetts General Laws. In Berger v. 2 Wyndcliff (2017), the Court concluded [Read More...]

The NH legislature’s tweaks and additions to the NH Condominium statute have continued in 2017 with the passage of House Bills 501 and 502.  Both bills go into effect on August 15, 2017.  What follows is a brief summary of the new legislation.   HB 501:  Section 37(VI) of the NH Condominium Statute (RSA 356-B) was amended to require that an “electronic or paper copy of all meeting minutes” be made available to all owners [Read More...]

On September 29, 2017, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision in the case Calvao v. Raspallo, 16-P-1143 (September 29, 2017) that involved a dispute between the unit owners of a two unit condominium over an addition onto one of the units.  One of the unit owners renovated her unit, and included an approximately 111 square foot addition or expansion.  The expansion was constructed upon limited common area designated for her exclusive use.  The other [Read More...]

Representing condominium associations in three different states can be daunting.  MA, RI and NH have three very different condominium acts.  This document compares and contrasts the differences in the developer related provisions in the 3 acts. This comparison chart refers to pure statutory provisions themselves and does not include case law interpreting the same, I will leave that for another day. I hope you will find this reference chart helpful. Differing Statutory Levels of Developer [Read More...]

On May 18, 2016 the United States Department of Labor published its final rule (“Final Rule”) updating the overtime regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections.  The most significant part of the Final Rule updates the salary and compensation levels required for such employees to be exempt by increasing the standard salary level for the first time since 2004 to ($913 per week or [Read More...]

The idea that all are equal before the law has been a cornerstone of democratic societies for the last 2,400 years. There are situations, however, where one side appears to have an advantage – for example, a developer whose condominium documents appear to limit the ability of a condominium association to sue.  Even then, however, courts have – perhaps unwittingly – found ways to uphold that basic principle of equality by drawing a distinction between [Read More...]

A tenant could prevent her landlord from recovering possession of the leased premises in a summary process action by showing that he violated the security deposit statute, the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled. Housing Court Judge (and former MEEB attorney) MaryLou Muirhead ruled that the tenant properly could assert a violation of the security deposit statute as a counterclaim for damages, but that a counterclaim on this basis is not a defense to the landlord’s claim [Read More...]

Unit owners in a condominium complex could sue a fellow unit owner for starting a fire despite provisions in the trust agreement stating that the owners were responsible for insuring their property and that any insurance they obtained had to waive subrogation against other unit owners, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge has ruled. The defendant who started the fire argued that the Condominium Trust’s insurance resolution meant that the plaintiffs had each agreed individually to [Read More...]

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