Category: Legal Alerts

Condominium law is different from condominium rules. Rules are made to be broken – or so it seems in some condominium communities, where owners regularly ignore rules and boards enforce them inconsistently, if at all. At the other extreme you will find communities in which rules overflow from War and Peace-sized volumes, where no infraction, however small or insignificant, goes unnoticed or un-fined. The best strategy lies somewhere in between, with enough rules to make [Read More...]

  This office’s recent $12,250,000.00 settlement of a construction defect lawsuit filed by One Charles Condominium provides a noteworthy example of how a dedicated board and a committed team of professionals can effectively manage and successfully resolve even the most complex and challenging litigation matters. The One Charles Condominium is a luxury condominium building located on Charles Street in downtown Boston. The project was developed by MDA Park, LLC, a single purpose entity related to [Read More...]

What’s in a name? When it comes to warning condominium owners about sexual predators living in their community, the condominium law answer is: The potential for huge liability and immense damage awards if the individual identified as a predator turns out not to be one. A South Carolina condominium board made that mistake recently and the association is paying the $890,000 cost of that error. The board of this resort community circulated a flyer obtained [Read More...]

Massachusetts condominium associations that are just beginning to grapple with the challenges created by the state law legalizing the use of medical marijuana, will soon find themselves confronting the equally complicated problems created by e-cigarettes. Like the new state law, which will no doubt increase the number of people smoking marijuana, e-cigarettes will force associations to rethink the policies they have or may need to govern smoking in their communities. Introduced about 10 years ago, [Read More...]

“And then the one day you find Ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run You missed the starting gun.” That line, from Pink Floyd’s classic album The Dark Side of the Moon, has particular meaning for condominium associations contemplating construction defect litigation and similar claims, because for these and other tort claims (essentially negligence and other claims which do not arise from or relate to a contract or a [Read More...]

Recently someone raised the question: “Is anyone aware of any statutory law or case law that would prevent a member of a condominium from having his/her vote count on a vote for a declaration amendment when they were in bankruptcy proceedings if the governing documents are silent on the issue?” While there are no reported cases, the answer may depend on the type of bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, the owner most likely retains the [Read More...]

Dealing with the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) condominium certification requirements has been a little like coping with young children:  Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on one phase, your kids begin to go through another one. With the FHA, whenever condominium association boards and industry professionals overcome one obstacle in the FHA certification process, it seems, agency staffers identify another issue, creating another certification problem that has to be resolved. The most recent [Read More...]

The lyrics of a 1970’s song insultingly declared, “Short people got no reason to live.” The same has been said, although usually somewhat more diplomatically, about small condominiums. Think about all the positive terms used to describe large organizations: “Strength in numbers” “Leverage” “Economies of Scale” “Broad-based” All apply to large and mid-sized condominium communities; none apply to small ones (for purposes of this article, those with five units or less). There are plenty of [Read More...]

When anyone mentions the presence of gas in a residential setting, alarm bells begin to ring. Many people think first of carbon monoxide – appropriately nicknamed the silent killer ─ or imagine natural gas lines exploding and destroying buildings or whole neighborhoods. So when board members or managers call us to report that radon gas has been found in a unit, there is almost always a sense of urgency and some managed fear resonating from [Read More...]

The marketing brochure for an “age-restricted” condominium development shows a group of smiling, active seniors obviously enjoying the amenities in a community designed for and limited to people their age. There is no hint of bitter battles like the one that erupted at a Florida condominium when the board moved to evict owners who had won custody of their young granddaughter, because children were not allowed to reside permanently in the “55 and over” community. [Read More...]

Like the garden perennials that bloom in spring and fall, some condominium law issues surface repeatedly, if not seasonally. How to deal with rentals is one of them. The triggers that make this an agenda item (problems with renters, economic conditions, changing owner populations) vary in different communities, but the questions boards ask are always the same: Can associations prohibit rentals or restrict them? Can they do so retroactively? And if so What form should [Read More...]

It happens like this: a subcontractor assigns its right to collect payment on its contract with the general contractor to a bank. The contractor then agrees to the assignment, and to make all payments directly to the bank. But, what if the contractor erroneously makes all payments directly to the subcontractor instead? What if those payments total $3.8 million? Is the contractor liable for the full $3.8 million, even if the bank’s actual damages are [Read More...]

If the economic pundits are correct, it looks like this Spring and Summer will see a significant uptick in unit sales and transactions throughout the region. Which means prospective buyers will be performing more unit inspections including testing for the presence of Radon gas. Accordingly, we thought we would include some information and guidance in this month’s newsletter in the event your Association experiences a gassy situation or a frantic call from a Unit Owner [Read More...]

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