Legal Summaries

MAR Legal Hotline

Oh, how many times have we tried to clone our state legal department? Real Estate law gurus Michael McDonagh, General Counsel of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, and his ever supportive Associate Counsel Ashley Stolba 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


Lead Law Changes for 2018

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health made some changes to deleading standards as well as the standards for lead poisoning in children last month.  The changes should result in lower costs to delead, and help property’s meet Initial Compliance status easier.  That progress comes at a cost – there will be more lead left in

Clearing Snow?

Hopefully this reminder won’t be needed after our recent thaw, but many members have been calling extremely frustrated that they arrive to a property showing appointment to discover that the drive or walkway has not been plowed or shoveled.  In some cases of extremely long, un-maintained drives, properties were not even accessible to buyers –

Listing Broker Found Liable for Altering Commission

An interesting case decision was just reported on – A listing broker failed to honor the co-broke commission rate identified in the Executive Right to Sale agreement, which ended up netting the listing side more money and a subsequent finding of fraud.  Here is the summary: Texas court rules that listing broker breached his
MAR Legal Hotline

Proper Permits?

Q:    My seller-client is unsure if proper permits were obtained for finishing his basement. What should I advise my seller, and what are my disclosure requirements? A. The State Building Code requires a building permit for “construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, demolition, removal or change in use or occupancy of buildings and structures.” Local bylaws or
MAR Legal Hotline

Notes From the Legal Hotline: Lead Paint

So now everyone is uploading the lead paint form, it’s become apparent that not everyone is filling out the form correctly.  Yikes!  Fines for failure to complete this form correctly can be severe, so I know you want to do the right thing.The seller must initial OR check mark the correct boxes and circle the
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