Consumer Protection

Rules governing court-ordered rental payments while eviction litigation is pending

When a landlord sued to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent, the court ordered to make rental payments (for "use and occupancy") during trial. The Massachusetts Appeals Court held that before ordering such payments, the trial judge must hold a hearing to determine whether the payments should be reduced because of defective conditions in the property....

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Commercial tenant right to lost profits and specific performance when landlord breaches lease obligation to make structural repairs

When a landlord breached a commercial lease obligation to make structural repairs to the property, the tenant was entitled to lost profits in addition to specific performance. Motsis v. Ming's Supermarket, Inc., 2019 WL 5704322 (Mass. App. Ct. 2019). The tenant had been...

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Eighth Circuit holds that videographers have First Amendment free speech right to refuse to provide services at same-sex weddings

In Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, 936 F.3d 740 (8th Cir. 2019), the Eighth Circuit held that Minnesota could not enforce its public accommodations law against a company that refused to provide video services for same-sex weddings. The process of producing a video, the court said, constitutes “speech” and would be posted on the company’s website....

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State constitutional and statutory right in Arizona to refuse to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples

In a 4-3 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court has interpreted its constitution, Ariz. Const. art. 2, §6, and its Free Exercise of Religion Act, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-1493.01, to give a public accommodation the right to refuse service to same-sex couples who seek custom wedding invitations. ...

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Federal court allows public accommodation to refuse to create custom videos of same-sex weddings

In a 2 to 1 vote, the Eight Circuit has held that the First Amendment prohibits a state from enforcing its public accommodations law if it requires videographers to create custom videotapes of same-sex weddings even though they provide this service to opposite-sex weddings. Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 25320 (8th Cir. 2019). Because the videos will be edited and posted on the videographer's website, the majority accepted the defendant's argument that they would convey a message of support for same-sex marriage contrary to the... Read more about Federal court allows public accommodation to refuse to create custom videos of same-sex weddings

Nonjudicial foreclosure requires appraisal to ensure foreclosure price is close to fair market value

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has held that nonjudicial foreclosures must be conducted in a fair manner and that the burdens on the party who is foreclosing are greater precisely because the auction sale is not be supervised or conducted by judicial officials. Prop. Acquisition Group, LLC v. Ivester, 2019 Mass. App. LEXIS 44,...

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Airbnb use held to be consistent with covenant restricting property to residential use

Courts have divided on the question of whether short-term rentals violate restrictive covenants limiting land to residential purposes. The Texas Supreme Court just joined the majority that hold that use of property for Airbnb and similar short term rentals is residential use consistent with the covenant. Tarr v. Timberwood Park Owners Ass'n, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 442 (Tex 2018). But see ... Read more about Airbnb use held to be consistent with covenant restricting property to residential use

Section 8 (housing voucher) tenants cannot be evicted without cause even if their lease term has expired and the landlord has opted out of the housing assistance program

The Third Circuit has ruled that the federal statute, 42 U.S.C. §1437f(t)(1)(B), that gives Section 8 (housing voucher) tenants the right to "remain in their housing developments, even after their landlord has opted out of the federal housing assistance program," gives them the right to stay unless just cause can be shown to evict have the right to remain even if the lease term has expired. Hayes v. Harvey, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 24848 (3d... Read more about Section 8 (housing voucher) tenants cannot be evicted without cause even if their lease term has expired and the landlord has opted out of the housing assistance program