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Questions Answered by Christopher Tolley
1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is it required in MA to test and de-lead an old property (1800s) before renting it out?

We have a property (1800s) that we want to rent out. However, the presence/absence of lead is unknown. As landlords, are we required to test the presence of lead (and de-lead if found) before we rent it out? Can we have the tenants sign an agreement that it has been informed to them that it is... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jul 14, 2021

You are required to test for the presence of lead before you rent. You do not necessarily have to de-lead the property before renting, there are other ways to deal with lead paint. You cannot require tenants sign an agreement stating they accept the presence of lead on the property. This is a good... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a lawyer submit evidence in a case that's not presented in written complaint to the court
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jul 13, 2021

Yes. In Massachusetts the complaint itself need be only a "(1) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (2) a demand for judgment for the relief to which he deems himself entitled." A complaint need not contain the evidence necessary to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Merge an LLC and it's assets in NYC with an LLC in Ma..

Our family has a condo in NYC under the management of an LLC owned by my sister-in-law. We want to merge the NYC LCC and it's assets (condo) with an LLC in Boston, Ma. (owned by myself and my wife) and then close the NYC LCC. We will then do a 1031 Transfer for a property in the Boston area.... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jul 6, 2021

There are several ways to approach this. You could register the MA LLC in NY and convey the NY condo. to the MA LLC. You could merge the two in both states, as you suggested, which would likely involve registering each LLC in the other state first. The above is not an exhaustive list of how to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If I am setting up a irrevocable living trust with 2 properties do I just complete and sign in front of a notary?

I was wondering if the properties in Mass have to be reregistered at some point or is there anything about the trust setup thats common I have never done this before. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on May 18, 2021

If the plan is for the irrevocable trust to own the properties, and the properties are real property, you need to convey the properties by deed from whoever owns them to the trust.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Traffic Tickets for Massachusetts on
Q: My tiny street is a right of way over other properties . Can my neighbors park on it obstructing our view and safety?

On a tiny private road only 15-20 feet wide, my neighbors (before my home) have been using it as a parking lot. It's not impassible, but it makes life difficult as we can't see down the street from our driveway due to the blockage, and now the kids have this reduced view when riding their... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Mar 10, 2021

Without knowing the rights of the owners who own property on the way, I am unable to state what right you have to direct your neighbor to park elsewhere. Common sense would dictate that if you have a right to unobstructed passage over the way, and if his vehicle is blocking the way, even partially,... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I am a real estate investor that has started to participated in bank listed auctions.

If the property is occupied by owner/tenant I have heard that if you are acquiring the property for possession you are allowed to serve and evict the individual with a 30 day notice. They may appeal the eviction which can be dragged out in court for up to another 30 days. I got this legal advice... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Feb 4, 2021

Eviction of former owners is handled differently from eviction of tenants. Former owners are tenants at sufferance not entitled to notice to evict but common sense dictates they be given a reasonable amount of time to leave. I do not usually give thirty days notice but it is not unreasonable. You... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Lemon Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Hi, I like know about consumer law. I want to know about my rights.

I bought a used car from dealership and during my purchase I was not told about the Defects that involve the actual operation of the car. Examples include the brakes, tires, and Blind Spot Detection system. I replaced the tires and brakes and pay to dealership worth($500) and they told me to go to... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 22, 2021

You may be entitled to relief under the Massachusetts Lemon Law. I suggest you review the requirements here: https://www.mass.gov/guides/guide-to-used-vehicle-warranty-law. You should also visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/consumer-services-at-the-attorney-generals-officer The dealer has... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If I own two properties that abuts a paper road do I have more rights then my Neigbor?

I live in a private neighborhood my house has a separate piece of land that I pay taxes on and the paper road was designed for this piece of land. My Neigbor is trying to Claim the whole paper road as his front yard? He’s even trying to clear my half of the paper road from its natural brush so... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 12, 2021

Under the derelict fee statute, G.L. c. 183, s. 58, title to property abutting a way carries with it either (i) ownership to the midpoint of the way, when the grantor retains land on the other side of the same; or (ii) ownership of the entire width of the way, when the grantor does not own land on... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: How to end the lease early due to a toxic roommate situation?

I'm asking for my friend Anne, located in Boston, who has been living with a terrible roommate who continuously harasses her verbally and mentally for several months. For the past 2 months Anne has been trying to break her lease by subletting her room, but finding it impossible to escape this... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jan 5, 2021

I think you have stated the legal issues well. The landlord has to to approve any subletter, and likely the lease says that approval may not be unreasonably withheld. He is is reasonably withholding his approval because the roommate does not approve. The landlord has every right to hold your friend... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a sub-hoa be formed after a Master HOA has solely been in effect for many years?

Our neighborhood has condos, townhomes, and single family homes all governed by a Master HOA. The condos also have a sub-hoa as governing their properties. Can a street with 6-7 single family homes on it create their own sub-hoa to manage the common cul-de-sac's rules, regulations and... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 8, 2020

You have to consult the condominium documents and any amendments as to the procedure for amending the condominium documents. Amendments may require the assent of a certain percentage of unit owners and their mortgagees. If you have a combination of types of units and at least one sub-hoa my guess... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Are the home inspector or seller responsible?

We had a home inspection and was advised a fireplace we were concerned about only needed to be repointed and capped but no major issues found. Two weeks after moving in a chimney sweep found both fireplaces unusable and unsafe. There is a 9ft crack and major moisture damage and damage from a... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 8, 2020

A common clause in many P&S agreements states the buyer had an opportunity to inspect the property and are buying it 'as is'. If your P&S had such a clause, you may have a difficult time pursuing the seller. However, if the seller or the broker said anything to you about the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Am i bound to lease agreement from last year even though never renewed for this year?

Lives in a leased unit with lease agreement 1/2019-12/2019 and never renewed, and lived another year (2020) paying landlord the same on 1st of each month. I moved out on 12/4/20 and landlord is asking for the final rent payment for the month even though i didnt use whole month. Must i pay this... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 7, 2020

Your lease may be self-renewing. If it is, and it contains a cancellation fee, you may be liable for that and may have been required to follow everything the lease states regarding terminating your tenancy. If the lease is not self-renewing you were required to give the landlord notice of your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: How do i go about transfering poperty in puerto rico under my name

My grand mother passed a few yrs ago with no will... none of the siblings want the property i have the original deed and paperwork to the property how do i go about transferring the property deed under my name without traveling to puerto rico

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Nov 24, 2020

I think you have to get in touch with an attorney in Puerto Rico, unless you can find someone here who is licensed to practice in Puerto Rico.

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1 Answer | Asked in Collections, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a person sue me for non-payment after refusing to give me the bill?

After a break up I spent some time living with my Nana. Our agreement was I’d work in lieu of rent in her shop, but pay utilities in the house I occupied since it’s normally empty. The utilities were in her name. After events ranging from abusive, to manipulative, to straight out slanderous I... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Nov 18, 2020

You appear to understand and agree that you owe the bill for March. However, if you do not know the amount to pay, you cannot pay it. Your Nana would have to show you knew the amount you had to pay, that she asked you for the money, and you refused to pay.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: No, we did notice after closing by Buyer so real estate agent did not know. Inspection done by buyer

Inspection done and was noticed after 30 days the water leakage by buyer...

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 20, 2020

Same response.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: When the buyer notices water leakage after closing, will they sue Seller in Massachusetts?

Buyer did not ask Seller about water leakage before closing and seller did not know

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 20, 2020

In order to recover from the Seller, the Buyer must show the Seller made a false statement of a material fact made to induce the Buyer to act, and that the Buyer relied on the Seller's false statement.

Based on the short description of the issue, the Seller never made any statements...
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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Consumer Law, Contracts and Entertainment / Sports for Massachusetts on
Q: Fitness training company charging me for services that were not provided. What are my options?

I signed up for personal fitness training with a company for 6 months from Dec-2019 to May-2020 ($600 for each month & 10 sessions each month). No services were provided between Mar 2020 to May 2020 due to COVID. The company was not reachable on phone during that time for cancellation enquiry.... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 9, 2020

Most lawyers' rates would make legal representation impractical. Look carefully at your contract and see what your options are. Contact your credit card company and have them stop the automatic payments. I suggest you consider filing a small claims suit yourself. If nothing else, it will get... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My father passed away & left properties - if he for some reason still owes a mortgage - am I as a heir responsible?

I never co-signed for any loans! The properties are in Puerto Rico!

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 6, 2020

If you did not sign for the loans, you cannot be held personally responsible. I assume the Puerto Rico mortgages, if any, are like Massachusetts mortgages, that empower the lender to sell the property to satisfy the debt, and in most cases if you wanted to stop the foreclosure sales payment... Read more »

Q: What is CDC eviction meant for MA state ? Can someone explain to me ?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 5, 2020

The CDC moratorium forbids landlords from attempting to evict tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenants meet certain financial hardship guidelines:

- Make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if they file a joint tax return)

- Be unable to make full rent “due to substantial loss of...
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