Massachusetts condominium lawyer Kevin M. Dwyer, Jr. began as a criminal prosecutor before expanding his practice to include various types of civil litigation. Since then, the Law Office of Kevin M. Dwyer, Jr. has successfully resolved condominium disputes for various owners, tenants, and managers across Massachusetts. Our Waltham office is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal service and representation.
General Condominium Laws – Massachusetts General Laws – Chapter 183A
Massachusetts law defines condominiums as any building of one or more units governed by the by-laws enacted by unit owners. Condominium owners are subject to these restrictions and regulations because they become part of an organization focused on the property. By-laws usually set forth rules regarding individual units and common areas or facilities that may include:
- Foundation, walls
- Public stairs, lobby
- Entrance, halls, exit
- Water, lighting, heat
- Elevators and motors
- Land or lessee interest
- Basement, yard, storage
- Safety and maintenance
Administration, maintenance, and repair of common areas are expenses that must be paid for by the organization’s pool of funds. These may be accrued through common fees or payments required under by-law provisions. A manager, trustee, or entity may be appointed to handle the condominium’s budgeting, accounting, insurance, and day-to-day operations.
Organization and By-Laws
A master deed binds the organization of owners to existing by-laws and regulations. Any change to the rules requires a meeting and vote by the unit owners. The organization may also be a corporation, association, or entity responsible for ensuring that owners abide by the rules. By-laws generally set forth procedures for operation, and address topics including:
- Repairs, replacements
- Work and maintenance
- Rules to amend by-laws
- Violations of master deed
- Restrictions on certain use
- Procedure to adopt new laws
- Personnel hiring, management
- Collection of common expenses
By-laws also set forth the formula for determining the value of the condominium in disputes involving costs to rebuild, improve, or restore the property. They provide a procedure for arbitrating disputes among owners who disapprove or refuse a proposed change involving the sale, lease, or conveyance of the condominium. In claims involving common funds, individual owners may be liable for any unpaid balance according to their apportioned interest in the areas.
Multiple Family Units, Taxes, and Liens
Each unit and a percentage interest in the common areas acts as an individual parcel of property for purposes of real estate taxes. Municipalities may assess “betterment” charges, sewer costs, water rates, and other expenses unrelated to real estate taxes. The organization is charged and liens may attach to individual units. Family or household units in commercial condominiums often have by-laws prohibiting personal liability for common expense assessments, but not the owners’ share of the lien. In cases of foreclosure, the lender assumes the developer’s duty to the tenants except liability for any fraud, misrepresentation, or warranties made before the transfer.
Title to Real Property Interest
Because condominium units and their undivided interest in common areas constitute real property, they are subject to the same rules governing real estate. This means that owners or lessees may give, mortgage, sale, or convey their rights in property independent of other units.
Condominium Issues and Disputes
If you have questions regarding your rights as a condominium owner or lessee, Massachusetts real estate attorney Kevin M. Dwyer, Jr. can help. The Law Office of Kevin M. Dwyer, Jr. has maintained a reputation for excellence defending the rights and interests of condominium owners, organizations, and trusts in arbitrating disputes. Let us walk you through the by-laws and help you resolve your legal issues. Call (781) 760-9662 or contact us online.