Massachusetts Agencies

Limitations of Enforcement

Orders of Condition

G.L.c. 131, §40 contains the following provision:

Any person who purchases, inherits or otherwise acquires real estate upon which work has been done in violation of the provisions of this section or in violation of any order issued under this section shall forthwith comply with any such order or restore such real estate to its condition prior to any such violation; provided, however, that no action, civil or criminal, shall be brought against such person (emphasis added) unless such action is commenced within three years following the recording of the deed or the date of the death by which such real estate was acquired by such person (emphasis added). Any court having equity jurisdiction may restrain a violation of this section and enter such orders as it deems necessary to remedy such violation, upon the petition of the attorney general, the commissioner, a city or town, an owner or occupant of property which may be affected by said removal, filling, dredging or altering, or ten residents of the commonwealth under the provisions of section seven A of chapter two hundred and fourteen.

Unlike some other statutes (e.g., G.L.c. 40A, §7) that provide protection against enforcement of certain matters as against the property itself, the above statute merely protects the person who has purchased the property. It's clear that there can be a successive set of such persons, all of whom would have to fall within successive the three-year periods.