2019-2020 MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL COURT

Legislative Update – June 17, 2019

Douglas A. Troyer, Michael F. McDonagh, Co-Chairs,

REBA Legislation Section

Edward J. Smith, REBA Legislative Counsel

 

Through REBA’s Legislation Committee a significant number of pending bills are reviewed and positions taken on behalf of REBA.  Technical advice is also made available to the Massachusetts House and Senate from time to time.  Copies of legislation at: http://www.malegislature.gov/

 
Priority Issues

S.877, H.1575 (Sen. Creem, Rep. Tucker) REBA legislation to conform Mass. notary certificates with the law in other states and prohibit remote notarizations on deeds and other instruments. Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA supports)

 

S.884 (Sen. Creem) REBA legislation for technical revisions to the homestead law.  See also H.3436 (Rep. Poirier) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA supports)

 

S.892, H.1574 (Sen. Creem, Rep. Tucker) REBA legislation to abolish the “four unities” rule and clarify certain instruments of conveyance or devise. Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA supports)  

 

S.2066 (Sen. Cyr, Sen. Hinds) REBA Legislation to provide for enforcement of servitudes relative to maintenance of private roads, bridges and other amenities. (REBA supports) Status: Joint Committee on Transportation.  See also H.1829 (Rep. Vieira et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t

 

S.836 (Sen. Brady et al) Legislation to require foreclosure of any one-to-four-family owner-occupied property by judicial complaint in the Superior Court; and permit the court to modify the mortgage terms. See also S.868 (Sen. Collins et al); H.3300 (Rep. Gonzalez et al); H.3384 (Rep. Mark et al) and H. 3500 (Rep. F. Moran et al). Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA opposes mandatory judicial foreclosure)  

 

S.960 (Sen. Keenan et al) Legislation to require recording of mortgage assignments within 30 days of date of execution.  See also H.1413 (Rep. Galvin et al), S.925 (Rep. DiZoglio et al) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA opposes)

 

H.1543 (Rep. J. Rogers et al) Legislation to require proof of payoff as a condition on limitation of any action to enforce a mortgage. Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA opposes)

 

H.921  (Rep. Cabral et al)  Legislation to regulate title insurance, including reissue rates, and require certain disclosures.  Status: Joint Committee on Financial Services (REBA opposes)

 

H.1524   (Rep. F. Moran) Legislation that would (a) prohibit acceptance for recording of land records, including mortgage assignments and foreclosure-related instruments, that do not comply with certain technical requirements; (b) abolish the foreclosure-by-entry procedure; (c) require the filing in a SCRA action of a mortgagee’s “affidavit of jurisdiction and authority to foreclose;” (d) eliminate the conclusive effect of the affidavit filed to establish the relationship between the foreclosing mortgagee and the holder of the note, and (e) deem as unfair or deceptive practices under M.G.L. c. 93A (i) the failure of mortgagees and servicers to include certain information on mortgage statements, or (ii) the failure to have the mortgage note accompany a discharge of mortgage for recording, or (iii) the failure to return to the mortgagor the paid note marked “paid in full.”  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA opposes)  

 

Other Real Estate Legislation

 

S.10 (Governor Baker) Legislation to increase by 50% the cost of deeds stamps in order to fund a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to assist communities with climate change resilience strategies and related infrastructure adaptations.  Status: Joint Committee on Revenue hearing: June 18, 2019

 

S.79 (Sen. Collins et al) Legislation to require climate risk assessments in EOEEA permits.  See also S.94 (Sen. Pacheco et al); S.95 (Sen. Pacheco et al) Status: Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business

 

S.81 (Sen. Crighton) Legislation relative to form-based zoning. Status: Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business.  See also H.1768 (Rep. Ciccolo et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.

 

S.96 (Sen. Rodrigues et al, GBREB, MAR) Legislation (“the HOME Bill”) designed to encourage smart growth development and housing affordability, by easing the production of cluster development housing; allowing in-law apartments by right; allowing multifamily housing construction by right; simplifying the dimensional variance burden; approving special permits by a majority vote, and encouraging uniform wetlands and sewage disposal system regulations.  Status: Joint Committee on Community Development & Small Business.  See also H.1297 (Rep. Jones)

 

S.124  (Sen. Creem) Legislation to require disclosure of all closing documents no less than 48 hours before closing.  Status: Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

 

S.430 (Sen. Boncore, NAIOP) Legislation to promote coastal resiliency projects.  Status: Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

 

S.446 (Sen. Cyr) Legislation purporting to assert public trust rights in land affected by ocean erosion.  Status: Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

 

S.547  (Sen. Chandler et al) Legislation to require notice by foreclosing mortgagee to a mortgagor homeowner in default in regard to that mortgagor’s right to mediation in a Massachusetts Foreclosure Mediation Program.  See also H.3560 (Rep. LeBoeuf et al).  Status: Joint Committee on Financial Services  

 

S.566 (Sen. Cyr et al) Legislation to provide for a Resolution Trust Fund, so-called, to receive mortgage payments when the identity of the residential mortgage holder and/or note holder cannot be ascertained, including by reason of a failure to record evidence thereof or to produce “original source documents,” and to confer jurisdiction on courts with respect thereto, with the power to modify mortgage terms.  See also H.961 (Rep, Dubois et al) Status: Joint Committee on Financial Services hearing: May 30, 2019

 

S.644   (Sen. Rush et al) Legislation to require marketing for sale or rental of residential property within one year after foreclosure. Status: Joint Committee on Financial Services.  See also H.1506 (Rep. McMurtry et al). Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary  

 

S.773 (Sen. Boncore et al) Legislation to authorize by local option the imposition of a municipal tax on transfers of certain real property, with amounts to be deposited in an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. See also S.799 (Sen. Eldridge et al) Status: Joint Committee on Housing. H.1769 (Rep. Connolly et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.; and H.2425 (Rep. Connolly et al) and H.2552 (Rep. Malia et al) Status: Joint Committee on Revenue    

 

S.780 (Sen. Chandler et al)     Legislation for housing solutions through omnibus zoning reform.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing

 

S.781 (Sen. Chang-Diaz et al) Legislation to establish a cause of action under M.G.L. c.151B for certain decisions by municipal permitting authorities. Status: Joint Committee on Housing.  See also H.1344 (Rep. Barber et al) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.786 (Sen. Crighton et al) Legislation to authorize by local option a right of first refusal for tenants in certain non-owner-occupied residential properties. See also S.801 (Sen. Jehlen et al); H.1315 (Rep. Provost et al); H.1256 (Rep. Boldyga), H.1260 (Rep. Cullinane et al), H.1303 (Rep. LeBoeuf et al) Status: Joint Committee on Housing. (REBA opposes)

 

S.787 (Sen. Cyr et al) Legislation to provide for cluster zoning.  See also H.1297 (Rep. Jones et al) Status: Joint Committee on Housing; S.82 (Sen. DiZoglio) Status: Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business

 

S.803 (Sen. Kennedy et al) Legislation to create a statutory affordable housing restriction with a power of sale in the holder upon any violation of the restriction.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing

 

S.824 (Sen. Boncore et al) Legislation relative to sealing eviction court records.  See also HD3815 (Rep. M. Moran etal) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.879 (Sen. Creem et al) Legislation relative to the spousal elective share.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.893 (Sen. Creem) Legislation for a good and clear record and marketable title act. (Landowners Title Protection Act) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.896 (Sen. Creem) Legislation for a Massachusetts Uniform Trust Decanting Act Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.931 (Sen. Eldridge et al) Legislation to permit former mortgagor to pay fair market rent and remain in possession after foreclosure, to be evicted only for just cause, and subject to the rights of a purchaser intending to occupy the property as his primary residence.  See also H.3282 (Rep. Elugardo et al); H.1373 (Rep. Capano et al) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.964 (Sen. Kennedy et al) Legislation establishing a foreclosure review division of the Superior Court with jurisdiction over all actions “involving foreclosure of mortgages on residential property,” including summary process, concurrent with other Departments of the Trial Court; and a right of transfer thereto by any party to any such action that was commenced in another such Department.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.966 (Sen. Lesser et al) Legislation relative to municipal authority to require cash sureties when real property is vacant or in foreclosure. Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary.  See also H.1767 (Rep. Capano et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.

 

S.1015 (Sen. Rodrigues, NAIOP) Legislation for a right of a party to transfer to the Permit Session of the Land Court any case within the jurisdiction of the Permit Session that is brought in another Trial Court department.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary  (REBA supports)

 

S.1066 (Sen. DiDomenico et al) See also H.1610 (Rep. Donahue et al) Legislation to extend liability to parties not in privity with project workers for nonpayment of those workers’ wages. Status: Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development hearing: May 14, 2019

 

S.1169 (Sen. Barrett et al) Legislation relative to restrictions on the use of clotheslines in condominiums by local option.  Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.

 

S.1618 (Sen. Creem et al) Legislation to increase the present $20 special recording fee surcharge, which amount to be dedicated to the purposes of the Community Preservation Act. See also H.2463 (Rep. Ferrante et al); H.2501 (Rep. Honan et al); H.2616 (Rep. J. Rogers); H.2644 (Rep. Stanley et al) Status: Joint Committee on Revenue hearing: June 18, 2019.  NOTE: See FY 2020 state budget appropriations bill (H.3801, §§ 12, 13, 57, as printed; S.2235, §§ 32, 33, 105, as printed), which recommend an increase in the CPA surcharge to $50 per instrument, with some exceptions, effective December 31, 2019.    

 

S.1639 (Sen. DiDomenico et al) Legislation to provide that mortgage debt that is “forgiven” by a mortgagee in a short sale or loan modification shall not be treated as taxable income under Massachusetts tax law.  See also S.1719 (Sen. Montigny); H.2550 (Rep. Malia).  Status: Joint Committee on Revenue (REBA supports)

 

S.1722 (Sen. Montigny et al) Legislation relative to unfair tax lien practices by cities and towns.  Status: Joint Committee on Revenue.  See also H.1777 (Rep. Donato et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.

 

S.1801 (Sen. Brownsberger, by request) Legislation to authorize the establishment of 40-foot easements by the Superior Court for the benefit of certain lots created for Native American Indians in order to gain access to a public way.  Status: Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight hearing: April 1, 2019

 

S.1835 (Sen. DiZoglio) Legislation to require that members of local permitting boards attend training programs Status: Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight

 

S.1871 (Sen. Lesser et al) Legislation to establish a commission on electronic notarization of documents.  Status: Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight.  See also H.3292 (Rep. Gentile et al) Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

S.1901 (Sen. Rodrigues, NAIOP) Legislation to reduce energy burdens and increase competitiveness in the Commonwealth.  Status: Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. 

 

S.1922 (Sen. Barrett et al) Legislation to require sellers to provide energy performance audits for certain residential properties.  See also S.1983 (Sen. Lesser et al); H.2887 (Rep. Madaro et al) Status: Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy

 

H.58 (Uniform Law Commissioners) Legislation to amend the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and rename it as the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.286 (Rep. Mariano et al) Legislation to require registration of secondary metals dealers and create a 2-year pilot program to require lenders, servicers and other owners of vacant and foreclosed properties to participate in a property registration system to insure their continued maintenance.  Status:  Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure hearing: April 29, 2019

 

H.918 (Rep. Brodeur) Legislation to permit reverse mortgage counseling by video conference.  Status: Joint Committee on Financial Services hearing: May 2, 2019

 

H.1081 (Rep. Peisch et al) Legislation to direct the Attorney General to promulgate a uniform standard disclosure form for real estate sales.  Status: Joint Committee on Financial Services hearing: May 2, 2019

 

H.1252 (Rep. Barrows) Legislation to amend the security deposit law.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing

 

H.1259 (Rep. Coppinger, GBREB) Legislation to require rent escrow under the rent withholding statute in certain cases.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing.  See also H.1347 (Barrows et al), H.1357 (Boldyga), H.1463 (Rep. Jones et al). Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.1267 (Rep. DeCoste et al) Legislation relative to condominium replacement reserve funds.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing.

 

H.1279 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation to provide for housing service coordinators, and for participating landlords and tenants to avail themselves of those services as a precondition to eviction proceedings.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing hearing: April 30, 2019.

 

H.1280 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation to provide for the adoption, amendment or repeal of a Ch. 40R smart growth zoning district or starter home zoning district in a city or town by a simple majority vote of the legislative body.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing.

 

H.1281 (Rep. Honan) Legislation to require cities and town to create at least one zoning district that permits the development of multifamily residential housing.  See also H.1251 (Rep. Barber et al) Status: Joint Committee on Housing.  See also H.1797 (Rep. Honan et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t   

 

H.1282 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation to require cities and town to provide for adoption, amendment or repeal of an accessory dwelling zoning district in a city or town by a simple majority vote of the legislative body.  See also S.820 (Sen. Tarr et al) Status: Joint Committee on Housing.

 

H.1286 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation to create the office of condominium ombudsman.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing.

 

H.1288 (Rep. Honan et al) Omnibus legislation relative to housing reform.  See also S.775 (Sen. Boncore et al) and H.1290.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing.

 

H.1289 (Rep. Honan et al, NAIOP) Legislation to amend MGL.c.40A to expressly provide authority to cities and towns to adopt zoning ordinances and by-laws for site plan review of by-right uses and establishes uniform procedures and criteria therefor.  See also S.794 (DiZoglio et al) Status: Joint Committee on Housing

 

H.1316 (Rep. D Rogers et al) Legislation to authorize by local option the adoption of rent control, excluding one-to-three-unit owner-occupied buildings.  See also H.___

Status: Joint Committee on Housing

 

H.1526 (Rep. F Moran) Legislation to clear titles to real property affected by certain technical irregularities in recorded instruments.  See also H.1531 (Rep. Puppolo et al) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.1766 (Rep. Capano) Legislation to limit the protections of the Dover amendment.  See H.1765, H.1772.  Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.  See also H.2724 Status: Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight

 

H.1796 (Rep. Hill et al) Legislation to provide by local acceptance a right of first refusal for a city or town to purchase real property in the event of foreclosure.  Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t.

 

H.1798 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation for common sense permitting reforms.  Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t

 

H.1799 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation extending variances.  See also S.1181 (Sen. DiZoglio et al) Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t

 

H.1800 (Rep. Honan et al) Legislation extending special permits. Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t

   

H.1801 (Rep. Honan) Legislation relative to the permissible length of dead end subdivision ways.  Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t

 

H.1813 (Rep. Murray) Legislation to provide for a statutory dispute resolution process in certain land use permitting.  Status: Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Gov’t

 

H.2429 (Rep. Cutler et al) Legislation to increase recording fees and deeds stamps to support county government services.  Status: Joint Committee on Revenue hearing: June 18, 2019

 

H.2539 (Rep. Linsky) Legislation relative to taxation of a declarant’s reserved development rights in condominium common areas.  See also H.2569 (Rep. Meschino et al) Status: Joint Committee on Revenue

 

H.2580 (Rep. Murray et al) Legislation to add unpaid condominium common expenses to a tax title lien on the subject unit.  Status: Joint Committee on Revenue

 

H.2778 (Rep. Scaccia, Secretary Galvin) Legislation to extend to 2025 the registries of deeds technology surcharge funds. Status: Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.  Approved as a part of H. 3800 (FY 2020 appropriations bill), as amended by the House

 

H.2861 (Rep. Golden, NAIOP) Legislation to encourage predictability in utility connections.  Status: Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.

 

H.3260 (Rep. Cronin et al) Legislation relative to the statute of limitations in actions for construction defects in condominiums.  See also S.835 (Sen. Brady et al) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA supports)  

 

H.3261 (Rep. Cronin et al) Legislation to limit the enforceability of certain anti-litigation provisions in condominium documents after the turnover date.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary (REBA supports)

 

H.3293 (Rep. Gentile et al) Legislation to authorize electronic notarization.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.3299  (Rep. Golden et al) Legislation to require that judicial review of any decision of a zoning board of appeals or any special permit granting authority be limited to a review of the record; and require that a non-municipal plaintiff seeking to reverse approval of a project to post a bond in an amount sufficient to cover the estimated annual carrying costs of the property owner, plus the owner’s attorney’s fees.  See also H.3397 (Rep. McGonagle et al); S.903 (Sen. Cyr et al); S.1024 (Sen. Tarr, NAIOP) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.3346 (Rep. Jones et al) Legislation to limit the power of eminent domain under M.G.L. c.79. Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.3373 (Rep. Madaro et al) Legislation for just cause eviction of persons age 75 or older.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.3382 (Rep. Mark) Legislation for so-called beneficiary deeds.  Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.3421 (Rep. Peake et al) Legislation relative to extension or termination of time shares.  See also S.952 (Sen. Hinds) Status: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

 

H.3507 (Governor Baker) Legislation to promote housing choices.  Status: Joint Committee on Housing hearing: May 14, 2019 (REBA supports)