• Banning Development to Achieve Coastal Flood Plain Management

    February 7, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    As sea levels rise, the earth warms and storms strengthen, responsible development and regulation in our coastal communities is necessary to protect public health, safety and general welfare as well as still allowing for much needed housing development and helping coastal communities continue to thrive. The key is to create smart solutions to marry responsible development and resource protection, avoid development bans and a “one size fits” all approach on…
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  • Notes From the Legal Hotline: February 2023

    February 3, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Q: Is a brokerage required to have an escrow account? A: A brokerage is only required to maintain an escrow account if they hold transaction funds. 254 CMR 3.10 requires that all money paid over to a real estate broker during the pendency of a transaction be immediately deposited in a bank escrow account, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties. An escrow account is one in which…
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  • MBTA Communities Important Next Steps

    February 3, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    The first major deadline for the MAR-supported MBTA Communities law took effect on January 31st. The law requires communities served by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to create at least one reasonably sized zoning district where multi-family housing is permitted as of right. (Read more about the law and MAR’s involvement here.)  The law covers 175 communities, all of which were required to submit a six-page action plan by January…
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  • MAR Successfully Defends Buyer Agency

    February 2, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Today, the state’s highest court issued its decision in Biping Huang vs. Jin Ma, a case with significant implications for the practice of real estate. The decision was in-line with a brief MAR filed that explained standard real estate practices and defended a buyer agent’s right to receive their commission when their clients breached an exclusive agency agreement.   What’s the case about?  In the case, real estate broker Biping Huang…
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  • MAR Pushes Back on Expensive Proposal

    January 27, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Earlier this month, we shared details of new proposed Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regulations impacting the south coast, Cape Cod and islands. MassDEP is proposing new and amended regulations to decrease nitrogen pollution in area estuaries that may require homeowners to install new nitrogen reducing septic systems that cost upwards of $30,000, in addition to requiring thousands more in one-time and annual costs. Read more about the proposal…
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  • New Regulations May Add Significant Costs for Homeowners

    January 17, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is proposing new regulations to reduce nitrogen loads in areas of the Cape and South Shore that may significantly increase costs for homeowners. MassDEP has broad authority to regulate Title V, the state septic system law, and nitrogen impaired estuaries, dubbed Nitrogen Sensitive Areas (NSAs). To further that mission, they have proposed new and amended regulations establishing a program they claim will more…
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  • Scam Warning!

    January 12, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    The real estate industry has become accustomed to the ever-evolving threats of fraud, whether it be through wiring instructions, postings of listed properties for rent, or a novel scheme. MAR has recently become aware of a new scam occurring in marketplaces across the country, including Massachusetts. In this scam, an individual contacts a broker to list a property for sale, often times land or a vacant home, but they are…
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  • Notes From the Legal Hotline: January 2023

    December 23, 2022

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Q: Who has the legal obligation to remove snow and ice from a property? A: The State Sanitary Code requires owners to keep all means of egress free from obstruction, including snow and ice. Property owners owe a duty of reasonable care to visitors of the property and may be liable for injuries caused to a visitor due to the failure to remove snow and ice. This duty extends to…
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  • Cummings Properties, LLC vs. Darryl C. Hines Case Summary

    December 20, 2022

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    A recent decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed the question of whether a rent acceleration clause in a commercial lease operates as a legitimate liquidated damages provision or is unenforceable as a penalty.    In the case at hand, Cummings Properties, LLC v. Darryl C. Hines, the tenant defaulted on his rent payments just two months into a 5-year lease. Pursuant to the liquidated damages clause in the lease agreement,…
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  • MAR Advocacy Curbs Frivolous Lawsuits, Promotes Development

    December 16, 2022

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    On December 14th, the highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), issued its decision in Terrence Marengi & others vs. 6 Forest Road, LLC & others (SJC-13316). The court ruled in-line with our amicus brief, that a new law MAR supported to prevent frivolous anti-development lawsuits, would apply to affordable housing developments created under a law known as Chapter 40B.    Background: In 2014, MAR began advocating for statutory…
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