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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins has written a newsletter article on the subject and would like to share it here:  

Over this coming year, Perkins & Anctil, P.C., will be sharing a series of educational articles to assist our clients in the day to day operations of their associations. This article is the first in a series which will focus on all aspects of planning, preparing and hosting an Annual Meeting.

1. MEETING PREPARATION

a. Prior to the actual meeting, review the meeting package to make sure it includes all enclosures and was prepared in accordance with the documents. Verify the time and place required for the meeting along with the meeting notice requirement.

b. Make sure the proxies comply with the provisions of the documents. If directed proxies are being utilized, review the condominium documents to confirm their use is permitted pursuant to the documents.

c. A list of unit owners should be updated and current. If possible, utilize a software program (such as Excel) to calculate the number of unit owners in attendance or represented by proxy and confirm the establishment of a quorum.

d. Only unit owners and the holder of a valid proxy and/or a Power of Attorney are permitted to attend the meeting. Other individuals may not be permitted to attend the meeting without the consent of the voting body.

e. Although this seems obvious, make sure the meeting location is set-up in advance with adequate seating and accommodations for people with physical limitations. Make sure all audio-visual equipment is set-up in advance and working properly.

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The following article was written by Community Associations Insitute's Dawn Bauman, CAE on Jan 29, 2020:

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released guidance yesterday for individuals requesting an accommodation for an assistance animal and housing providers responding to these requests under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
According to HUD, FHA complaints concerning denial of reasonable accommodations and disability access comprise almost 60% of all FHA complaints and those involving requests for reasonable accommodations for assistance animals are significantly increasing. These complaints are one of the most common that HUD receives.

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Perkins and Anctil is proud to announce that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has appointed David R. Chenelle, Esq., Chair of the Clients' Security Board, effective January 27, 2020. Mr. Chenelle is the Director of Condominium Lien Enforcement and Bankruptcy departments at the firm of Perkins & Anctil, P.C. located in Westford, Massachusetts. Mr. Chenelle is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law, and has been in practice since 1995. In his earlier professional career, he spent 14 years in the manufacturing industry as an engineer and manager for various defense contractors. During this time has also earned his MBA degree.

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The building at 61 Market Street in Lowell now houses condominiums but has served a number of other purposes since its construction c. 1877. Built for Charles B. Coburn, owner-operator of a business dealing in paints and oils, the load bearing brick edifice with nicely ornamented four story façade was also home to, among many other businesses, a furniture painter named L. M. Andrews, a wholesale provisioner named William B. Carey and, later, the Birke’s Department Store in the 1970s. Mr. Coburn’s business remained viable until at least 1924 according to research on file with the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The building was recently adapted for use as the Birke Building Condominium, a conversion that took place in 2005.

Birke Building

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Attorney Eriksen is preparing to distribute an interactive survey via Constant Contact that deals with insurance and is seeking input about individual unit coverage, deductible allocation and deductible cap limits, among other things.  His concern is with the shared investment that all condominium owners make when they purchase a unit and how best to protect that investment though risk management and mitigation measures. 

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The following article is by our senior pertner, Charles A. Perkins, Jr., Esq.

Recently, the FHA acknowledged that it was willing to modify its loan program by offering spot loans to condominium owners. However, in order to be eligible for these loans, the association would be required to complete a questionnaire such as the one we have attached hereto https://www.perkinslawpc.com/images/FHA_Condominium_Loan_-_Approval_Questionaire.pdf . There are concerns with the information requested in this form and if it is not answered completely and truthfully by the association, the board could be subject to fines and in the worst case, legal prosecution.

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The following is by David R. Chenelle, Esq.:  The answer to this question was recently answered by the Norfolk Superior Court in the case of Board of Trustees of the Whitman Pond Village Condominium Trust vs. Jacquelyn Colligan et. al. (“Whitman”)Whitman, as a result of the unit owner’s failure to pay her regular monthly condominium fees, began a Lien Enforcement action pursuant to M.G.L. 183A, §6. As required by statute Whitman provided dutiful notice to the unit owner and all interested parties including the secured mortgage lender at that time, Bank of America (“BOA”). However, during the pending litigation the mortgage was subsequently transferred to the Secretary of HUD and then again to the portfolio of Wilmington Savings Fund (“Wilmington” or the “Bank”).

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The Following was suggested by Senior Partner Charlie Perkins and written by By Lauren Fielder on Dec 18, 2019: With the ease and convenience of online shopping, more people are choosing to have packages delivered directly to their homes.  But the spike in deliveries leading up to the holidays means purchases may be vulnerable to theft before they even make it through the front door.  Package theft has become rampant in recent years, with more than 1.7 million packages going missing or being stolen every day across the U.S., according to the New York Times.

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The bane of a lawyer’s existence is the saying that bad facts equal bad law. In a case recently settled, a lawsuit was commenced against a condominium board and unit owner when a resident was attacked by a level 3 sex offender who was also a paranoid schizophrenic.

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Article written by Robert W. Anctil, Esq.
Perkins & Anctil (P&A) is proud to acknowledge our client and friend Allyson Kreycik, Senior Vice President of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate for her recognition as the 2019 recipient of the Guaranteed Rate Foundation’s Ambassador Award. Allyson is a longtime member of the company’s Chairman’s Circle and President’s Circle. Ranking among the Scotsman Guide’s Top 100 Loan Originators and Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 1 Percent since 2013, Allyson closes over $100 million in sales year after year through referrals alone.

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The following article is by David R. Chenelle, Esq.:  

This case begins in September of 2009, when Jamie Sue Aleckna (“Ms. Aleckna”), as a student at the California Coast University (“CCU”), completed her course work but failed to pay her remaining $6,300.00 in overdue tuition. As a result of the non-payment, and as most readers would expect, CCU then placed Ms. Aleckna’s file on financial hold. Unfortunately for CCU, its problems began in 2012, when Ms. Aleckna and her husband filed for bankruptcy protection listing CCU as a creditor with the tuition debt listed as unsecured and disputed.

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Senior partner Charlie Perkins has written the following about improving internet service to condominium associations: 

CAI has recently been involved in securing changes to the FHA loan review process and has also provided input to the FCC regarding ways to improve competitive broadband internet service for condominium associations.Recent changes to the FHA approvals for condominiums involve significant changes to the FHA loan process for unit owners.

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And the Community Associations Institute is following government efforts to stem false claims regarding emotional support animals and the documentation that goes with them.  Community association and condominium boards may request such documentation in order to allow pets that would normally be proscribed in the association.  Internet sources for false documents, ones that are delivered by an entity that has no first hand knowledge of the individual, are considered unreliable and are becoming more commonly available.  Attorney Perkins suggests some further reading at https://advocacy.caionline.org/hud-support-animals/

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Attorney Scott J. Eriksen has composed the following suggestions for condo board members regarding review of doccuments:  Over the past several weeks, I have fielded a particularly large number of questions and requests from clients related to reviewing and updating condominium documents. “Scott,” goes the typical inquiry, “our governing documents are from the early ‘80s and we haven’t done much with them since then.  Is it time to re-write them?” The answer I almost always give to this is query is: probably not.

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Attorney Charlie Perkins would like people to know the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will hear arguments for an amendment to allow HAM radio (amateur radio) operators to install towers or antennas regardless of prohibitions in community association covenants.  He suggests people call the Massachusetts committee member, Sen. Ed Markey, at 202-224-2742 and request the committee reject the bill and preserve the rights of community associations in Massachusetts to govern such equipment installation. 

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Real estate developer and P&A Client SPL Development Group, LLC has finished the build-out on its project in Salisbury, MA called The Village at Salisbury Square. In building the pocket style neighborhood, SPL was attempting to reverse the long-standing trend toward single family homes on large lots. Company resident Steve Paquette has focused on community over cars and shared greenways and walkability over pavement and driveways. Steve shares with many home buyers a desire to restore a sense of community to neighborhoods that began eroding after WWII. This is done in large part by orienting facades toward each other and providing shared amenities for residents. Three house plans of differing sizes and myriad options for finishes and conveniences make the choices for customizing nearly endless. Energy efficiency in all buildings is also a priority. P&A Managing Partner Rob Anctil invites people to view the website for more information on the project and on pocket neighborhoods in general: http://www.thevillageatsalisburysquare.com/index.php

 

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The real estate department at P&A would like to share a link we found to be helpful in preparing buyers for entering the mortgage market. It is a blog post by KeepingCurrentMatters.com, a real estate news and information website focused on sorting through the overabundant and occasionally conflicting information presented to buyers and sellers on the internet.
The holiday-appropriate link is here: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/10/31/taking-the-spooky-out-of-the-mortgage-process-infographic/

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By: Charles A. Perkins, Jr., Esq.

A recent case involving a Cooperative Association attempting to evict tenants who failed to comply with the 55 and over requirement has led to the Housing Court in Weston, Massachusetts finding that the Association had no procedures in place to update the verification of the 55 and over occupancy requirement and that the initial qualification process alone was inadequate under the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA).

By way of background, HOPA requires that every two years an Association must re-verify the information generated by the original survey or other procedures to qualify for the 55 and over exemption. HOPA on its face requires that any of the following may be used for proof age:

• Driver’s License;
• Birth Certificate;
• Passport;
• Immigration Card;
• Military identification;
• Any other official government identification that shows a date of birth; and
• A document (such as an affidavit, certification in lease or purchase agreement, etc.) signed by any member of the household aged 18 or older asserting that at least one person in the unit is 55 or older. This document does not have to be signed under oath.

HOPA also allows an Association to rely on the following if a resident refuses to provide verification of age:

• Government documents such as a local government household census (not the national census) that show that the unit is occupied by a person aged 55 or older;
• Prior forms, applications or other information verifying the ages of unit occupants;
• Affidavits from individuals not in the household but who have personal knowledge that an occupant is 55 or older. The affidavit must state how the individuals have personal knowledge of the age of the occupant and be signed under the penalty of perjury.

With respect to the two years re-verification requirement, Associations are not required to obtain copies of documents already submitted by occupants for verification purposes, but they must confirm that those residents included in the initial verification continue to occupy the unit. Associations will meet the 55 and over requirement under HOPA so long as the immediate eighty percent (80%) of the units continue to meet that requirement.

In our experience, many Associations although required under the condominium documents themselves and certainly under HOPA, fail to re-certify and should take immediate strides to accomplish the 55 and over certification or re-verification.

Any questions regarding this issue can be addressed to Charles A. Perkins, Jr., at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Attorney Rhonda Duddy has performed hundreds of real estate closings and has prepared a handout with technical terms for those who are new to the process. Knowing the vocabulary of a home purchase can streamline the transaction, prevent confusion and maintain the comfort level of all involved. Attorney Duddy suggests reading the following short terminology primer:

 pdf5 Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know

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The initial requirement for any potential buyer to enter the real estate market is a sound financial position. To be certain of that position, buyers must have a knowledge of the expenses involved in home ownership and in the closing process. Given the above, the next steps, including pre-approval, selecting a property and arranging a home inspection become a matter of process, especially with the help of a qualified closing attorney, lender and realtor. The link below is to one of Attorney Duddy’s information sheets for new buyers that she would like to share with P&A blog readers: 

pdf10 Steps to Buying a Home

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