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Questions Answered by Christopher Tolley
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I bought a house a month ago,3 days after living in the house i learn that the house didnt have sewer pipe whos paying

The previous owner did not disclose the missing sewer pipe connection and he pretent to be ignorant about it can i make him responsable and pay for it ,its a costly situation for me,who is responsable to fix this problem

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Nov 11, 2019

If the seller actively concealed the sewer pipe issue or failed to inform you of it when asked, you may have a right to recover from him. You should consult your own attorney and give him/her copies of all relevant documents to review.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My father had 2 properties and his will designated that my sister was to receive property A and I received property B.

He also had 2 classic cars, but the Probate Atty says that my sister gets them because they were parked in the garage of property a and the will lists that we receive the property and it's contents. Is this correct. If my Dad had died in the winter months, the cars wouldve been parked in the... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Nov 11, 2019

Normally courts give effect to written instruments according to their terms. The will said your sister receives Property A with its contents. Nothing you have said leads to the conclusion that your father had any other intention. Perhaps your father intended for your sister to receive the vehicles.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights, Elder Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Massachusetts on
Q: in MA an offer was placed on my property on 8/9/19 we are now well passed the 45 days agreed upon for closing.

Closing was set for tomorrow 10/16/19. i have done repairs and updates to the lawful expectations of the original inspection in a timely manner by my agents father who i paid for his services. My real estate agent has not been forthcoming about many items through this process. A week ago the buyers... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 15, 2019

I strongly suggest you contact a lawyer to represent your interests as soon as possible. The agent/broker is supposed to be working for you, the seller, and no one else. Most P&S agreements state the buyer is prohibited from entering the premises and/or doing work n the premises with the Seller's... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: purchased 4 shoes for $1650 and shipped to a friend for $2235, all 4 are fake, I got refunded for 1, what should I do?

The seller is based out of California, I live in Massachusetts, my friend who these were shipped to lives in New York, I bought the 4 pairs mid August, after getting in the shipment we found out 1 was fake right away, I refunded my friend $950, after waiting 3 weeks the seller sent a compensation... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Sep 30, 2019

Keep after the seller online and by text, but if he/she does not respond, file a small claims complaint and seek multiple damages under G.L. c. 93A, the Massachusetts unfair and deceptive acts statute. The clerk may be willing to help you fill out the small claims form. If/when you get a judgment,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: What is the best way to assume the deed from a family members house when they move out. Gift or buy?

My son is planning to assume the deed of his grandmother’s house which is paid for. The plan was to have them gift the house for $30,000 to my son or buy it for that amount. How would these options affect my son’s income taxes at the end of the year. The property is valued at $290,000.... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Aug 20, 2019

An online Q & A forum like this one is not the place for advice about the disposition of a $290,000 asset. Find a lawyer versed in tax law or an accountant you trust.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If I am in the process of divorce, can a realtor sign me to a seller’s agreement if both of our names are on the deed?

I wasn’t really clear on what I was signing and it’s solely my name on all of the paperwork, also I wasn’t given a copy of it until after I verbally brought it up with the realtor a few days later.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Aug 6, 2019

Not all owners of real property are required to sign a purchase and sale agreement. So long as your spouse signs the deed at the time of closing, you will have performed under the agreement. The problem for the buyer in this situation is that it cannot compel a sale because only one of two owners... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a buyer legally back out of a purchase and sale agreement if an error exists in the listing?

Both myself and the seller have signed the P&S agreement, and I have submitted the deposit check. The home is in a rural area, and the listing states cable internet is available. I just found out there is no high speed Internet available in the area. Can I legally back out of the deal and regain... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jun 24, 2019

If the listing said cable internet is available and cable internet is available, the listing is not in error. The listing does not say high speed internet access, so if that is what you need, the listing cannot form a basis for your getting out of the deal.

Nevertheless, I suggest you...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: After receiving money from a house sale do i have to pay taxes on it in april or can i gift it to my wife?

My grandparents house was sold and it will be split 5 ways. After taxes and fees ill receive 42,800, will i have to pay taxes at the end of the year for it or can i gift it to my wife or use most of it as a down payment for my first house ?

If i do have to pay taxes how do i figure out... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jun 7, 2019

The answer to your questions requires more time and expertise than an online forum like this can provide. You really need to consult with a tax professional like a CPA on this. It will be well worth the money you spend in fees to them.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I cede a piece of my property to the town?

My home (which I've owned 3 years) includes 3 parcels, each taxed separately: the largest, which includes the house; a small strip acquired from a neighbor to add a driveway; and - the questionable piece - is the alley behind the house. I own the part behind my house to the center of the alley. I... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on May 17, 2019

You can give it to them, but they have to accept it. Call the town, like the town manager or the selectmen's office, and discuss it.

You can also stop paying taxes on it. The town will eventually take it for nonpayment of taxes. However, it is possible you remain personally liable for the...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My mother died back in 2013. I get a bill for a loan monthly from a bank with the house that she left me as collateral.

Am I responsible to pay this bill

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Apr 29, 2019

If you did not sign the promissory note to the bank you are not personally responsible for the payments. If the collateral document securing the loan is a mortgage, failure to make the payments will give the bank a right to foreclose the mortgage.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Hello, would you be able to tell me if a statement of condition has to be completed at every lease renewal in MA?

a statement of condition has been completed at start of tenancy. This is for renewal of the lease, same apartment, same tenant.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Apr 18, 2019

Maybe it is required, maybe it isn't, but I can't think why you would not get one. If the tenant has damaged the unit or there is usual wear and tear you should have that documented to protect yourself. You don't want the tenant using the condition statement from the prior tenancy as evidence of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I'm buying my In laws house and my husband will be on the title but not the loan, do I still need a title 5 inspection?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Apr 17, 2019

The DEP website says:

When you DON'T need an inspection

Transfers between certain family members: Title 5 does not require a system inspection if the transfer is of residential real property, and is between the following relationships:

Between current spouses;...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Our drinking well is on a property that was sold. Does the person who bought the land need to drill us a new well?

What if we don't want a new well and want to keep the one we have on his property?

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Apr 12, 2019

If the well was on your property and you sold the land, you should have made some provision for retaining an interest in that land, like an easement, so you can keep using the well. If you did not, there may be an issue with the current owner because if you have no easement, you may not have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: A house intrust is in major disrepair whose responsible for the repairs?

The person that is living in the house is one of the beneficiaries.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Mar 22, 2019

The terms of the trust at issue spell out the trustee's duties and responsibilities. Trustees are generally considered responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the property, but are not usually required to expend personal funds to do so. Funds for upkeep and maintenance are usually expected to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I get my condo Title revised so that it changes the parking spot that goes with the unit? If so, how do I do this?

Background: I recently discovered that my condo unit’s first tenant had switched parking spaces with a tenant on the opposite side the their building. This gave each party a spot right outside their own unit. When I got a new tenant they continued with that spot. My current tenant wants to buy... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Mar 4, 2019

Yes. If parking spaces in your condo. are deeded, you would have to trade deeds with the other unit/parking space owner. Your could also give each other reciprocal easements or licenses. If parking spaces are assigned by the condo. you might be able to get the board of trustees to switch... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: Can child support garnish both of my full-time jobs paychecks if I'm paying in full from the first jobs paycheck
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Feb 20, 2019

If you are paying all that is required of you from one paycheck, it does not make sense that more money would be taken out of your second paycheck. For example, if your total pay from one job equaled the amount you are currently being paid from your two jobs, and you were paying the total amount... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure for Massachusetts on
Q: we are currently in foreclosure, but have not heard from the atty representing the bank for several weeks. Can we sell ?

Or should we declare bankruptcy (Chapt 13)? If we do, will we be allowed to sell the property ? Obviously, we do not want to lose the house. I am 71, my spouse is 66, & we have resided here for 26 years. We are seeking pro bono help if possible.Thank you...

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Feb 10, 2019

The attorney general and banking commissioner both have foreclosure units. You should contact them and legal services. If you are willing to sell the house, you may be able to work something out with the bank's attorney to get time to do so.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Why is assessment of damages hearing brought under rule 55b(2) if there has been no default?

Relates to Condominium Association seeking lien.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 8, 2019

The condo. association cannot hold a Rule 55(b)(2) assessment of damages hearing unless a default has entered. Most condo. association attorneys I know are diligent about complying with procedural rules for entry of default in condo. association lien collection cases. Is it possible you missed the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Small Claims and Collections for Massachusetts on
Q: I am being sued for credit debt from midland funding ,it is a old sears account,I would like to know what steps to
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 14, 2018

There are extensive requirements for debt collectors seeking payment for old debts. A primer on consumer's rights in old debt collections is beyond the scope of an online question forum like this one. Also, the law in New York is likely different from that in Massachusetts. I have been advising... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Will my property taxes increase if I add heat to a previously unconditioned outbuilding on my property?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 10, 2018

Massachusetts towns assess value annually. They calculate property values based on the market activity as well as certain property-specific attributes such as location, size, construction quality, style, and condition. These include the status of outbuildings. Factors may include the usefulness of... Read more »

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