IREM TRAPS FOR THE UNWARY PROPERTY MANAGER SEMINAR
The Simon Companies Office Training Site
639 Granite Street, Lower Level Conference Room
Braintree, MA 02184
Time: 8:30am to 11:30am
The course will address changing legal issues that Massachusetts property managers should consider, in light of recent case law, and legislative changes in such areas as the new Medical Marijuana laws passed on Ballot Question 3 last year, the new law which provides victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking with increased rights and protections under a new housing law, and Boston’s new rental registration and inspection ordinance.
Moreover, this course will assist property managers in spotting the legal issues and taking steps to protect themselves and their clients. This is a course both for newer and more experienced managers because it will address areas of law that have recently changed and were not issues in the past. The property managers will analyze the areas of law in the context of how it affects them and their clients. Materials will be presented during the course. Most importantly, the course will not be simply theoretical. The Attorneys will discuss real live issues that have been encountered by property managers and discuss the best way to address the issues. Discussion will be conducted on ways the law affects the property managers, and property managers are encouraged to raise legal issues that they have encountered in their practice. The course will focus on areas of the law that every property manager should consider in order to reduce liability and maximize recoveries.
1. Highlight property management pitfalls that affect property managers in both existing and recently enacted laws;
2. Develop an approach to respond to tough legal issues.
3. Discuss ways property managers can reduce liability and pursue collections on problem accounts.
AFTER TAKING THE COURSE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ANSWER:
Upon completion of the course, property managers will be able to answer the following:
1. MASSACHUSETTS NEW MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW
a) Since state and federal laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities (i.e. medical marijuana patients), can landlords:
– ask prospective tenants about their use of medical marijuana?
– refuse to rent to tenants because of their use of medical marijuana?
– evict tenants because of their use of medical marijuana?
b) Can tenants who are qualifying patients with a hardship in accessing one of 35 marijuana dispensaries to be established in Massachusetts grow medical marijuana in the landlord’s apartment?
c) Can a landlord establish a no smoking policy which includes medical marijuana?
d) Can a tenant deny a landlord or its property manager access to the rental unit if they are growing medical marijuana?
e) Can property owners whose apartments are being used to grow and distribute medical marijuana have their property seized under the federal civil asset forfeiture provisions?
f) Can medical marijuana be grown in a residential apartment?
2. NEW MASSACHUSETTS LAW WHICH ESTABLISHES HOUSING RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLANCE, RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, AND STALKING
a) Under the new law can a victim of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking:
– break their lease?
– require the landlord to change the locks/
– be evicted because they obtained a restraining order or called the police?
b) Can a tenant or prospective tenant bring a claim of retaliation against a landlord who retaliates against them for having to break their lease or have their locks changed because they were a victim of domestic violence?
c) Can a tenant break a lease if the violence occurred more than three months ago?
d) Does a landlord have a right to request proof of violence?
e) What type of documentation can a tenant use as proof of violence?
f) What if the person who poses the safety threat is a co-tenant on the lease?
g) How long does a landlord have to change the locks if a request to change the locks is made by a tenant who is a victim of violence?
h) Is a tenant who is the subject of domestic violence who breaks a lease entitled to a return of their last month’s rent?
i) Can a landlord require a tenant to waive their rights under the new domestic violence law in the lease?
3. BOSTON’S NEW RENTAL REGISTRATION AND INSPECTION PROGRAM
a) Who has to register?
b) How often is registration required?
c) What is required of property owners under the new law?
d) How often must the rental units be inspected?
e) What are the rental units being inspected for?
f) If a new rental unit is acquired, what is required of the property owner?
g) What is the cost of registration and inspection?
h) Are there any fines and/or penalties is an owner fails to comply with the new ordinance?
4. THE PROTECTING TENANTS AT FORECLOSURE ACT
a) What is the new Federal Statute Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act?
b) What protections does the new statute provide to tenants and how does it affect property owners, lenders and their agents?
c) What can be done to evict a tenant after a foreclosure?
d) What can be done in an attempt to collect the tenant rental stream after a foreclosure?
e) What are the penalties for non-compliance with the new Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act?
5. THE IDENTIFY THEFT/DATA SECURITY REGULATIONS
a) How do the new data security regulations affect the way that I maintain the confidential information that I obtain in my business as a property manager?
b) What information is considered to be confidential information that needs to be protected under the new identity theft/data security regulations?
c) What steps do I need to now take to comply with the new identity/theft data security regulations?
d) What are the penalties for non-compliance with the new Identify Theft/data security regulations?
6. THE MASSACHUSETTS WAGE ACT
a) How does the Massachusetts Wage Act affect me as a property manager on behalf of owner and what can I do to avoid some common employer violations of the Massachusetts Wage Act.
b) What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?
c) What problems can arise if I misclassify an employee as an independent contractor?
d) What problems can arise if I characterize an hourly employee as a salaried employee?
e) Who is entitled to overtime (time and a half) for all hours worked in a given week?
f) What are the potential penalties for non-compliance with the Massachusetts Wage Act and does it include multiple damages and attorneys’ fees?
7. UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES, CHAPTER 93A
One of the most common pitfalls for property managers occurs when they violate M.G.L. c. 93A which exposes them to possible multiple damages and attorney’s fees. Property managers may be exposing themselves to liability under M.G.L. c. 93A if they cannot answer the following questions:
a) Is it unfair and deceptive to include in a rental agreement:
- A clause that the tenant will pay constable fees if notice to quit is served on the tenant?
- To fail to set forth the name and address of the owner of the property?
- A clause that waives the warranty of habitability?
- A clause that provides a penalty provision for the late payment of rent which is less than thirty days overdue?
b) Is it unfair and deceptive for a property manager to request from a slow paying
tenant a postdated check for rent?
c) Is it unfair and deceptive for a property manager to fail to provide services and/or
supplies after making a representation or agreement that such services would be
provided during the term or any portion of the tenancy?
d) Is it unfair and deceptive to fail to reimburse an occupant for reasonable sums
expended to correct violations of law in a dwelling unit if the owner failed to make
e) What amounts can a Property Manager require a tenant or prospective tenant to pay at or prior to the commencement of a tenancy without violating M.G.L. c. 93A?
f) Is it a violation of M.G.L. c. 93A to require a tenant to pay for heat and hot water when there is no written lease?
g) Is M.G.L. c. 93A applicable to all persons and properties managed?
h) Can a property manager be held liable under M.G.L. c. 93A for his failure to fix a defective condition on a property he manages?
i) Does M.G.L. c. 93A apply in the context of state sanitary code and building code violations?
Liability for Superintendent – Substandard Housing
8. COLLECTION TECHNIQUES – AGGRESSIVE TECHNIQUES THAT WORK
a) In what context can I request a personal guaranty?
b) If the debtor does not own real property, but owns personal property of value, can I attach that property in a collection action against the debtor?
c) What steps can I take to make debt more collectable against a tenant and/or a condominium unit owner?
d) What steps can I take to ensure that I can recover interest and attorney’s fees?
e) What is considered a fraudulent conveyance in Massachusetts and what can be done if one occurs?
f) What is a reach and apply action and how can I use it to collect outstanding amounts due and owing?
g) What is a trustee process action and how can I use it to assist in collecting amounts due?
h) What is a “rolling lien” in a condominium context and how does this work?
i) How has the “Homestead” statute been recently changed in Massachusetts and can you ever get around a Homestead filing?
j) Are all retirement accounts exempt from attachment?
k) If a town performs a tax taking on a condominium unit, can I pursue common area fees and assessments against the town?
l) What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and do I need to be concerned with this statute?
m) Under what circumstances is a wage assignment appropriate?