Tag Archives: Real Estate

Is Boston’s New Rental Law Enforceable?

20 Sep

MetroBoston publication date September 18, 2013
By Attorney George Warshaw

You’ve probably heard about Boston’s new registration and inspection law.

If you own and rent an apartment or condo in Boston or don’t live in it, you have to register your property with the Inspectional Services Department.

Here are some key details.

  • Registration was due by August 31st. If you haven’t registered you will have to pay a penalty.
  • Every year you will have to renew your registration and pay a small fee.
  • If you, the property owner, don’t live in Massachusetts you have to designate a resident agent.
  • If your children occupy the apartment but you don’t, you still have to register your property.

As part of the registration, the property owner is required to certify that he or she is familiar with a plethora of complex laws and regulations including the State Sanitary Code, Building Code, Student Zoning Code, Lead Paint Standards, Fair Housing Regulations, etc. – and the owner has to certify an intention to comply with them.

Is that possibly legal?

I could not honestly certify familiarity with thousands of pages of regulations and I’ve written a textbook on Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Law used by lawyers and law schools throughout the state and litigated cases in the Housing Court for 20 years.

Can you be forced to certify what isn’t true? © 2013 George Warshaw.


Minimizing Stress in Buying a New Home

18 Oct

MetroBoston Publication Date October 17, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

The real estate market has heated up. While prices are not what they once were, prices are moving upwards with many properties selling over the asking price.

With pent up buyer demand comes stress, especially if you are selling your home and buying a new one.

Avoid the two most common mistakes that buyers make.

First, if you are selling and buying a new home don’t try to do both on the same day. Sell on one day and buy the next. There is too much that can go wrong to risk it all on the same day.

Second, don’t choose the busiest day of the week to close on your purchase.

What would happen if the deed doesn’t get recorded that day? You might not be able to move into your new home for several days. If the sellers were counting on the money to buy a new place to live on the same day, what will they do?

All this can be avoided: never choose a Friday, the last day of any month or the day before a holiday for your closing. These are the busiest real estate days. Why take a chance?

Everything happens very quickly in real estate. Take your time – and a deep breath. © 2012 George Warshaw.

George Warshaw is a real estate attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at metro@warshawlaw.com.



3 Oct

MetroBoston Publication Date October 3, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

 Last week I wrote about the dangers of radon in one’s home even at the so-called federal safety level. With 7 out of a thousand nonsmokers and 62 out of a thousand smokers predicted to get lung cancer at the federal safety level, it hardly seems like a safe level at all.

 Radon is not just limited to the air in one’s home. It’s in drinking water. While city or town water is treated and likely to disperse any radon within it, if you have well-water then you may have a serious problem.

 Radon in one’s water supply can cause stomach cancer when ingested if levels of radon are sufficiently high. Similarly, radon gas that is dispersed when one washes dishes or showers can cause lung cancer.

 Safety levels in water are measured differently than in air. That’s what confusing. Not all the states are consistent in what they view as a safe level or problem dose. Massachusetts believes that a level of 10,000 pCi/L is safe in water. New Hampshire believes that only 2,000 pCi/L is safe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency thinks 300 pCi/L (yes, that’s right, 300) is the safe level.

 So if you have radon in your water supply, take action, and don’t necessary rely on what the government thinks is safe. © 2012 George Warshaw.

George Warshaw is a real estate attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at metro@warshawlaw.com.


16 Jan

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: January 11, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

Imagine. You just sold your house or got a big payday on your job.

You have a check in hand for “real money.” You deposit it at your bank – but then you find out, days after you made your deposit, that you can’t access your money for at least 10 business days!


You go back to the bank and yell and scream. If you had known, you would have asked for a bank check from your sale or big payday and deposited it instead.

“Sorry, it wouldn’t have mattered,” you’re told. “Even bank checks have to clear. They’re not the same as cash or a wire transfer.”

If your funds were hung up in the banking system and you needed them to buy a house the next day, where would you be? In default!!!

That’s where your bank matters.

At least one major bank treats any check over $5,000 as a large deposit and takes up to ten business days to clear it – unless, of course, you’re an important client.

And some investment or mutual fund companies take 4 business days to clear checks.

So ask about clear periods before depositing large checks.

Or better yet, have your funds sent by wire transfer. It’s treated as cash as soon as it arrives at your bank.

Next week: Important changes in probate procedures may affect your will.

(c) 2012 George Warshaw.