NEWS ALERT FOR AIR BNB RENTALS

On June 13, 2018, the Boston City Council passed a new Ordinance that will prohibit investors from engaging in short-term rentals of their units. Homeowners, on the other hand, will still be allowed to rent out their homes by the night, and owner-occupants of two-family and three-family houses will be permitted to rent out one unit.

airbnbThe short-term rental business is rapidly growing in Boston, and websites such as Airbnb are becoming increasingly popular. As a result, more and more homes are being rented to tourists for short periods of time rather than to tenants on a traditional 12-month lease. The new rules limiting short-term rentals are an attempt to make more units available in the tight housing market.  Over 2000 units were estimated to have been removed from normal rentals due to the profitability of the short- term rentals and the new Ordinance sought to bring those rental units back to the market for normal rentals.

The new rules go into effect on January 1, 2019. However, the regulations will not apply to current short-term rental hosts until September 2019. Policing who is an investor and who is an owner will be a challenge for the City of Boston.  Other large cities, such as Brookline and Cambridge, may also enact restrictive ordinances to limit investors to buy and use their real estate for short term rentals.

For more information, please read this article from the Boston Globe.

Mechanic’s Lien and Judicial Order to Freeze Insurance Proceeds Yields Excellent Recovery for Emergency Contractor

Recovered excellent mediation settlement for home improvement contractor who performed significant emergency tear-down and removal work of home destroyed by fire. The home was under-insured and heavily encumbered by mortgages, putting client at substantial risk of receiving little to no payment. Upon receiving case, we immediately investigated title and filed a Mechanic’s Lien under M.G.L 254 with the Essex Registry of Deeds, to secure the debt and prevent a sale or transfer of the subject property. We conducted a thorough investigation, contacting the property insurer and public adjuster for the homeowner to get a clear picture of available means to satisfy the debt. We further leveraged the client’s position by quickly filing a Verified Complaint with counts for Breach of Contract, Quantum Meruit, and Mechanic’s Lien. We additionally filed a Motion to Form a Constructive Trust on a Short Order of Notice, ultimately obtaining an order from Essex Superior Court to freeze the remaining insurance proceeds pending resolution of the case. With a lien in place and the insurance proceeds frozen, we had a very favorable position and proceeded to mediation, where the Defendant agreed to pay 95% of the amount invoiced.

Shared Living in the Small Condominium Setting: Rights and Obligations of Unit Owners and Trustees

By Howard Goldman –

With the rising cost of real estate and lack of affordable housing in many communities, people are searching for ways to maximize their investment through shared living. Whether it be by including an in-law suite for an aging parent, a basement apartment for a long-term tenant or sprucing up a guest room to rent via AirBnB, many homeowners are embracing shared living as the way of the future.

Room for rentShared living arrangements provide many benefits to individual homeowners but may be bothersome to neighbors who are worried about health and safety, parking, and security risks. These concerns are compounded in the condominium setting where there are so many people living in a condensed area.

Recently, Goldman & Pease has handled a number of disputes arising out of shared living arrangements in smaller condominiums that are self-managed.  This article will discuss issues related to shared living arrangements in the condominium context and the rights and obligations of unit owners and trustees with respect to striking a balance between allowing unit owners freedom to use their homes as they see fit and protecting the condominium community from the risks associated with certain shared living arrangements. [Read more…]

Condominium Meeting Minute Guidelines

This article will discuss policies and protocol for taking and retaining board meeting minutes. It will explain what must be included, what can be included, and what should not be included in minutes. Included should be information on who has access to full minutes, where and for how long records should be stored, etc.

Questions to answer:

Who should be taking minutes at Board meetings? Does it always work out that way, or does someone else (like the manager) end up doing it? Why is it the responsibility of the named person – what’s the reasoning?

The Condominium Documents are often unclear on who is the person responsible for taking minutes at a Board meeting. Obviously, in a condominium where the Trustees hold positions such as President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, it would be the Secretary’s responsibility to take the meeting minutes. Often, however, Condominium Boards, especially in smaller condominium communities, do not require that the Trustees hold certain elected positions and the Trustees tend to take on responsibilities based on their own personal strengths. For example, a Trustee who is an accountant may volunteer to keep the financial records of the Condominium, and a very organized Trustee may volunteer to take the meeting minutes. If the property manager attends the board meeting, they may end up taking the meeting minutes.

What should be included in minutes? Actions? Discussions? Comments? Direct quotes?

Massachusetts General Laws do not have a requirement that meeting minutes must be kept, and many Condominiums do not have a requirement for keeping meeting minutes. Whether to keep detailed meeting minutes is a complicated decision that should be weighed by the Condominium Trust. On one hand, keeping detailed meeting minutes provides the Trust a record of what agenda items were discussed and how each board member voted on a particular issue. Meeting minutes allow new board members to get up to speed on pending and past issues and ensure both board members and unit owners have access to the same information which promotes an open and ongoing dialogue and could encourage more people to become involved in the condominium management. On the other hand, all meeting minutes automatically become part of the condominium books and records, which must be made available to unit owners upon request. These meeting minutes could open the Condominium up for litigation against it by a unit owner who is not in agreement with the majority of the board. For example, if a condominium had many unit owners raise an issue of slippery stairs due to insufficient snow removal or slippery conditions in the lobby on a rainy day, and those complaints were logged in the minutes, that could open the condominium up for liability in a future slip and fall lawsuit because it would be evidence showing the condominium had prior notice of unsafe conditions. [Read more…]

PART- TIME LAW ASSOCIATE

Job-Announcement-5-2018May 2018 – Goldman & Pease LLC is seeking a part- time legal associate with 2-5 years experience as a practicing litigation attorney. Located in Needham, Goldman & Pease LLC specializes in civil litigation, real estate and corporate law and offers much opportunity for career growth. Strong research and writing skills, and excellent academic credentials are required. Qualified candidates must have good interpersonal, computer and organizational skills and be admitted to practice in Massachusetts. Please email your resume in strict confidence to Howard S. Goldman.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 – Got Questions about Condo Law?

We’ve Got Answers! And we’d like to share them with you at The New England Condominium Expo! On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 from 10:00AM to 3:30PM at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston.

Every decision you make as a trustee or property manager is an important one – and legal decisions require sound advice. Goldman & Pease has more than 35 years of experience advising condominium associations, property managers, trustees, and unit owners.

We are committed to providing high quality, innovative, and responsive legal services that are cost effective for even the most complicated matters.

Goldman & Pease is a full service law firm specializing in litigation, condominium law, and real estate providing expert legal advice and representation in:

  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Rules Enforcement
  • Condominium Collections
  • Landlord Tenant Conflict
  • Condominium Formation
  • Developer Transition Issues

Give us a call at (781) 292-1080 or email us at hgoldman@goldmanpease.com to make an appointment at the Expo – or just stop by our booth and say hello…you’ll be glad you did!

Goldman & Pease will be there – at Booth #309 – to help answer your questions.

See you at the show!

Howard Goldman and Cameron Pease

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 – The New England Condominium Expo

Join Goldman & Pease at New England’s Biggest & Best Condo, HOA & Apt Expo!

A must attend for all board members, property managers, condo & HOA decision makers and apartment building owners.

Learn about the latest services from more than 175 exhibitors. Attend educational seminars, network with your peers and get free advice from industry experts.

Date: Tuesday, May 22
Time: 10am – 3:30pm
Location: Seaport World Trade Center – Exhibit Hall 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

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Why should I attend?

Join board members, trustees and property managers of 1,000 buildings.

  • Communicate with building service professionals.
  • Attend educational seminars.
  • Discover what’s new in the residential housing community.
  • Learn about services benefiting your board and homeowners.

Register now

Real Estate Legal Update 2018

By Howard Goldman –

      I.            Introduction

Changes resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018, may make this new tax year a true game changer for the real estate market.  Our update prepares you with an understanding of the key changes and how they affect the real estate market.

Looking at buying a new property?  In the digital age, emails and texts can blur the lines between informal communications and a formal contract.  Follow the Five Commandments of texting and emailing to become tech-communication savvy and avoid legal pitfalls.

Zoning board approvals are a vital point to consider when buying or selling a property you plan to tear down.  Don’t get zoned out: Use our five-point checklist to make sure you meet all the legal requirements.

   II.            Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018

TaxWith the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018, there is much concern as to how it affects Real Estate.  Let’s examine two questions:

  1. What are some key changes?
  2. How will they affect the real estate market?

[Read more…]

Commercial Real Estate Leases: Planning Ahead for Early Termination

November1-17Long term leases of commercial real estate offer landlords a steady and reliable stream of income and provide tenants with an established business presence in a particular neighborhood. However, those benefits may be short lived in the event of an early termination of the lease.

Early terminations are typically caused by tenants who default under lease provisions but they may also be caused by landlords who choose to sell the property during the term of the lease. This article will address the ways landlords and tenants may protect themselves at the inception of the lease.

Commercial Landlords:  Rent Acceleration Clauses

Where an early termination results from a tenant’s default under the terms of the lease, the landlord is faced with the difficult task of re-letting the space to a new tenant.

A number of factors may influence the length of time that the commercial space remains vacant, including but not limited to, current market trends, the location of the space, and whether improvements were made to the space for the benefit of the long-term tenant that make the space more or less desirable to new tenants.  Thus, at the inception of the lease, it is important for landlords to take care to protect their interest in the event of a default by a tenant.

One of the best ways for landlords to protect their interests in the event of default by a long-term tenant is to include a liquidated damages clause in the lease.  Liquidated damages clauses specify a predetermined amount of money that must be paid in the event of a breach of the lease.  In the commercial lease context, a liquidated damages clause may provide for an acceleration of future rents owed following the early termination of the lease (“Rent Acceleration Clauses”).

Rent Acceleration Clauses provide landlords with security that they will obtain the full value of the lease in the event of an early termination from the defaulting tenant.  However, from the tenant’s perspective, Rent Acceleration Clauses constitute a significant penalty to pay for early termination of a lease.

November2-17Recently, Goldman & Pease represented a franchisor in a case where a franchisee tenant defaulted in a lease that contained a Rent Acceleration Clause, resulting in over $1 million owed to the landlord.  Even though the franchisor was not a party to the lease, the franchisor took significant steps to mitigate the landlord’s damages because the franchisor had an interest in maintaining its business presence at the leased premises.  [Read more…]

Saturday, October 21 2017 – CAI New England Annual Condo Conference and Expo

CAI-2017CAI New England Annual Condo Conference & Expo
Saturday, October 21 2017   9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Marriott Hotel – Burlington, Massachusetts

$10.00 Members*
$20.00 Non-Members*

CAI New England Annual Condo Conference & Expo
Addressing the unique issues of condominium communities.
Members and unit owners, professional managers and industry professionals.

Schedule of Events

9:00 a.m. Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors

9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Exhibits

10:30 am.– noon Top 5 Ways to Reduce Insurance Claims & Costs
Insurance is a necessity but the cost can consume a large portion of an association’s budget. Understand the options available to condominium associations, and find out how rules, procedures and the decisions boards make can present opportunities for real cost savings.

10:30 a.m.– noon Save Time & Money/Mediate, Don’t Litigate TM
Panel members will address common disputes in communities and discuss effective ways to resolve them. Understand what mediation is, discover when it’s appropriate and learn how it can preserve community relationships and the financial interests of the association as well as save time. Examples of litigation gone wrong and mediation gone right will be discussed.

[Read more…]