Massachusetts law about real estate

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on real estate law in general.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 93, § 114 "Psychologically impacted" properties 
Sellers and brokers do not have to disclose to buyers or tenants the fact that a property is perceived to be tainted by the health of a previous occupant, a murder or suicide, or paranormal phenomena. However, they may not be deceitful in answers to questions about the property.

MGL c. 183 Conveyances by deed, mortgage discharge

MGL c. 183A Condominiums

MGL c. 183B Time shares

MGL c. 184 General provisions relative to real property

St. 1983, c. 527 Condominium conversion

Court rules and procedures

Massachusetts Land Court rules. Also available as an eBook.

Guidelines on registered land, Mass. Land Court, February 27, 2009.
Note: These Guidelines have been supplemented by the Land Court in Registered land memos issued by the Chief Title Examiner. Updated registered land court forms and instructions can also be found on the Land Court's website.

Manual of instructions for the survey of lands and preparation of plans, Mass. Land Court, 2006.
"This manual is issued for the information and guidance of land surveyors preparing surveys and plans to be filed in the Land Court. No survey or plan will be accepted for filing unless these requirements have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the Land Court's Survey Division."

Superior Court model jury instructions: Real property

Registries of Deeds

Massachusetts Registry of Deeds, Mass. Secretary of State.
Provides links to all of the Registries of Deeds, which then provide access to addresses, phone numbers, and websites for the individual registries.

Selected cases

Brennan v. DeCosta, 24 Mass. App. Ct. 968 (1987)
"As a general rule, the title of persons who acquire land bounded by a street or way runs to the center line of the way, G. L. c. 183, § 58 , and carries with it the right to use the way along its entire length... To that general rule, however, there are limitations."

Casey v. Papamechail, Misc. 18-000620, Mass. Land Court (2021)
Criteria for the reformation of deeds set forth by the court.  In this case, a deed reformation (to correct the wrong property described in the deed) was conditioned on MassHealth being allowed to make a claim for recovery of benefits.

Michelson v. Sherman, 310 Mass. 774 (1942)
The statute of frauds requires a written document “which recites the essential elements of the contract with reasonable certainty.”

The Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts v. National Real Estate Information Services, 459 Mass. 512 (2011)
The "closing or settlement of the types of real estate transactions described in the record require not only the presence but the substantive participation of an attorney on behalf of the mortgage lender, and that certain services connected with real property conveyances constitute the practice of law in Massachusetts." Outlines what constitutes unauthorized practice of law in real estate transactions.

Web sources

Buying real estate

  • Buying a home, A. Joseph Ross, 2011. 
    Describes the basics of buying a home in Massachusetts.
  • Buying and selling real estate in Massachusetts, International Lawyers Network, Fall 2023 edition.
    Contains concise factual information about standard agreements, the role of brokers, different forms of ownership for residential and commercial property, and closing costs and documents.
  • The homebuying process in Massachusetts, Mass. Division of Banks.
    Brief overview of  mortgage types and the various steps of purchasing a home from securing a loan to closing on the property.
  • How to buy a home in Massachusetts, Nolo.
    Covers hiring a real estate agent and lawyer, making an offer, examining the property for defects, and the responsibilities of the closing attorney.

Selling real estate

  • Selling your home, A. Joseph Ross, 2009.
    Describes the basics of how to sell a house or condominium in Massachusetts.

Registered land

Other topics

Print sources

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Last updated: June 6, 2024

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