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Questions Answered by Christopher Tolley
1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: In MA if you receive a notice to appear in court to mark docket satisfied is it important that I go?

It was for a debt paid off very difficult for me to get there. Thank you

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Mar 6, 2020

I do not see why you have to go to court in order to have the debt marked satisfied in full.Normally my office just sends the paperwork to the court indicating the debt has been paid. I suggest you call the clerk's office to get clarification as to the necessity of your appearance. You could also... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I’m taking my seller to small claims over non disclosure. She also never disclosed she’s a realtor. Can I sue her lawyer

I’m suing for non disclosure of a faulty major appliance, not disclosed during settlement nor was the appliance fixed during a 2 month rent back agreement period.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Feb 17, 2020

Why do you want to sue the lawyer? Did he/she make any false statements or refuse to disclose the faulty major appliance when he would have been expected to? If not, I do not see the basis for a suit against the lawyer. Also, if you had an inspection of the premises that would have disclosed the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Hello I am buying a house in Massachusetts and not sure if I should file for Homestead, buy Title Insurance or do both.

The house is a short sale and I have to do something to protect challenges to the deed. I am not sure what the differences are between Title Insurance and Homestead in my state and not sure who to ask. The attorney I am dealing with for the closing is not helpful he just says I need both.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Feb 14, 2020

Sorry, I agree with the closing attorney, both. A homestead protects your equity in the house. Recording a homestead is so inexpensive it's silly not to do it. The recording fee is $35 and all the MA registries have have forms online if you want to prepare the homestead yourself. Title insurance... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Collections for Massachusetts on
Q: Judgement against me from 2007 for credit card debt.

Had no idea I had this against me, my husband use to take care of our finances and now he is deceased. A collection agency wants $7400 for a $2900 judgement. What can I do? Would like to clear this up but don't have $7000.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 29, 2020

If you want to respond aggressively, go into the court and file a motion to have the judgment vacated because did not receive notice of the case in 2007 (if that is true).

If you are willing and able to pay, tell the collection agency what you said above, that your husband handled your...
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1 Answer | Asked in Collections for Massachusetts on
Q: Plaintiff has filed a voluntary dismissal without prejudice. Can I file an objection?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 13, 2020

If your objection is that the dismissal is without prejudice I do not think a judge will allow it. A dismissal with prejudice is an adjudication on the merits. Judges are reluctant to dismiss with prejudice when there has been no engagement on the issues of the case. (I assume the case has not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Collections, Contracts, Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Massachusetts on
Q: does a homestead act on a home in mass prevent a contractor collecting money if homeowner refuses to pay final bill

I completed a foundation replacement on a property to stop the house from collapsing and the home owner is refusing to pay there final bill even tho the job passed all state inspections upon completion

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 2, 2020

The Homestead Act itself does not. It may impact your ability to lien the house, however.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: On deceased mother's deed, not mortgage. Renters in place in one of two houses on property. Am I now a landlord?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 30, 2019

First, check the wording of the deed to determine the type of ownership you held with your deceased mother. For example, the deed might say, "X and Y, as joint tenants" or "X and Y, tenants in common," etc. The type of tenancy determines to whom ownership of the property passes in the event of one... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Massachusetts on
Q: 24 hour notice

Hello, I received a noticed from my landlord that I am no longer able to use the basement for storage and I can no longer use/have my washer and dryer in the basement. Which is his right to denie me access as this is his house. Even though that's part of the reason I rented the house and it will... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 18, 2019

I suggest you call the Section 8 people and see if there is something in the lease or their contract with the landlord that addresses this.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Civil Litigation for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I RENEW a Massachusetts civil capias warrant issued in a home contractor award case that will expire in 2 months.

The warrant is evidently good for 1 year during daylight hours only. I have proof of defendant's continued address occupancy (signatures on USPS postal receipts within last 2 months), but is otherwise very good at dodging the sheriff. Person would be greatly happy when this expires, as could now... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 13, 2019

You have to file a written motion for a new capias, mark it for hearing, give notice to the debtor, and surrender the old capias.

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 »

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