Compliance Tips for Condo Owners and Associations

Many condominium associations are all too familiar with the phenomenon of the one condominium owner who refuses to comply with association rules and regulations, particularly common area maintenance fees and the like. There is, however, legal recourse in such situations.

Ownership of a condominium unit is a hybrid form of interest in real estate, entitling the owner to both “exclusive” ownership of his or her unit and an undivided interest in the common areas. “Central to the concept of condominium ownership is the principle that each owner, in exchange for the benefits of association with other owners, must give up a certain degree of freedom of choice which he might otherwise enjoy in separate, privately owned property.” Noble v. Murphy, 34 Mass. App. Ct. 452 at 456.

A unit owner is personally liable for the condominium fees they are required to pay. If they fail to make these payments, they are in violation not only of condominium rules but also state law. Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 183A, § 6 outlines the steps an Association must take to address violations of association rules concerning the payment of fees. First, the association must send the delinquent owner a letter demanding payment of overdue fees and may also assess certain costs incurred as a result of the delinquency. If the owner still fails to respond, then the first mortgagee on the owner’s unit may be informed of the delinquency. Finally, the association may file suit to recover unpaid fees, and may even seek to foreclose on the property to recover the debt. Feel free to contact Mia Rosenblatt Tinkjian with any questions about the enforcement of condominium rules and regulations.

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