Legal Alerts

The newly enacted “retainage” law calls to mind the adage about not wanting to see laws or sausage being made. The sausage, at least, is likely to be digestible and maybe even tasty. It’s not clear that either can be said about this new law. Long sought by the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts and ultimately [Read More...]

An owner in your condominium community has begun renting his unit to vacationers, who occupy it for short periods – a day or a few days ─ at a time. The owner is delighted with this new source of income, but his neighbors are less pleased with the revolving door of people they don’t know [Read More...]

For condominium boards trying to anticipate future challenges, here’s a prediction that bears considering: Fair housing accommodation requests are going to multiply. This prediction doesn’t require a crystal ball; a general knowledge of demographic trends will tell you what you need to know. Baby boomers are getting older and many of these aging boomers are [Read More...]

In a case handled by MEEB, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has made it easier for condominium associations to win compensation for construction and design defects and has eliminated some of the uncertainty surrounding those claims. The state’s highest court upheld an Appeals Court ruling (Wyman v. Ayer Properties) holding that the economic loss rule [Read More...]

Although the population of smokers is declining, community associations continue to struggle with disputes between smoking and non-smoking residents. A California jury recently found a homeowners association negligent for failing to resolve one such conflict. Kim and Kai Chauncey complained to the board of their Trabuco Canyon Condominium community that their neighbors ─ tenants renting [Read More...]

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is opposing a proposed rule that would prohibit community associations from collecting transfer fees on the sale of units in their communities. Sound familiar? It should. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – the primary regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – proposed the same rule but ultimately withdrew [Read More...]

Can condominium associations limit the number of people occupying a residence in the community? The short answer is, if the governing documents impose occupancy restrictions, association boards have the authority to enforce them. But can they do so without violating Fair Housing laws forbidding discrimination against families with children, ethnic minorities, and other protected classes? [Read More...]

Court decisions usually attract our attention because they break original legal ground by creating new precedents or overturning existing ones. But sometimes a decision stands out because it demonstrates that a legal principle established at the appellate level is gaining acceptance and traction closer to ground level in the courts below. A recent Massachusetts Superior [Read More...]

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, [Read More...]

  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 [Read More...]

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 [Read More...]

Massachusetts condominium associations that are just beginning to grapple with the challenges created by the state law legalizing the use of medical marijuana, will soon find themselves confronting the equally complicated problems created by e-cigarettes. Like the new state law, which will no doubt increase the number of people smoking marijuana, e-cigarettes will force associations [Read More...]

“And then the one day you find Ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run You missed the starting gun.” That line, from Pink Floyd’s classic album The Dark Side of the Moon, has particular meaning for condominium associations contemplating construction defect litigation and similar claims, because for these and [Read More...]

Recently someone raised the question: “Is anyone aware of any statutory law or case law that would prevent a member of a condominium from having his/her vote count on a vote for a declaration amendment when they were in bankruptcy proceedings if the governing documents are silent on the issue?” While there are no reported [Read More...]

Dealing with the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) condominium certification requirements has been a little like coping with young children:  Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on one phase, your kids begin to go through another one. With the FHA, whenever condominium association boards and industry professionals overcome one obstacle in the FHA certification [Read More...]

The lyrics of a 1970’s song insultingly declared, “Short people got no reason to live.” The same has been said, although usually somewhat more diplomatically, about small condominiums. Think about all the positive terms used to describe large organizations: “Strength in numbers” “Leverage” “Economies of Scale” “Broad-based” All apply to large and mid-sized condominium communities; [Read More...]

When anyone mentions the presence of gas in a residential setting, alarm bells begin to ring. Many people think first of carbon monoxide – appropriately nicknamed the silent killer ─ or imagine natural gas lines exploding and destroying buildings or whole neighborhoods. So when board members or managers call us to report that radon gas [Read More...]

The marketing brochure for an “age-restricted” condominium development shows a group of smiling, active seniors obviously enjoying the amenities in a community designed for and limited to people their age. There is no hint of bitter battles like the one that erupted at a Florida condominium when the board moved to evict owners who had [Read More...]

Like the garden perennials that bloom in spring and fall, some condominium law issues surface repeatedly, if not seasonally. How to deal with rentals is one of them. The triggers that make this an agenda item (problems with renters, economic conditions, changing owner populations) vary in different communities, but the questions boards ask are always [Read More...]

It happens like this: a subcontractor assigns its right to collect payment on its contract with the general contractor to a bank. The contractor then agrees to the assignment, and to make all payments directly to the bank. But, what if the contractor erroneously makes all payments directly to the subcontractor instead? What if those [Read More...]

If the economic pundits are correct, it looks like this Spring and Summer will see a significant uptick in unit sales and transactions throughout the region. Which means prospective buyers will be performing more unit inspections including testing for the presence of Radon gas. Accordingly, we thought we would include some information and guidance in [Read More...]