Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Questions Answered by Christopher Tolley
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 »

View More Answers

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 »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I buy 3 family and legally break tenants lease due to lead in home and her children living there?

Buying 3 family home in Massachusetts. Unit one is a mother with a newborn and other young children. This unit has no lead certificate and they have signed a lease to stay until next May. Seller wants buyer to uphold lease agreements, however the current lease violates the state lead law. Will I... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 6, 2018

You are likely going to face the possibility that you will have to delead the unit or the building. Online forums such as these are only useful up to a point. I strongly suggest you consult an attorney familiar with this area of the law before proceeding further.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My neighbor's wall tilts about an inch and a half on my property, would it be legal for me to cut it down with my tools?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Dec 3, 2018

I know of nothing that permits this. Destruction of another's possibly encroaching structure is always risky without specific legal sanction to do so. For example, if you are incorrect about the location of the boundary line, your neighbor will have a right to sue you for destroying the fence and... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Do gift certs expire in Mass?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Nov 24, 2018

It has to have a term of at least seven years. It has to have the issuance date and the expiration date on it. If it has no expiration date, it is good indefinitely. This applies to electronic cards. There are websites with more specifics, I suggest you check them to make sure whatever you have... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I have some old debt from 2008 - can a collector garnish my wages?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Nov 6, 2018

In order to obtain a wage attachment, the creditor must have a judgment against you. The creditor is required to file a new lawsuit based on the judgment and appear before a judge to ask permission for a wage attachment. The creditor is required to give you written notice of the time date and place... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts on
Q: State MA - Servicer refuses full payment to cure loan default, Wired payment to their attorney, He sends personal check

This is regarding stopping a foreclosure. the funds are on hand to bring the loan current but the Servicer and their Attorneys are misleading my elderly mother. they are using dirty tricks to delay or even block her from curing her loan, The servicers attorneys were contacted and on 3 occasions... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Aug 2, 2018

Call the attorney general's office or the Massachusetts banking commissioner. Both have units that deal with this type of behavior.

1 Answer | Asked in Collections for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a court take my social security disability for a debt judgement. Even if it my only source of income
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jul 30, 2018

Unless the debts sought to be collected are child support, federal taxes or student loan repayments you owe, the answer is no. The issue is for you to be proactive, since the court may give the creditor a bank account attachment or order you to make payments because they are unaware your income or... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can the bank foreclose on my house when I'm the only one on deed and ex husband is only on the mortgage

I was awarded house in divorce my name is not on mortgage and the only one on deed, how can I get it back before foreclosure?

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jul 18, 2018

Unfortunately, the lender can foreclose on the mortgage even though only your name is on the deed and only your ex-husband's name is on the mortgage. As long as the mortgage was validly created, regardless of who gave it and who currently owns the property, a lender is always entitled to foreclose... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is the seller of the property I just bought responsible for disclosing mold on the property?

My husband and I just purchased a home from a family trust. There were no disclosures. Inspection revealed a 60 year old furnace and a roof in need of complete replacement (sellers sort of admitted awareness of the roof condition in a round about way). Because they didn’t disclose, they covered... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jun 22, 2018

Massachusetts law requires only that home sellers disclose the existence of lead paint and the presence of a septic system. Beyond this, Massachusetts is a caveat emptor state where it is up to the buyer to satisfy herself as to the condition of the property by conducting an inspection or doing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Who is responsible for repairing a retaining wall on a shared residential property line?

The properties are located in Massachusetts. The wall is on the property line. The properties are on a steep hill. There has been no recent excavation or building on either property. Both properties are over 60 years old and neither owner is original owner. Not sure who built the wall, but it... Read more »

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Jun 13, 2018

Here is the misleadingly short answer: the duty to repair a wall falls on the person who altered the grade of his land, and later owners of the same property. However, there are so many fact-bound variations on this concept that stating it this way may raise more issues than it resolves. Who is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: When I pass are my children responsible for any bills left behind like visa or master chg.etc.
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on May 31, 2018

Your children will not likely be personally responsible for these bills, but if there are any assets in your estate like real property, bank accounts, etc., your creditors have a right to pursue your estate and seek recovery from those assets. The effect of this may be that your children's share of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Car Accidents and Insurance Defense for Massachusetts on
Q: In Massachusetts, do i have to be pressent if my insurance company wants to tow my totalled car from my driveway?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on May 31, 2018

I know of no law requiring you to be present but your insurance policy may require it, or your insurance company may ask you to be present so they are sure they have the correct vehicle.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If my brother and I bought a vacation home 1974. He stopped paying in 1994. Does he still own half?

I have put two additions on house. My brother is still welcome to use the house once a year for two weeks for vacation, but pays nothing.

Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on May 21, 2018

If the property was conveyed to you and your brother, your name and his name are on the deed, and it has not been conveyed to anyone else, your brother still has the interest he obtained when it was originally conveyed to both of you. Unless you had an agreement that failure to contribute to... Read more »

View More Answers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.