Legal Alerts

Holding Proper Confirming Votes Will Protect Past Actions; Amending the Docs Will Prevent Future Problems By Richard Brooks and Patrick Brady With in-person gatherings proscribed by the pandemic for much of this year, many condominium boards have conducted essential business remotely and many associations have canceled their annual meetings, allowing owners to vote electronically to [Read More...]

By Dillon G. Brown The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control it continue to preoccupy condominium association boards and property managers and challenge their ability to respond to rapidly changing governmental guidelines and requirements. Federal regulations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) temporarily prohibiting property owners from evicting residential tenants for [Read More...]

By Mark Einhorn Should community associations reopen amenities that were closed during pandemic shutdowns? Most communities that have amenities appear to be grappling with that question. Boards are balancing the legal liability risks, contagion concerns and costs of reopening amenities against the pressure from owners demanding access to them. When we discussed this issue in [Read More...]

By Mark Einhorn When the water in the pool is icy cold, the standard advice is, hold your breath, close your eyes, and dive in. That is not how condominium association boards should approach the reopening of pools and other amenities closed during the pandemic. Sticking your toe in the water and adjusting gradually to [Read More...]

Come Zoom with MEEB!  Condos need to amend their documents to lawfully and legally permit remote board meetings, electronic elections and even remote unit owner meetings during the pandemic and beyond.  To help Condos roll with the changes, MEEB will pay one year’s free subscription for Zoom with a condo amendment, (a $180.00 value), which [Read More...]

By Richard Brooks Condominium owners must pay their common area fees. This is not a stop-the-presses revelation. It is a statement of principle, embodied in governing documents and affirmed by countless court decisions over the past 25 years. But the coronavirus pandemic, which has tested so many assumptions, is also challenging this one. As statewide [Read More...]

By Gary Daddario I was intrigued, but not surprised, to see that “libel and slander” was one of the headline topics at CAI’s National Law Conference this year. Our firm gets several calls every month from board members who want to sue owners for saying mean, nasty, unfair, untrue, “slanderous” or “libelous” things about them. [Read More...]

With the beginning of the new year, Ed Allcock became a very busy person. Not that he wasn’t already busy as a managing partner of MEEB and head of its litigation division. But Ed has also assumed two new positions this year, serving simultaneously as president of the New England Chapter of CAI (CAI-NE) and [Read More...]

By Edmund Allcock and Haley Byron Life is full of transitions. In the life of a community association, the most important transition by far is the one that transfers control of the community ─ and responsibility for it ─ from the developer to the owners. A successful transition will set the community firmly on the [Read More...]

By Janet Oulousian Aronson and Mark Einhorn The temperatures are still screaming summer, but the calendar is whispering that fall is near. And for condominium boards and managers, that means it’s time to bring out the fall maintenance checklist to make sure the community’s buildings, operating systems and grounds are ready for the cold weather [Read More...]

By Jennifer Barnett and Dawn McDonald With the passage of the Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) in 2018, Massachusetts became one of only six states (plus the District of Columbia) that now require employers to offer paid leave to employees who have serious medical problems or who need time to care for family members [Read More...]

By Stephen Marcus You are the president of a condominium board and you don’t appreciate getting a call from a fellow board-member Sunday at midnight. The reason for the call is even less welcome. The board member has lost a laptop containing every essential piece of association related information it would be possible for anyone [Read More...]

By Richard Brooks Condo owners usually understand that they give up some of the rights enjoyed by single-family homeowners. The right to paint their front door any color they choose, to play their music at any decibel level they choose, and even to smoke in their residences, for example, all may be prohibited by condo [Read More...]

By Mark Einhorn Reading the real estate section of the New York Times recently, I was struck by the number of ads featuring condominiums for sale. There would be nothing remarkable about this in the Boston Globe, but condominiums historically have been relatively rare in New York, where cooperatives have long been the primary form [Read More...]

By Matthew Gaines and William Thompson A newly enacted state law restricting the authority of condo associations to regulate the installation of electric car charging stations will apply only to condominiums located in Boston. But the implications extend well beyond Boston’s city limits. The reason: More consumers are buying electric cars. They purchased more than [Read More...]

  By Gary M. Daddario If you look at a list of states that have a condominium superlien, you will find New Hampshire among them. But you can’t judge a book by its cover – and you can’t judge a statute by its name. All superliens are not equal. And the New Hampshire superlien includes [Read More...]

By Jennifer Barnett During the course of their tenure on an association’s governing board, board members will come into possession of a seemingly endless amount of information. While owners are entitled to access the association’s books and records regarding the general operation and management of the association, there are certain categories of sensitive information that [Read More...]

By Jennifer Barnett Condominium board members are often encouraged to be open, honest, and transparent in their communications with the condominium community. However, because of their leadership position, board members often possess confidential information, the disclosure of which may have significant legal and financial implications for the community associations they represent. Confidential information protected by [Read More...]

By Mark Einhorn and Patrick Brady A friend traveling through the deep south many years ago stopped at a small gas station to ask for directions. The owner, happy to oblige, told him: “Go to the end of this road, take a left and….Nope,” he said. “That won’t work.” Thinking again he said, “Go out [Read More...]

When MEEB opened its doors in 1993, the legal landscape for condominiums was sparse. “There were maybe 100 cases nationally, and only four appellate cases in Massachusetts,” Seth Emmer, one of the firm’s founding partners recalls.” There was virtually no guidance anywhere,” he adds. “We were making it up as we went along.” Over the [Read More...]

By Patrick Brady Boston has joined a growing list of cities and towns nationwide moving to regulate and/or restrict the short-term rental of single-family residences. Like other initiatives, the newly enacted Boston ordinance attempts to balance the competing concerns of homeowners, who want or need the revenue generated by renting their homes; vacationers, who want [Read More...]

By V. Douglas Errico Condo developments have three phases, equivalent in the minds of many developers to the “stages of grief” that describe the mourning process. There is no question that construction glitches, quarrelsome owners, litigation, or the threat of it, that plague some projects can make many developers mourn their career choice. But the [Read More...]

By Mark Einhorn Of all the problems condo associations confront – and there are many – hoarding is among the most difficult. Hoarding is both an illness for the hoarder and a nuisance (or worse) for other residents. Handling hoarding situations require boards and managers to balance two sides of a difficult equation: Sensitivity for [Read More...]

By Stephen Marcus Depending on their size, condominium associations may receive a variety of professional services – from managers, security guards, lifeguards, maintenance workers and administrative assistants, among other personnel. Boards and owners often question the cost and quality of these services, but few, if any, ever wonder, “Whose employees are they?” If you haven’t [Read More...]

By Stephen Marcus When we talk about insurance, which we do frequently, we talk about its complexities, and there is no question that insurance decisions are complicated, confusing and often intimidating for condo boards. But it isn’t the complexity of insurance that creates the biggest risks for board members and the association’s they govern; it’s [Read More...]

By Pamela M. Jonah Imagine this: Susan and Bill, a retired couple in their late 60s, are sitting around the community association’s pool on a warm summer day, chatting with other residents. They have no children of their own and are becoming increasingly agitated by the high-pitched squeals of children who are swimming and splashing [Read More...]

OR, IF YOU PREFER A SHORTER HEAD: SJC Rejects Developers’ “Poison Pills” By Edmund Allcock The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has ruled that condominium developers can’t unreasonably restrict the ability of owners to file suits against them. The court rejected the “poison pill” provisions developers often use to insulate themselves from liability for construction [Read More...]

by Janet Oulousian Aronson Consistency may be “the hobgoblin of little minds,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested. But it is also an article of faith for many condominium boards, who fear, and rightly so, that if they don’t enforce rules consistently, they may not be able to enforce them at all. Exceptions can all too [Read More...]

By Matthew Gaines and John Shaffer Anyone who tracks legislation and regulations affecting condominiums has to wonder if lawmakers and regulators understand what condos are and how they operate. Proposed revisions to the state Sanitary Code demonstrate once again that they do not. The Department of Public Health wants to update the existing code ─ [Read More...]

Most people think about disasters as something that happens to others, not to them. But after witnessing back-to-back weather catastrophes in Houston, Florida, the Caribbean, and more recently in Puerto Rico, many condominium associations are recognizing that the unthinkable could, in fact, happen to their communities, and considering what they should do to prepare for [Read More...]