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Questions Answered by Christopher Tolley
1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a commercial lease agreement & term truly end if the landlord does not extend the lease term of a tenant?

Id like to know:

1) Does a commercial lease agreement & term truly expire to allow the landlord to take complete repossession of a leased space at the end of the lease term even though the tenant would like to stay as tenant for a longer period, the tenant does not have a option to... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on May 6, 2024

1) If the lease does not give the tenant some mechanism for extending the lease term such as an additional term, option to renew, etc., once the lease expires, the tenant no longer has a right to occupy the premises. The landlord is not permitted to perform a 'self help' eviction however... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: There is a piece of property around 200 sq feet that we have been using for the past 27 years that a condo association

They attempting to get back from us. The property abuts our land and after about 19 years they are looking to take it back do we have any right here.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Apr 16, 2024

Your argument would be that you used the land as if it were your own, you landscaped it, cut the grass, watered the plants, built on it, parked your car there, etc. (if all that is the case) and if the town assessed it to you, paid taxes on it, and that it should have been obvious to the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a board of trustee of a cordiaminum prohibit washers and dryers in the units (they have hook-ups)?

Good afternoon: I just purchased a condo (apartment) and the trustee says washers and dryers are not allowed in the building. The trustee just says that the owners voted and except for 2 apartments, the rest of the owners voted against washer and dryer in the building. I am wondering if this... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Apr 16, 2024

I have never heard of a condominium prohibiting washers and dryers. I would think you would have explored that in the process of buying the condo. I took a quick look a the statute and I found nothing stating one way or the other the permissibility of washers and dryers. Is it that they are... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I bought my home in 2019.Refinanced 2021 and added BF to all aspects of loan.i have equity. what is he entitled to?

prior to him signing i had already gained $160k of equity. If we were to sell is he only entitled to what was gained from Refinance till now?

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Jan 22, 2024

What was your agreement with your BF when he signed the loan documents in 2021? Did you convey title to him or did he merely sign the new mortgage? What, if anything, did he pay you for an interest in the property? Has he paid any mortgage payments, contributed to the upkeep and maintenance of the... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My solar panels have been damaged by rodents. Company says warranty does not cover damage.

I have a question about my solar warranty. The system was installed in 2017 and is still under warranty. Squirrels (presumably) have built a nest and chewed some of the connections under one of the panels, but the company says their warranty does not cover this damage. I think the company... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Oct 31, 2023

After a brief check I was unable to find any state regulations governing solar installers or installations. They may exist. Can you call your local building inspector and ask if there are any such regulations or regulations that would generally apply to correctly securing equipment from animal... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Family Law and Landlord - Tenant for Massachusetts on
Q: Co-tenants signed lease together and are breaking up.

Our daughter and boyfriend signed a housing lease. 4 months remain. Our minor grandson (10) visits and stays in his own room on the weekends. The boyfriend states his financial obligation moving forward, will be 1/3 of the rent. The boyfriend did make less money than our daughter when they signed,... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Oct 4, 2023

I assume the lease states your daughter and the boyfriend are 'jointly and severally' liable for the rent. This means that each is liable for the entire rent. In the event of dispute, the landlord can seek the entire rent from either your daughter or the boyfriend or both. I don't... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is there anyone else I should contact or any legal recourse?

I’ll start with this is taking place in Massachusetts. A former tenant received mail in June from an attorney’s office. I marked the mail, return to sender and sent a separate certified letter advising the person no longer lived at my home. Last week a mailing for the tenant came in from the... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Aug 20, 2023

If no relief is being sought against you, this is of no issue to you. The attorney's acts may be incorrect, ignorant or unfair but you have no right to redress against him. You may want to send the former tenant (if you know where he is) the letters you sent to the attorney and the court for... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If a quitclaim to add spouse to the title of the house is not registered, do I still need his signature to sell?

I am married, but the house and mortgage are in my name only. If I add my spouse to the title through a quitclaim deed but don't register it, would the spouse be a legal co-owner of the house? If I die, how would the unregistered quitclaim affect the spouse's ownership of the property?

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Aug 18, 2023

If you convey property to another, whether you record the deed or not, the grantee owns the property and in order to convey to a third party, both of you must sign the deed. How the property is disposed on your death depends on how you and the grantee take title. If you convey to the grantee as... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure, Real Estate Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: My ex has end stage dementia-I am his POA/HCP-hold mortgage on 1/2 house he shares-Can I get lieu deed before he dies?

I have never been paid any interest & want to keep family property safe. I have already paid off one other foreclosure on the property to keep it safe. It is shared (TIC) with his niece. I do not want to force sale of the property when he dies to get my money, so would like to deal with this... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Aug 1, 2023

So I understand correctly, your ex owns the house as tenants in common with his niece and you have a mortgage on his interest in the property only. You propose to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure of his interest in the house. Following such a transfer, you will be tenants in common with the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law and Municipal Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I sue a plumber city inspector for not doing his job correctly and I'm losing money because of that?

My plumber requested a rough inspection, inspector came and didn't bother to get out of the car, he saw a pipe outside and asked the plummer to fix it. Plumber fixed it and requested another visit, inspector came and saw pipe on the entrance and asked plumber to fix, plumber fixed and... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Jul 28, 2023

There are numerous laws governing the conduct of municipal officials which may be implicated in your situation. It is also possible that your plumber is the problem. Next time the inspector comes to the house, ask him/her to inspect the entire house. If you are acquainted with anyone on the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Small Claims and Contracts for Massachusetts on
Q: Is this situation considered "charging for services not provided" under Consumer Protection Chapter 93a?

I purchased a "package" of 10 day school classes for my dog with a dog training company. After using 6 of those classes I was fired as a client without discussion or reason. The company is refusing the refund me for the remaining 4 classes. Since I was already charged for these classes... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Jul 21, 2023

You should consult the terms of the contract with the dog training company. That should outline what your rights and responsibilities are. If you feel your termination was an unfair and deceptive act or practice, and you are entitled to a refund, prepare a demand letter under G.L. c. 93A. For... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Does IRS get notified if a house goes through probate?

If the estate puts a house through probate, but none of the estate holders want the place, as another family member owns the other 2/3, no money is exchanged. The only reason we are going through probate is to remove my grandmother's name from the deed so I can refinance my mortgage

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Jun 5, 2023

You should speak to a lawyer on this because real estate has substantial value and you should obtain individualized advice.

For your convenience only, for decedents dying after 2018, there is no federal estate tax on gross estates valued at less than $11,180,000.00. There is no...
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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Construction Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Signed contract in Oct 2021 with two contractors (partners) for home addition. No timeline specified.

One contractor (construction supervisor) show up only on several occasions, did not supervise subcontractors and did shoddy work. Had to let him go and take over the building permit myself. His partner has been trying to make good but has informed me he probably cannot finish the job. I have... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Jun 1, 2023

If you feel the partners will not pay and you do not trust them to finish the work, it may be time to complete the work by hiring someone else and consult a lawyer about collecting the completion costs. You would argue the partners have breached the contract and that you are entitled to damages in... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Foreclosure for Massachusetts on
Q: We stopped paying our mortgage when the servicing company messed up. That was 2011, has staute of limitations run out on

It doesn't show on credit report and they want to auction house now after 12 years. Don't care about the house but don't want to have to file bankruptcy 12 years after the fact. We haven't lived there for 12 years.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Apr 17, 2023

The statute of limitations for a suit on a promissory note in Massachusetts is six years from the date of breach and the limitations period can be extended by part payment. If you stopped paying more than six years ago and did not subsequently make partial payments, and there was nothing that would... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I get a redemption for a real estate tax taking in Massachusetts?

My local tax collectors office filed a tax taking back in 2008 for outstanding real estate taxes due on an investment property? The delinquent taxes were paid by my mortgage servicer from my escrow account.

A recent title search shows the 2008 tax taking lien recorded, but a redemption or... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Apr 12, 2023

If the tax title amount has been paid, the town is required to issue a redemption. The town is permitted, but not required , to request the recording fee for recording the certificate as a condition of providing the certificate, and then must record the certificate. I believe the recording fee for... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Municipal Law and Small Claims for Massachusetts on
Q: What are the laws around visitor parking in communities?

My car got towed from visitor parking spot in the “The Chase at Overlook Ridge” in Revere, MA. The spot had a sign stating “Visitor Parking - unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owners expense”. When I went to take my car from the towing company, they said the building management hs a... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Apr 10, 2023

G.L. c. 266 s. 120D covers towing from private parking lots and prohibits towing except in certain circumstances.... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Should a builder have disclosed detention pond near condo house?

I bought a new construction condo house 15 months ago that I am supposed to close on, in a few days. The plans and agreement showed that there is a wetland in the area far from my house but a vast green area beside my lot which was the main factor to choose this exact lot. For the last few months,... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Mar 6, 2023

You should review this with your attorney as soon as possible to review all the facts and documents because you may have the basis of a claim. If you do not want to go forward with the purchase you should establish a strategy and get input from your attorney on the costs and benefits of litigating... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Massachusetts on
Q: House owner went into property before scheduled walk thru

My ex fiancé and mother went in on a house together. When we broke up he wanted to kick my mom out, we sued him for breach of contract when he filled for evection. We won and my mom has until February 28, 2023 to vacate the property at that time we will do a walk thru of premises and then he will... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Feb 28, 2023

I assume your ex's entry into the property violated the parties' settlement agreement. However, you do not articulate any harm to you or your mother as a result of his acts and therefore you would not be entitled to damages. Therefore, it does not seem to be in your interest to reopen the... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Tax Law and Contracts for Massachusetts on
Q: Is certificate required for septic repair?

Spent $5k on septic repair when wastewater flooded the yard from the leach field. I wasn't given a certificate. Is one always needed to claim the credit? This wasn't a simple drain clog and the entire leech field was dug up, cleaned up, and soil replaced. I have a detailed invoice and... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Feb 23, 2023

I don't think you need a new Title V cert. unless you are selling the house. The system has to have 'failed' in order for you to claim the credit. https://www.mass.gov/service-details/view-residential-property-tax-credits. I would contact the DEP or ask your accountant when you file... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Lemon Law for Massachusetts on
Q: i financed a car

i financed a car on 1/20/23 had it in my possesion for 6 hrs and engine cut out oil spilling everywhere had it towed back to dealership same night was given a rental for 3 weeks dealership called me and said they had another car to offer and said 2500 would go to new car for trade in they made of... View More

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
answered on Feb 22, 2023

This should be covered by the Massachusetts Used Car Lemon Law. This explains it in more detail than I can in a Q&A forum like this one: https://www.mass.gov/guides/guide-to-used-vehicle-warranty-law You should call the hotline phone number listed n the website and explain the situation to... View More

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