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Laurel H. Siegel

Laurel Siegel’s Answers

33 total

  • Condominium law in MA

    Hi, I'm about to buy a unit (1) in a two unit house. There is no monthly condominium fee, the split is 38%, 62%, so when expenses arise in share, that is paid by owners as per split. I have the 38%. My questions are: If i want to fix something...

    Laurel’s Answer

    You would need to review the condominium documents (Master Deed and Declaration of Trust as well as any rules and regulations) to understand the rights and responsibilities of each owner for repairs. In many cases, for a small condo associations such the one you describe, all repairs must be agreed upon by both owners, but depending on how the documents are drafted there may be a mechanism for one owner to require a repair that is necessary to prevent damage to the property. You may want to hire an attorney to make sure you fully understand all of your rights under the condominium documents.

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  • If there are 2 names on the deed, can a house be refinanced with only one of the two names on the mortgage?

    My ex-wife has been on the deed to my house for the last 18 years but has paid nothing toward the house. Can I refinance without her being listed on the mortgage?

    Laurel’s Answer

    You could apply to your lender to be the only borrower on the new mortgage loan, but because your ex-wife is still on the deed the lender will require that she sign the mortgage document itself, as well as a couple of the other closing documents, as a non-borrower owner. No matter who the actual borrowers are, a lender always requires all owners of the property to sign the mortgage to show the owners' consent to having the mortgage put on the property. By signing the mortgage, though, she would not become a borrower, she'd just be consenting to the mortgage, and you would have sole responsibility for paying back the loan.

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  • Uitclaim deed

    mother and siblings signed a quitclaim deed to another son (sibling). deed was filed. is it valid? will the siblings who signed the property over have rights to it?

    Laurel’s Answer

    You would want to have an attorney review the recorded deed to confirm whether it complies with all legal requirements, and also to confirm exactly who now owns the property. If you are correct that the deed transferred the ownership from the mother and siblings to the other sibling, the mother and siblings no longer have rights in the property, and the sibling to whom the property was deeded now owns all rights in the property.

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  • Can you help with clarification on MA Gen Laws ch183A,s18? a. does "improvement" include siding? b. clarification of 10% clause

    Historic house is converted condo in 2006/7 with four units and four trustees (equal vote). No reserves. Exterior needs paint/repair. Trustees cannot agree on paint/repair for total of $30k or siding removal at $120K. My unit is worth approx. $1...

    Laurel’s Answer

    If the unit owners have followed the procedures required under the Master Deed and Declaration of Trust for your condominium, they may be able to proceed with the work and the assessment to your unit, even without your consent. It depends on what percentage of the units those documents require to approve repairs. You may want to hire an attorney to assist you in reviewing the documents and help you understand what is required. You are correct that the assessment should be based on the percentage interest of each unit in the condo, so if your unit only has a 20% interest, you would only be responsible for 20% of the repair cost. Again, an attorney may be helpful in reviewing your condo documents to verify the percentage interests and the responsibilities for repairs.

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  • Can a condo association change the bylaws to say you are not grandfathered in?

    i am a renter for 40 years, the condo association changed the bylaws to make it a smoke free building, can they change the bylaws to say i am not grandfathered in ??? ( that is what they did, can they do that???

    Laurel’s Answer

    The short answer is yes. Assuming that the owners of the units in the condominium and the condo trustees followed all required procedures in the condominium documents, they have the right to amend the bylaws to prohibit smoking in the building. As a tenant, your lease or occupancy of the unit is subject to the terms of the condominium documents, including the bylaws, so if there are changes in the bylaws you must comply with them.

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  • I have judgements and liens against my home from credit card debt do i have to pay them if i sell

    i have the homestead exception on my home and i thought credit cards were unsecured

    Laurel’s Answer

    Yes, the judgments and liens will all need to be paid off when you sell the property. The homestead protects you against creditors selling off your house to pay the debts, but not against your need to pay the debts themselves and any buyer will require that the liens be removed prior to closing. The only alternative is to negotiate directly with each creditor to see if they would be willing to remove their lien in exchange for you paying some amount less than what you owe them. I would recommend that you contact an attorney to help you through that process of negotiating with the creditors.

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  • Foreclosure payment determination in foreclosure

    What gets owed after a foreclosure? Mass. is the state if it matters. One source said Mass is non-recourse, most said otherwise, and another mentioned purchase money mortgages being different, not really sure what that even is. Right now there's (...

    Laurel’s Answer

    Further to Attorney Ostendorf's response, the bank has the right to foreclose on the mortgage if payments have not been made, but they have no requirement to do so. And there are a number of reasons why a bank may choose not to foreclose in a particular property - depreciated value of the property, too many other foreclosed properties on their books, etc. So, even though the mortgage has been unpaid for 6 years, the bank has no duty to initiate foreclosure and has the right to just allow the interest and other penalties to continue to accrue.

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  • Do i need a lawyer to sell my mothers house she left her belongins to me and my brother we have a will the will is in probate.

    are we required by law to have a lawyer ? what can happen if we don;t have a lawyer

    Laurel’s Answer

    There is no law that requires you to have an attorney when you sell a house. However, there are many things a lawyer can do to help protect you during the sale and after, particularly where this is an estate sale and you need to make sure you have all of the paperwork from the probate properly completed so that are able to sell the property.

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  • In a life estate between two parties, if one moves away, how long before the life estate is void?

    House deed with life estate between two parties, one has been gone for over a year.

    Laurel’s Answer

    There is no time limit on a life estate. Unless something in the deed specifically limits the time or makes it subject to the person continuing to live in the property, someone holding a life estate in a piece of property owns that interest for so long as they live, and it only terminates when they die, regardless of whether they actually live in the property.

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  • When in a mortgage refinance is marital status verified? If at all?

    When in a mortgage refinance is marital status verified? If at all? What are the consequences for being a married person but listing your status as "single" on the mortgage application? Will this ever be investigated/verified? This is for Mass...

    Laurel’s Answer

    The first question is why would/did someone misrepresent their marital status? Ultimately, marital status is not relevant to the making of the loan. If the loan is solely in one person's name the lender looks only to that person's credit, and not their spouse, in determining whether they will make the loan, and under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act a lender cannot discriminate against a borrower based on their marital status. But providing false information on a loan application constitutes fraud, which is a criminal violation.

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