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July 2011 Archives

Landlord Tenant Rights, When Can You Withhold Rent?

Landlord tenant rights are at issue as Middleboro town officials and tenants of the Edgeway Mobile Home Park battle the owner of the park Corey Farcas. Town officials say that Farcas has ignored repeated pleas to repair a host of health and safety violations on his property. Now the town is considering reducing rent for tenants. But can tenants withhold rent completely?

According to, since 2003, the town has been at odds with Edgeway. The town had ordered the former owner of the mobile home park to fix several health and zoning problems like a blocked buffer zone and water pooling underneath units, but the owner refused to comply.

Massachusetts Adverse Possession Laws

Massachusetts adverse possession laws may seem like an arcane topic only discussed by law students in law libraries. However, the laws may actually have much more relevancy to you than you may think.

So what is does adverse possession mean? The law states that if you’ve been in possession of property, improve it and openly possess it, then after a certain amount of time you may acquire legal title to the land even if it is owned by someone else. It’s a little like legal stealing.

Politics, Boston Redevelopment, and Air Rights

With the Big Dig finally concluding in 2007, the next big fight in Boston redevelopment may be the battle over air rights along the Massachusetts Turnpike. The Simon Property Group is currently seeking to enlarge Copley Place, and with the help of Mayor Thomas Menino and Governor Deval Patrick, they may be able to move forward after leasing the air rights from the state that would allow the expansion.

According to The Boston Globe, Simon Property plans to expand Copley Place by building a complex that would include 318 condominiums, a larger Neiman Marcus store, and a glass-enclosed garden with restaurants and shops. The expansion would involve the property above the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Town Orders Property Condemnation of Easton Real Estate

The Town of Easton has ordered the property condemnation of a piece of land that has plagued the residents of the landscaped Village Gate Community for years. The Easton real estate at issue is apparently overgrown with weeds, rotted trees, and burned out trailers, in stark contrast to the otherwise manicured townhouse community.

According to Wicked Local Easton, neighbors of the blight on 427 Turnpike Street have been concerned with the property saying that it invites vermin and vagrants. On the property are piles of trash and three trailers left in disrepair. One of the trailers was damaged in a fire three years ago, and the debris of the fire has been left on the property ever since. Neighbors have expressed concern that the eyesore affects their own home values.

Neighbor Dispute Leads to Dorchester Shooting

A neighbor dispute got out of control and led to a Dorchester shooting. Neighbors often do not act very neighborly, and that was certainly the case in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston over the weekend.

According to The Boston Globe, an unidentified man and his neighbor, Charles Johnson, got into an argument when Johnson apparently parked his car in front of the other man’s driveway. When the man asked Johnson to move his car, the two got into a heated argument.

Michael O'Donnell Taunton Real Estate Nuisance to Some

The Taunton real estate owned by former Boston Financial Trust trustee Michael O'Donnell has been called a nuisance to his neighbors, and now O'Donnell may understand why.

According to the Taunton Daily Gazette, O'Donnell's property, located at 115 Tremont Street, was formerly a busy farm and garden supply store. But since O'Donnell took over the land ten years ago, his neighbors claim that the property has deteriorated into an unsightly collection of dilapidated buildings, old cars, and random machinery.

Old Churches for Sale Pursuant to Catholic Church Canon Law

Pursuant to Catholic church canon law, Cardinal Sean O’Malley removed the sacred standing of six old churches for sale by issuing a public decree, thereby potentially allowing buyers to redevelop the properties for nonreligious use.

According to The Boston Globe, the decrees satisfy a requirement under canon law that only allows the archdiocese to sell the properties after officially deeming the property “relegated for profane use” — meaning non-religious use.

Faulty Draftstop to Blame for Apartment Building Fire?

Fire investigators are saying that inadequate draftstop may be to blame for the total loss of a Quincy complex after an apartment building fire.

Over the weekend, a woman barbecuing on her second-floor balcony at the Faxon Park Apartments complex sparked a fire that quickly got out of control and burned down the entire 24-unit apartment building, reports the Patriot Ledger.

According to the Ledger, fire officials say that flames from the charcoal grill sparked a fire that got out of control as the fire raced through the building's attic unchecked. Officials cited inadequate draftstop in the building, as required by the Massachusetts Fire Code, to have led to the quick spreading of the fire resulting in the total loss of the building.

State officials are beginning a campaign to advertise the federal Emergency Homeowners' Loans Program as concern grows that not enough qualified Massachusetts homeowners are applying for the mortgage bridge loans.

According to The Boston Globe, the Emergency Homeowners' Loans Program (EHLP) was approved by Congress last year and makes loans available for out-of-work homeowners for up to two years. These mortgage bridge loans are meant to help out-of-work homeowners continue to make mortgage payments while giving them an opportunity to find work and get back on their feet. In many cases, these loans do not have to be repaid, reports the Globe.

A Somerville rezoning corridor is being planned along the new Green Line extension in anticipation of increased traffic and business when the line opens in 2014.

According to The Boston Globe, the $1 billion T project that will extend the Green Line through Somerville is hoped to revitalize whole neighborhoods near the city's aging industrial edge.

In rezoning the land along the Green Line, officials are optimistic that commercial and residential developers will come to the city and build up the areas along the proposed T stops, reports the Globe.