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Massachusetts Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I am looking to buy a house but, I am leasing an apartment in Andover,MA. Am I allowed to break a lease without penalty?

Am I allowed to break the lease to my apartment if I find my dream house while while my lease is yet to reach the date of termination and not have the landlord charge me rent for the remainder of my lease?

Richard Gaudet
Richard Gaudet answered on Apr 9, 2021

Typically no. The terms of a lease, if the terms follow Mass law will likely hold, and a breach of those terms will likely result in the breaching side owing any penalties due under the lease. On the other hand, if the landlord is not providing habitable conditions, or violating Mass law relative... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I signed over my home to my grandson . Can I reverse this decision? Is there a time limit to do this
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 29, 2021

You have not supplied any details as to what the circumstances were and it is possible that you were victimized and coerced into doing so or not competent at the time and may be able to pursue an equity action. Pursuing action sooner is better than later and you don't want to run into any... Read more »

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 »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 10, 2021

If it is a private way it would seem that it should be unobstructed for use in that way.

You should have your deed reviewed and your title insurance potentially might cover litigation to stop the parking or you will need to engage counsel.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: How do I get title to property when a partial owner has been dead for 120 years with no heirs?

A property that has been handed down within a family and has never needed title was sold without the seller(s) being aware that one person who has owned this portion (1/9) since 1852 never passed it on to anyone.

She died in 1901. Her only surviving heir died in 1918. The last mention of... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 8, 2021

This a complex process and you really need Land Court experienced counsel to represent you if you have a title problem. I am assuming no Owners title insurance was involved at all.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: NS Wills filed like death certificates,no probates,heirsThen sell massachsetts land to me.How do i get title insuranc
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 15, 2021

Contact a local title insurance company and tell them you would like to purchase a title insurance policy.

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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 Real Estate Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Massachusetts on
Q: I live in MA , my husband died last year, left no will, house in his name only and we have 2 adult children that’s all.

How do I proceed to put house in my name so I may legally sell?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 1, 2021

If all of the children are of your marriage to him or are yours and his, then you take all of the estate. However, you will need to commence an estate in the Norfolk Probate Court if that is the residence county and seek appointment as Personal Representative and notify MassHealth Estate Recovery... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Property was owned as follows, Mother’s Estate 50%, two daughters 25% each. One daughter paid expenses of home from

Date Mother passed until sale as other daughter refused to sign sale papers if expenses were reimbursed. Expenses were placed in escrow until agreement made. A small claim suit was filed to force release of escrow, but a counter suit was filed for financial and emotional distress. What type of... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jan 31, 2021

A Massachusetts attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for two weeks. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. As a GENERAL matter, there is a tort law cause of action called intentional infliction of emotional distress - but this sounds like it might be something more along the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My mothers name on the deed to my grandfather's house but his will says its left to me

Would the house still fall under part of his estate

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jan 20, 2021

While it appears that If the title to the real estate was not in grandfather's name then he already transferred it to your mother and thus does not appear to be in grandfather's estate, but were there other facts??? This question is Not susceptible to a black and white answer without... Read more »

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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: My property has a shared driveway without any legal easements. Is that a problem if I sell the property.

Would I have to disclose that information?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Dec 16, 2020

You will need to have your title reviewed on this subject and this is not susceptible of a forum response.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: How can I change my name on my house deed? I have had a legal name change.
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Dec 14, 2020

Normally you would wait until you are transferring or mortgaging the real estate and then also provide your old name with "formerly known as" .

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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Divorce ??? I have a deed & mortgage with a Joint tenancy with right of survivorship with my dad ( father / son).

I have a deed & mortgage with a Joint tenancy with right of survivorship with my dad ( father / son).

My wife has filed for divorce.

She was not added to deed / mortgage because at the time of purchase she was in arrears with the DOR for back child support from another... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Dec 3, 2020

It looks like it is a marital asset to be divided equitably by the Probate Court if the parties are unable to agree on property distribution. You have not stated the duration of the marriage or other circumstances so assuming at least 10 years it is possible that the Court would assign 50% of the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My father recently passed. He owned a home with a friend. What are my responsibilities as a surviving adult child?

The friend is not a legal spouse but still lives in the home. My father is listed on the deed/mortgage as a joint tenant in common. Can this house be sold without approval by his heirs?

Kimberly Winslow
Kimberly Winslow answered on Nov 29, 2020

The deed would typically be tenants in common or joint tenants with right of survivorship. If right of survivorship, property automatically goes to the co-owner. If it is tenants in common, then it would need to go through probate to determine his heirs. Unless the deed states otherwise,... Read more »

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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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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I co-own a property in Massachusetts. The other owner is buying me out. Are there tax issues I should be aware of?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 17, 2020

You will have a taxable gain based on the sales proceeds less your basis in the property. If the property was subject to depreciation, then you would have "recapture" income. This recapture income would be taxed as ordinary income and not as capital gain income. Any amount of gain in... Read more »

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