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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins has received notice that the Massachusetts State Senate is considering a bill that would benefit condominium and homeowner association owners in the form of H. 4236.  The bill would change the law so that the running of the statute of limitations and statute of repose for construction defect claims against developers does not commence until the developer turns over control of the association to the unit owners.

Attorney Perkins would like Massachusetts readers to contact their state senators and the senate president to encourage the bill's passage.

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Attorney Charlie Perkins is concerned that, as property owners in a homeowners’ association or condominium, residents will not receive the federal disaster relief they deserve. This is because FEMA is of the opinion that streets in these communities are private and do not merit debris removal and other services. As a way of mitigating future problems, the Community Associations Institute (CAI) is backing the Disaster Assistance Equity Act, or H.R. 3238 which was introduced by Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Readers can learn more at https://blog.caionline.org/hurricane-florence-will-fema-help-your-community

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With the advent of hurricane season, condominium property managers and homeowners should take the time to review Governor Charlie Baker’s four preparedness stratagems. His office will emphasize one for each week in September: 1) Be Informed and Receive Emergency Alerts, 2) Plan for Emergencies and Disasters, 3) Build an Emergency Kit, and 4) Get Involved in community preparedness and resilience. More information is available at the MEMA website at www.mass.gov/mema. Also, readers can continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.

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Have recent changes in State legislation brought to light new problems for your condominium association?

Are you worried about the effect issues such as marijuana use, smoking in units, discrimination, and insurance will have on your condominium association?

Is there habitual disagreement between the board members, unit owners and/or management company at your association?

The word “Condominium” can sometimes mean “Trouble” and we have a team of experts ready to assist any condominium association dealing with the most problematic issues.

Please join us on Saturday, September 22, 2018 from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm as staff members from Perkins & Anctil, P.C., WT Phelan Insurance, SPS Solutions, LTD, and Sondi Stanton, come together to meet and discuss with you issues facing today’s condominium association.

Location:

Westford Regency Hotel

219 Littleton Road Westford, MA 01886

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Senior Partner Charlie Perkins has received notice that Massachusetts House of Representatives is considering two bills that would benefit condominium and homeowner association owners in the form of H. 4235 and H. 4236. These bills would respectively:

  1. Prevent a condominium developer from including provisions in condominium documents that make it almost impossible for the developer to be sued by the unit owners; and
  2. Change the law so that the running of the statute of limitations and statute of repose for construction defect claims against developers does not commence until the developer turns over control of the association to the unit owners.

CAI and Attorney Perkins request that readers contact Representative Theodore Speliotis, Chair Committee on Bills in Third Reading at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 617-722-2410 to express their support.

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Independent Electric, a P&A client for many years, has recently completed the job of adding solar panels to its rooftop in Somerville, MA. After examining the cost to benefit ratio, it took “All of five minutes to agree to do it because the economics were so favorable”, according to the business development manager for the installer, Sunbug Solar.  Benefits other than the financial variety include reducing the use of electricity off the grid and actually selling some power back to the utility, thereby reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. 

 

Indy E Logo

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Managing Partner Rob Anctil attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Inn this morning. He joined John Amaral, Partner with project developer Omni Properties and approximately 75 others to celebrate the revival of hospitality service in downtown Groton after fire claimed the Inn’s 18th century predecessor in August, 2011. Minutemen were in attendance to mark the occasion.

Attorney Rob Anctil participated in all aspects of the development from acquisition, permitting, raising equity, securing debt financing and reviewing all contracts. The Groton Inn is a truly spectacular property which we all hope will continue to serve the community for another 300 plus years. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, John acknowledged Attorney Anctil and the entire team for its efforts during the past 7 years to make this development possible.    

 Small Groton Inn

 

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The Commonwealth is set to allow recreational pot smoking in July. Given its pungent nature, the activity is likely to set neighbor against neighbor in some densely built associations - even more so than cigarette smoking did when its social acceptability was downgraded over the last decades.  Some community associations are preparing themselves by drafting amendments to their governing documents that prohibit or control pot smoking, as described in a recent Boston Globe article on the subject.  If readers have questions about how their association can deal with the issue, they should contact Attorney Scott J. Eriksen of our firm.   

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Senior Partner Charles A. Perkins is concerned about fire safety and noticed that the fire safety product maker Kidde has issued a recall on its dual sensor smoke alarms for a manufacturing defect.  He forwards this link for those who may have these installed:  https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2018/kidde-recalls-dual-sensor-smoke-alarms-due-to-risk-of-failure-to-alert-consumers-to-a

 

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Senior Partner Charles A. Perkins would like to make people aware of potential changes coming to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae via a congressional effort to “Re-privatize” the institutions. CAI members are concerned the effort may hamper accountability of lenders toward condominium owners, among other things, such as access to mortgages.  Charlie forwards this link with more information from the CAI website:  https://advocacy.caionline.org/tag/freddie-mac/ 

 

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Our senior partner Charles A. Perkins, Jr., director of lien enforcement David R. Chenelle and partner Scott J. Eriksen are in Palms Springs, CA from January 31 to February 3 to attend the Community Associations Institute’s annual event.  Learning opportunities at the conference include presentations on current events and trends in community association living such as dealing with hoarders, 55+ communities, the Fair Housing Act and others.  Networking among attendees is another vital function of the gathering.  We look forward to hearing from our attorneys on their return…

 

LawSeiminar graphic

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Attorney Charles A. Perkins is one of many specialists involved in repairing the damage to multiple units after an owner accidentally set fire inside his unit.  The displaced residents include several neighbors as well as parents of young children, all living in Building 7.  Questions of insurance, asbestos and mold require multiple safety precautions and may delay people’s return.  A news article in The Landmark newspaper with more information is available here:  http://www.thelandmark.com/articles/countryside-estates-fire-brings-safety-issues-to-light/

 

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Based on the insane amount of snow Massachusetts experienced this winter, some experts foresee lenient juries in slip and fall cases.  Most people remember being unable to keep up with the extreme accumulations, especially in late January and early February.  This blogger was forced to snowshoe-pack his front yard so he could throw more snow onto it from the driveway.  The limited ability of owners and managers to expose bare ground in these conditions may result in an easier defense - at least temporarily. 

As a reminder, P&A is recommending leaving open cabinet doors containing water pipes on outside walls, the dishwasher door and, in extremely cold temperatures, leaving faucets open at a drip.   Shoveling roof eaves is another way to avoid winter storm damage to buildings.  Keep warm…

 

Safety image

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Attorney Charlie Perkins would like readers to know the Community Associations Institute’s position on the current tax bill making its way through Congress and that there is a way to take some action. He forwards the article below with more information:

Parts of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act advancing in the U.S. Congress modify existing mortgage and homeownership provisions of the tax code to eliminate or restrict access to homeownership incentives. This is simply not good for the economy or the community association housing model.

Take action to tell the United States Senate to protect community association homeowners in the tax reform proposals.

Two areas of tax reform are significant to the community association housing model-the mortgage interest deduction and deduction of local property taxes.

1.     CAI strongly supports the existing mortgage interest deduction, a national policy that makes homeownership a reality for millions of households. The mortgage interest deduction protects homeowner equity and supports new household formation by ensuring tomorrow's families can follow the same path to homeownership as those before them.

2.     Removing taxpayers' ability to deduct local property taxes from their federal tax liability is a strong disincentive to homeownership and is a federal tax increase on community association households. Eliminating or limiting the deduction for local property taxes will have a profoundly negative impact on housing affordability in the community association housing model, which is already burdened by dual taxation.

CAI calls on lawmakers to oppose these areas in the current reform proposals and craft legislation that provides tax relief for American households, ensures the competitiveness of American enterprise, and maximizes the macroeconomic and household benefits of homeownership.

Thank you for acting on this important issue! If you have any questions, please contact us anytime.

Sincerely,

CAI's Government & Public Affairs Team

 

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Attorney Charlie Perkins forwards this article by Dawn Bauman of CAI chronicling the HAM Radio antennae debate in the senate:

 

Last week, The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to mark-up S 1534 The Amateur Radio Parity Act (a.k.a. HAM radio legislation) when it was withdrawn from the docket.  Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz cosponsored and filed an amendment with their fellow Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee.  The original Senate bill sponsors, Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and Missouri Senator Roger Wicker are said to have disliked the amendment to their bill, so the bill was pulled from the docket and will be rescheduled for November.

 

The HAM radio lobby has been pursuing legislation that would pre-empt community association covenants for the installation of HAM radio towers and antennas.  In 2016, CAI worked with Members of the House of Representatives offices (Eschoo (CA) and Wicker (OR)) to represent the interests of residents living in homeowners associations and to protect their private property rights and private contracts with their community association.

 

CAI members do not support federal legislation to preempt the private contracts and agreements that bind property owners who have voluntarily opted to purchase a home in a community association – also known as condominiums, housing cooperatives, and homeowners associations. This view is consistent with the verified, long-term views of the overwhelming majority of community association homeowners who have responded in multiple national surveys they do not believe their community association should be subjected to additional government regulation or intervention.

 

Senators Nelson and Schatz are uniquely positioned to speak about the impact of the legislation as they serve states with an approaching majority of the residents living in a community association.   They have a keen understanding of the condo and homeowner association housing model and a keen understanding of this legislation.

 

As such, the Nelson-Schatz amendment to S. 1534 is a measurable improvement to residents living in community associations as it provides important clarity that will mitigate the need for jurisprudence.

 

CAI has been involved in dialogue on this issue for the past few years and will continue to engage in the important dialogue to represent the interests of the 68 million people living in community associations.  For history and background on the issue, visit www.caionline.org/hamradios

 

HAM Antenna Symbol

 

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Attorney David R. Chenelle has forwarded the thoughts of credit expert Kim Carpentier on how to monitor the situation and changes, warranted or otherwise, to your own credit. 

 

Equifax Hurricane

 

Here's a follow up to my announcement yesterday regarding the recent data breach at Equifax. Not everyone will be a victim of identity theft, as a result of this breach, but keeping informed can help you mitigate risk when dealing with any data breach. However, I do recommend that whether your information has been compromised or not, some, if not all of the following steps, should be taken. This is a fluid event and information will be changing as time goes by. I will attempt to keep everyone informed through postings on my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimcarpentier/

 

    1. Stay alert: This applies to everyone, whether comprised or not. Chances are, as usual, the original figure of 143 million consumers being hacked is probably only going to grow as future investigations move forward. Pay attention to and retain any mail you receive that is unfamiliar to you, such as notices from the IRS regarding your taxes or any bills from unknown lenders.

    1. Initiate a fraud alert: You can set a fraud alertwith Experian. When you request a fraud alert be added with any of the three major credit bureaus, the bureau you contacted will notify the other two and alerts will be added with those bureaus as well. A fraud alert or initial security alert will warn lenders that you may have been a fraud victim. This extra precaution will notify the potential lender that they should contact you before granting any new line of credit in your name. This fraud alert will stay on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew the fraud alert when it expires.

    1. Monitor your financial accounts: Visit your online bank and financial accounts, and set up any alert features they may have, if you have not already done so. This could help save some time and keep you notified of any unusual events when they occur.

    1. Monitor your credit reports: I know that you can get a Free year of monitoring through the Equifax owned company TrustedID but I'd rather use a different provider. I use Credit Check Total www.creditchecktotal.com for myself and clients. It is owned by Experian. (FYI - most credit monitoring services are owned by the credit bureaus....Think about what that says about this industry).  They offer credit report updates on a 30 day basis.  Please update your report every 30 days and review it to ensure that no fraudulent or incorrect information is being reported.  If anybody needs assistance reading these sometimes confusing credit reports, please feel free to reach out.

    1. Freeze or lock your credit file: This, I believe, is going to be the new normal. You can add and remove a credit freeze very easily through the credit bureaus website. A security freeze will prevent potential lenders and fraudsters from accessing your credit report. Your credit report will only be accessible by unfreezing the account. Here are the links for the 3 credit bureaus:

 

This is something that will affect the American credit system for years to come.  I don't want to get into Why it happened or How

 

it happened, that's well above my pay grade. But it did happen and we need to protect ourselves from any future personal fallout.

 

 If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

 

 Kim Carpentier, Credit Builder  www.valleycreditbuilders.com

 

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Attorney Perkins would like to forward this narrative of the situation in and around Houston along with some suggestions for how to help.

https://advocacy.caionline.org/harvey/

Texas

 

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Attorney Charlie Perkins and staff at P&A would like people to be aware of the opportunities and of the dangers associated with viewing a total eclipse. Many people are moved to extreme emotion when the moon passes in front of the sun and claim can it can be a life changing event.  However, it should not be a change for the worse which is what could happen when viewers use the wrong equipment.  We have attached a link with information about counterfeit glasses that may not be suitable.  Enjoy the totality even if it is on television.  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dont-fall-for-phony-eclipse-glasses/

solar eclipse 1999 4 nr 2

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Perkins & Anctil is pleased to support our managing partner Rob Anctil, attorney Rhonda Duddy and special project manager Pia Anctil as they ride in the Pan Mass Challenge this weekend.  Joining them on the ride will be Attorney Kim Alley’s husband, Chris Alley and Attorney Scott Eriksen’s father in law Hyung Park.   Paralegal Joanne Smith will be volunteering along with Rob Anctil’s daughter, Kendra.

Riding bicycles, jogging and walking in exchange for charitable donations has become a popular interest but the Pan-Mass was among the first to leverage the idea in 1980 and remains one of the most successful ones ever.   This year the PMC goal is to raise 48 million dollars and will mark Rob’s 10th consecutive ride of 194 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown on Cape Cod.  This will be the first ride for Chris, Hyung,  Rhonda and Pia.  Readers who would like to donate to Rob, a perennial “Heavy Hitter” in terms of fund raising, can click here: http://profile.pmc.org/RA0055.   100% of your donations go to Dana-Farber.   The P&A group hopes to raise $40,000!

Harrings

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Attorney Charlie Perkins would like readers to know there has been progress in granting relief to storm-damaged community associations and is forwarding the story below.

A Month into Hurricane Season U.S House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan Disaster Assistance Bill

By Colleen Willard, Esq. on Jun 28, 2017 09:00 pm

Unless a major natural disaster has hit your community, you may be unaware that under current law homeowners in community associations are not eligible for FEMA assistance to repair common areas in their buildings. Further, associations are routinely denied disaster assistance for activities like debris removal after storms. This is particularly frustrating for association homeowners as they pay the same taxes as eligible, non-association homeowners.

Thankfully, association homeowners are one step closer to qualifying for assistance. On June 26, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017, H.R. 1684. This bill, sponsored by Congressman Nadler (D-NY), instructs FEMA to provide assistance to common interest communities to help them identify ways to become eligible for disaster assistance. Further, the bill instructs FEMA to provide a legislative proposal to Congress that would qualify community common areas for disaster assistance.

Congressman Nadler’s constituents, like many others, have experienced the repercussions of this inequity in disaster assistance. He noted that in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, “Seniors in high-rise condo buildings could get assistance to repair their floors and repaint their walls but nothing to fix the elevators they needed to reach their units. Families in co-ops could replace their furnishings and make some repairs, but the halls of the buildings remained covered with mold and uninhabitable. Almost every district in the country has condos, and homeowners in those condo communities will continue to face the same terrible realization in the wake of new disasters.”

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), forecasts an above-average hurricane season. NOAA estimates 5-9 hurricanes, of which 2-4 will be major hurricanes (meaning wind speeds more than 110mph). It only takes one storm to have devastating effects on a community. Without FEMA funding to aid in the recovery process, communities can be saddled with millions of dollars of recovery costs, impeding their entire recovery process.

Congressman Sanford (R-SC) plans to introduce another piece of helpful legislation, the Disaster Assistance Equity Act. This bill expressly qualifies common interest communities for disaster assistance.

 

FEMA

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