Monday, June 30, 2008

Choice of Entity For Real Estate Ownership in Massachusetts

William V. Hovey published his regular column in Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly: Choosing the Best Real Estate Holding Entity.

He discussed the entities in this order:
  • Individual
  • Tenants in Common
  • Joint Tenants
  • Tenants by the Entirety
  • Trust - Standard with named beneficiaries
  • Nominee Trust
  • Massachusetts Business Trust
  • Corporation (C corp)
  • Corporation (S corp)
  • General partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • Joint venture
  • Limited liability partnership
  • Limited liability company
This is a good outline of the issues. But I think Mr. Hovey is little off base on a few points.

First, a joint venture is not an holding entity and has no place in the list. Several of the other types are not entities, but they at least ownership choices.

Second, he states that limited partnerships are "likely to be replaced by LLCs and LLPs." I hate to break it to Mr. Hovey, but LLCs replaced limited partnerships about a decade ago. I rarely see LLPs used for real estate ownership in Massachusetts.


Friday, June 20, 2008

You Can Construct a Sewer Line In Your Private Right of Way

Constructing a sewer line under a preexisting easement which allows for ingress and egress is permissible under Massachusetts General Laws c. 187, § 5.

Massachusetts General Laws c. 187, § 5 provides that the owner of property abutting a private way who has existing rights of ingress and egress upon such way “shall have the right by implication to place, install or construct in, on, along, under and upon said private way or other private way pipes, conduits, manholes and other appurtenances necessary for the transmission of . . . sewer service, provided such facilities do not unreasonable obstruct said private way or other private ways, and provided that such use . . . does not interfere with . . . the existing use by others of such way.”

A driveway easement has been ruled to be a "private way" for purposes of this statute. See Barlow v. Chongris & Sons, Inc. 38 Mass.App.Ct. 297 (1995)

This right applies retroactively to easements granted before the statute was enacted in 1973. See Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Inc. v. Russell Management, Inc. 402 N.E.2d 501 (Mass 1980). The sewer service need not be installed by a public utility service; the private owner may install the necessary pipes and conduits himself. See Robinson v. Bd. Of Health of Chatham, 791 N.E.2d 350 (Mass. App. 2003). This ability to install utilities under a right of way is intended to “reflect the importance of utilities to modern society.” Id. at 354. Thus, § 5, supported by this policy consideration and Massachusetts case law, allows an owner with a right of way to construct a sewer line under the right of way.

Thanks to Lorretta Waitr for her research.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mass. Lawyer's Weekly Is Now Blogging

The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has launched a blog: The Docket.
"Breaking stories and noteworthy information from the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly newsroom. If it impacts Massachusetts lawyers, we’ll be blogging about it here."


Thursday, June 5, 2008

NAREIT has collected a bunch of information and sites under one umbrella site: (Watch out for the music on the opening page!)

According to SmartBrief:
" replaces the existing NAREIT Web site, as well as the current Real Estate Portfolio and sites. is designed to be your central source for investment news, industry data, event information, Policy and Politics updates, as well as all exclusive NAREIT member services. is designed with easy-to-use navigation that will let you find relevant content faster and easier than before."
I don't remember the old NAREIT site, but it is good that they folded more information into one place. I think they should kill the music on the home page and make the news available by RSS. If you jump to SmartBrief from the site you can find RSS feeds for news.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mapping Foreclosures in Massachusetts

The Boston Federal Reserve Bank has put together a great interactive map showing two decades of foreclosure activity in Massachusetts: Foreclosure Rates in Massachusetts Cities and Towns 1990-2007.

There is a lot of red, showing lots of foreclosures in 2007

But there was a lot more red in 1992

This graphic was developed in conjunction with a paper by Kristopher Gerardi, Adam Shapiro, and Paul S. Willen, "Subprime Outcomes: Risky Mortgages, Homeownership Experiences, and Foreclosures," which presents the first rigorous assessment of the homeownership experience of subprime borrowers, using data on subprime mortgages, foreclosures, and house prices from 1989 to 2007 in Massachusetts cities and towns.

"Subprime Facts: What (We Think) We Know about the Subprime Crisis and What We Don't," by Christopher L. Foote, Lorenz Goette, Paul S. Willen, and Kristopher Gerardi.

Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States (Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
Thanks to's Real Estate Now for pointing out this map:
Mapping foreclosures

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vintage Wine Trust is Liquidating

Back in August, I noticed Vintage Wine Trust as a REIT focused on the wine grape industry. According to a story by Chris Rauber of the San Francisco Business Times, Vintage Wine Trust Selling Off Its Holdings and Shutting Down.

[T]he REIT's "big problem was we didn't buy enough properties," noting it was trickier than expected to find profitable properties that fit the company's REIT framework. "I still think the concept could work. We just needed more time."