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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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We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, September 28 at the Radisson Hotel & Suites, 10 Independence Drive in Chelmsford.  Perkins & Anctil has a team of speakers including our own Real Estate Attorneys Rob Anctil and Rhonda Duddy, Scott Eriksen and Kimberly Alley, Charles A. Perkins, Jr. and Daniel Lopez, David Chenelle; as well as speakers from WT Phelan & Co. Insurance Agency, Inc., Schernecker Property Services, and Greenbean Systems. Please call our office at 978 496 2000 or email Pia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. 

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The Northeast Association of Realtors and Perkins & Anctil are proud to sponsor a 90 Minute self-defense workshop designed just for Realtors.  Mike Luth, who happens to be the Groton, MA Chief of Police, will instruct the group and share knowledge he has gained through decades of martial arts training as well as with the US Secret Service.  Refreshments will be served immediately following the class, which will include basic self-defense techniques, Realtor specific strategies and real life scenario training.  The event will be held at the NEAR offices at 6 Lyberty Way, Suite 204, Westford, MA from 3-430pm on September 24, 2019.  Check-in will open at 2:45pm.  Please dress in active wear and register at www.northeastrealtors.com

pdfSelf Defense Course

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Attorney Duddy has performed thousands of real estate closings throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire and has some helpful colleagues whom she can make available to her clients with questions about the process. The list includes real estate agents (both buyers’ and sellers’ agents), loan officers, home inspectors, insurance agents and, of course, Rhonda is happy to answer your title and settlement questions. She has provided this link with more information about the involvement of the “Key Professionals” in the closing process: https://www.perkinslawpc.com/images/Key_Professionals_Involved_in_a_Real_Estate_Transaction_-_PT_-_WB.pdf

 

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The K-Zone Morning Kommute is a radio program broadcast by WPKZ 105.3FM/AM1280, a central Massachusetts station that covers multiple topics during drive-time around Fitchburg. A couple weeks ago the subject was the importance of having an attorney when buying real estate with commentary by Rob and Rhonda. Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce President Melissa Fetterhoff also joined the conversation as part of the Business Buzz series of interviews. A recording of the interview is available here: https://soundcloud.com/kzoneradio/08-15-19-nvcoc-attorneys-rob-anctil-and-rhonda-duddy?fbclid=IwAR1-pedesLW2PT78hBTp7A9FBUgaRfFzqv6fwjy5Jv8e9RCeX9V1qMdd2M0

 

Radio pic

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Real Estate Attorney Rhonda L. Duddy has some recommendations for streamlining the process of buying a house. They are relatively easy to carry out and should go a long way toward preventing delays and headaches associated with home buying process. Three common problem issues are discussed below. Changing jobs can lead the lender to question the buyer’s financial strength and thus alter its opinion concerning financing. This can occur even when you are leaving a job for more money. Sometimes it is better to wait. Second, switching banks during the home buying process is not recommended. This becomes an issue as lenders are required to verify available funds at various times prior to closing. Transferring funds creates a fear that the funds are subject to a loan, as opposed to being funds that you have saved. Last on the list is to refrain from changing one’s marital status. This creates issues with names on documents and identity verification concerns. Other items that may cause delays include paying off accounts during the closing process and making large purchases such as a car as these would change the buyer’s verified funds, or increase debt. For some “Terms to Know”, click here: https://www.perkinslawpc.com/images/Terms_to_Know_1.pdf

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Attorney David R. Chenelle has forwarded an article from the New York Post concerning the increase in bankruptcy on a nationwide basis. Both personal and corporate filings have been growing with some experts seeing families rely on consumer debt in order to pay bills. Increasing wages notwithstanding, food pantries are struggling to keep up with demand, particularly in communities with higher costs of living. The article with more information is here: https://nypost.com/2019/08/11/bankruptcy-filings-rising-across-the-country-and-it-could-get-worse/?utm_source=email_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

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Condominiums and community associations are subject to unpleasantness when owners are surprised by something the board of trustees has done. Whether it is implementing a fee increase or a change in pet policy, board members are in the best position when giving owners abundant warning, listening to concerns and giving opportunities for input when considering changes.  The benefits of transparency fall into political, practical and the legal categories and can be leveraged with good communication.  The New England Condominium website has an article about it (https://newenglandcondo.com/article/board-transparency-3/full) and Perkins & Anctil has answers to any questions unit owners may have. 

Please note that P&A will be providing complimentary registration to our annual Condominium Roundtable Seminar on Saturday, September 28 at the Radisson Hotel in Chelmsford where staff attorneys will be covering this and many other subjects. Register for free at Click Here for Complimentary Registration

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Homeowners’ associations and condominiums are like living organisms in some ways and undergo changes over time, some that are predictable and others that are unforeseen. A foreseeable change may be the aging of the physical plant that requires additional maintenance compared to when it was new.  This may be a time when rules about fees should change according to the documents.  Another type of change may have to do with the increasing number of units rented to tenants, the number of pets owners may want to keep, or, quite often these days, the preferences on the part of owners to prohibit smoking (tobacco or marijuana in Massachusetts).  If owners hope to change rules regarding this behavior in some way, it may be time for an amendment.  An article featured on the Newenglandcondo.com website (Available here: https://newenglandcondo.com/article/amending-your-bylaws/full) has more information.

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In the town of Plymouth, MA, a developer has learned the commonwealth had a “Policy” of not allowing age-restricted affordable housing units. After the developer’s inquiry, the Department of Housing and Community Development created a formal regulation to back up what had been merely a preference on the part of the agency. Attorney Scott Eriksen sees it as an important change, is following the developing story and recommends this article as a primer:  https://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/news/20180525/state-changes-in-55-and-older-projects-impact-plymouth-development?template=ampart

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