• Notes from the Legal Hotline: February 2024

    February 1, 2024

    - By The MAR Legal Team

     Q: Can commissions be paid to an LLC? A: Whether commissions can be paid to an LLC depends on how the LLC is established and by whom. First and foremost, Massachusetts real estate licensing laws prohibit the sharing of fees, commissions, or other valuable consideration with an unlicensed individual. This restriction extends to corporate entities, such as LLCs, which must be validly licensed. For a corporation to become licensed, Massachusetts…
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  • MAR Successfully Defends Affordable Housing

    January 5, 2024

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) released its decision in Carroll v. Norwell, holding in-line with MAR’s amicus brief to protect land reserved for affordable housing uses. In the case, the town of Norwell designated land for affordable housing purposes in 2004. Over the next seventeen years, the town took several steps to prepare for potential future affordable housing development on the land. In 2021, when the town was finally closing…
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  • Notes From the Legal Hotline: January 2024

    December 21, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Q: An unrepresented buyer attended my open house and scheduled a follow up showing with me. I answered all their questions about the property and now they want to submit an offer using a buyer’s agent. Can I tell the buyer they can’t use their own agent at this point? A: No. A buyer may choose who they want to represent their interests in a real estate transaction, and a…
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  • 2023 Year in Advocacy Review

    December 13, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    2023 was a banner year by any metric for MAR advocacy success. Here’s the rundown:  Fighting Rent Control and Transfer Taxes  2023 saw the rise in two significant threats to housing in Massachusetts – rent control and transfer taxes. The former was proposed as part of a sweeping ballot question to be included on the 2024 election ballot. Fortunately, supporters fell significantly short of the required signatures to reach the…
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  • Notes From the Legal Hotline: December 2023

    December 4, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Q: Who may receive a referral fee? A: Referral fees may only be paid to individuals who hold a real estate license; unlicensed individuals may never be given anything of value in exchange for a referral. Within the broad category of “licensee,” however, there are several nuances that are important to take note of when paying a referral fee. An individual holding an active salesperson’s license may only receive real…
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  • Forms Updates – November 2023

    November 28, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Below are some important updates to the MassForms™ Library. Be sure to confirm that you are using the latest versions of these forms. You can access these forms here. UPDATED: Listing Agreements (Forms 692, 693, 707, 708, 709, 715, 721) All versions of the Listing Agreement in the Library have been updated to allow for the fee due to the broker to be entered as either a dollar amount or…
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  • Rent Control Ballot Question Ended, Opposition Continues

    November 13, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Proponents of the 2024 ballot question that proposed to lift the statewide prohibition on rent control and give municipalities control over everything from evictions to real estate broker’s fees to removal of properties from the rental market have suspended their efforts. Supporters fell significantly short of the roughly 75,000 voter signatures required to move the ballot question onto the next step in the approval process. Read more about the process…
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  • Notes From the Legal Hotline: November 2023

    November 7, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Q: May a buyer’s agent advertise a listed property of another brokerage? A: Permission should always be obtained prior to advertising the listing of another brokerage, even if you are a cooperating buyer’s agent. Advertising a listing that is not yours, regardless of your participation in the transaction, could result in a Code of Ethics, MLS, copyright, and/or licensing complaint being filed against you. Once a transaction closes, however, Article…
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  • What does the Burnett v. NAR et al. Verdict mean for Massachusetts REALTORS®?

    November 2, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    On October 31 the jury in the Burnett v. NAR et al, class action lawsuit reached its verdict, finding that NAR and the co-defendants participated in a conspiracy to enforce the cooperative compensation rule ultimately leading sellers to pay more than they would have otherwise. The jury awarded $1.785 billion in damages to the Plaintiff class, which by law will be automatically trebled to roughly $5.4 billion. NAR President Kasper…
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  • Notes From the Legal Hotline: October 2023

    October 5, 2023

    - By The MAR Legal Team

    Q: Must a REALTOR® affirmatively disclose whether a listed property is haunted? A: No, psychological impacts on a property, such as hauntings, are not required to be affirmatively disclosed to a prospective buyer and are, in fact, specifically exempted from affirmative disclosure under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 93, Section 114, commonly referred to as the Stigmatized Property Law. In 1998, the Stigmatized Property Law was enacted, which specifically states that…
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