Section Review

Section Review runs practice area-specific articles as part of the MBA's bi-monthly Lawyers Journal.

Issue August 2015

August 2015

Small property owners and small businesspeople: a call for fairness

Since publishing an article last year about the trials and tribulations of the small landlord, I believe the problems addressed in that article persist. In a consumer-friendly state like the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the laws (i.e., statutes, court rules and the cases interpreting them) weigh heavily in favor of tenants. The core issue is the basic human requirement for shelter that should be considered in seeking common ground for preventing or at least reducing homelessness. Homelessness is a serious social and political problem that permeates our economy. Despite the severity of the issue, too often it is the small property owner who is targeted for its cure. Thus, the right of a small property owner to rightfully obtain possession of his or her own property due to tenant behavior or business necessity is frequently thwarted by actions that on the surface are intended to protect the rights of individuals who lack means.

Learn to look before you leap

I recently came across two life estate situations that proved disastrous. In one case, the disaster befell one of the remainder men. In the other, the life tenant learned a hard lesson.