In the perennial Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge complains before his redemption that the solution to the complaints of the poor and downtrodden is that they had better die “and decrease the surplus population.” Mr. Scrooge, as we all know, was the only lender in town - the banker of his day. As a result, he extorted his clients by increasing interest rates, threatening repossession of inventory, and demanding fees and penalties. Today, we call those points.
As the economy has turned into the publicized financial crisis, modern day lenders should review... Read more
Recently, one of our clients received a hefty package of documents which threatened a federal lawsuit in the mid west for a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The documents threatened action under the TCPA for failure to maintain a proper Do Not Call list. The author of the letter, a self described “consumer rights advocate,” accused our client of violations of federal law for failure to place the author’s name on a Do Not Call list. Mr. Advocate offered a “generous” reduction on the amount of his claim to avoid the horrible costs of litigation in federal court... Read more
Managing condominium and homeowner receivables appears to be an increasing challenge as the end of 2008 approaches. For some unknown reason, some association members appear to view the monthly assessment as discretionary. To this select few, association fees do not bear the same import as the mortgage, utilities, cell phone and internet bills, or car payments. Consequently, members who may have never missed a boat payment are routinely late with association assessments. When association receivables mount, the pressure on the budget can be overwhelming. With smaller associations, one... Read more
Owners of large parcels of undeveloped property in New Hampshire are most likely familiar with current use taxation of real estate. In order to encourage preservation of open space, owners of parcels that exceed ten acres can submit their properties to current use taxation. Once submitted, the parcel is taxed at a fraction of its fair market value. Thus, the owner receives a lower tax bill until such time as the use of the property changes. When the use changes, the property is said to be “taken out of current use.” At that time, the owner must pay a penalty, known as “the land use... Read more
In recent years, environmental groups have placed more importance on the preservation on wetlands than protection of property rights. Although most environmental laws have a legitimate public purpose, land owners are now confronted with a system that will spare no expense to preserve a defined wetland that others may call a mosquito breeding ground. Unfortunately, the group promoting environmental regulation are not inclined to purchase property to achieve their goals. Rather, they prefer to satisfy the objectives with onerous regulations. The regulations often shift the burden of... Read more