Legal Summaries

Oh, how many times have we tried to clone our state legal department? Real Estate law gurus Justin Davidson, General Counsel of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, and his ever supportive Associate Counsel Catherine Taylor help keep us out of trouble on a daily basis!

Now, both will share their information with you each month; provide you with a highlight of the calls they field on the legal hotline; and keep us posted with changing Massachusetts law. Also included here are national notes from NAR’s legal department concerning federal cases that are of interest to Massachusetts brokers and salespersons.

Members may access the Legal Hotline by calling 800-370-LEGAL (5342), sending an e-mail, or faxing questions to the Legal Department at 781-890-4919

The MAR Legal Hotline offers authorized callers access to staff attorneys who can assist members with questions about current state and federal laws and regulations, permissible business practices, and important court rulings affecting real estate practitioners.  To take advantage of the Legal Hotline service, a member’s designated broker must first complete and sign an Authorization Form and return to the MAR Legal Department.  Once approved as an authorized caller, MAR members may access the Hotline. The hours of operation are Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Legal Summaries by Topic

Advertising Anti-Trust Chapter 93A Contract Contingencies
Email Contracts  Escrow Issues  Estate Properties Fair Housing
 Gifts and Referrals Home Inspector Law  Independent Contractors Multiple Offers
 Offers  Procuring Cause  Property Liability  Referral Fees
 Rentals/Seasonal  Rentals/Tenants  RESPA Issues  Right to Farm
 Security Deposits  Separate Water Metering  Sex Offender Registry  Sexual Harassment
 Short Sale & Foreclosure  Stigmatized Property

Are you authorized? Escrow Authority

The Board of Registration released answers to common some questions raised in the administration of real estate license law.  The question we’re sharing today is:  Is it permissible for a broker of record to designate check signing authority on an escrow account to another individual?  Short Answer: Not just anybody, only another licensed broker. The

Window to the Law: How to Handle Negative Reviews

Window to the Law is a monthly video series focusing on a legal topic of interest.  Not just for legal professionals, Window to the Law covers topics applicable to legal compliance for real estate professionals, brokerages and REALTOR associations.  In this Window to the Law, NAR Associate Counsel, Charlie Lee, discusses options for how to

Legal Luncheon and Board Update

Thursday, May 30, 2019 Country Club of Pittsfield Noon – 2:30 p.m. This meeting is always a big hit.  Justin Davidson, Mass Association of REALTORS General Counsel and Michael Shepard, Board Counsel, will provide us with up-to-date information to guide you in limiting your legal liability. This is your opportunity to hear about the most

Just listed… as PENDING??

We’ve received several calls about new listings that are first hitting the MLS as pending. From now on, we will be reaching out to all agents and their brokers when this occurs to share the following information from legal counsel about this:  While it is not unethical for the seller to accept an offer within

Don’t “fall” for this liability trap

Brrr.  It’s cold. And members have been calling extremely frustrated to arrive at a property showing appointment to discover that the drive or walkway has not been plowed or shoveled.  In the cases of long drives, properties were not even accessible to buyers – dangerous and very messy.  Members have been so frustrated, they are

Disclosure of Defects After Termination

Interesting question received by the legal hotline…. “I listed a house that had a material defect. The seller did not want to disclose that fact to potential buyers and fired me. They have now relisted the property with another agent and the listing does not disclose the defect – what are my obligations?” A: