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Newton Centre Realty, Inc v David Jaffe

Newton Center Realty, Inc. V David Jaffe
Massachusetts Appeals Court
No. 19-P-1082
Argued 3/3/20-Decided 6/23/20

On June 23, 2020 the Massachusetts Appeals Court decided a case of first impression in the Commonwealth regarding brokerage fees.  The question addressed was does the death of a seller terminate a real estate brokerage agreement between the seller and a broker.

In 2017 a seller entered into three exclusive brokerage agreement to sell two residential properties in Brookline and one in Newton.  The agreements were on standard GBREB forms.  Under each agreement the broker was entitled to a four percent commission.  The seller died and the seller’s son sold the properties independent of the broker, but within the exclusivity period of the agreements that had been properly executed.  The broker sued the Sellers estate and was unsuccessful at trial.  The case was brought up on appeal. This issue had not been decided under Massachusetts law.  

The agreements here created a principal-agent relationship that entitled the broker to a commission if Shirley’s (the Seller) properties were sold within the exclusivity period.  They did not confer an interest in the property.  Accordingly, Shirley’s death terminated the agency relationship, and the broker was not entitled to recover contract damages from Shirley’s estate.  The Superior Court judge properly dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. 
The Appeals Court upheld the lower court ruling that the death of the seller terminated the agency relationship, and the broker was not entitled to a commission.

Broker Fee Appeals Court Decision

Dear CBA Members and Friends,


This has been a challenging year for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested us, and we are proud of the way our CBA community has come together to support one another.


While our world is already struggling, recent acts of violence, including the tragic murder of George Floyd, remind us that overt racism, as well as less-obvious injustices, are the reality for our Black American siblings. This moment has highlighted inequalities that have existed in our society for centuries.


Violence against Black people must end, and ingrained systems of oppression must be challenged. We stand in solidarity with courageous protesters around the country. We value the millions of voices that will not be silent against violence and racism.


Individually, we must all look inward and consider where our own prejudices lie. We must begin to do the work of shifting our biases. As a community, we must create a dialogue for progress. We can use our positions of power in the real estate community to help advance equity through housing and career opportunities, and by holding our leaders accountable.


For our part, CBA will continue to be an association of growth and acceptance. We will work to find ways to become more welcoming to everyone. As an industry, while we build up our city, we will build communities of respect.


We are hopeful for a future of health, peace, and equity. Let's be there for one another.


Thank you,

Commercial Brokers Association

A Message from CBA


Information is rapidly changing.  GBREB will update this post as new information becomes available. There's a lot of information about government's response to COVID-19, however we have narrowed the focus of this page to issues impacting the real estate industry to serve as a resource for our members. 

Additional information, including legal advisories are available to members here .

Reopening in Massachusetts 5/18/19
Phase 1 Re-Opening Safety Standards For Workplaces , EOHED, 5/12/20
Re-opening: Four Phase Approach, EOHED, 5/12/20
Advisory on Residential Evictions , Massachusetts Attorney General, 5/8/20
Short-term residential rentals, Department of Public Health, 3/31/20
Mortgage Loan Borrowing , Division of Banks, 3/25/20
Constuction Letter With Guidance  3/25/20
COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES  Order of  the Governor Assuring Continued Operation Of Essential Services  
Essential Services FAQ
SMOKE ORDER Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Inspections for One and Two-Family Dwellings and Three to Five-family Apartment Buildings
Standing Order Housing Court
DHCD Resources For Renters and Homeowners

Rental Relief Fund
Guidelines For Open House and Apartment Showing Policy
Construction Update 5.6.20
Construction Notice 3/25/20
Construction Permitting 3/16/20


Building Owners and Managers, BOMA Boston, BOMA International
Multifamily Apartments, Massachusetts Apartment Association, National Apartment Association   
REALTORS, Greater Boston Association of REALTORS, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS, National Association of REALTORS
Commercial Brokers Association
Real Estate Finance Association


  Caritas Communities  

As we all navigate through these COVID-19 times, it is important that we keep in mind those who are being hit the hardest. CBA's charitable partners is Caritas Communities , an organization that provides housing and support to extremely low-income individuals in Greater Boston. In these new trying times, their residents are in need of help. We ask that you consider helping out in any way you can by making a donation here.

A message from Caritas Communities:
Our residents are among those being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. They often work in hourly, low-wage jobs without benefits, and have no savings to cushion the hard times. Your help is needed for two programs that are helping our residents right now: 

Homelessness Prevention Program: Emergency rental assistance grants will provide residents who have lost income due to COVID-19 the financial relief and peace of mind they are desperate for right now.

Healthy Resident Program: Emergency meals, food panties in our properties, enhanced cleaning protocols, commercial hand washing stations in shared kitchens and baths, hand sanitizer, and more, are helping to keep our residents safe and healthy.

You can make a difference! Gifts in any amount will make a big impact on our struggling residents. Thank you. 

COVID-19: How You Can Help


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Boston CRE Panel: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Aug 10, 2020
CBA Charitable Golf Tournament
Sep 21, 2020
Dedham Country And Polo Club
124 Country Club Road
Dedham, MA
CBA Achievement Awards - NOW SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
Sep 24, 2020
Virtual Event


Boston CRE Panel: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
CBA Charitable Golf Tournament
Dedham Country And Polo Club
CBA Achievement Awards - NOW SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
Virtual Event