Condominium and Cooperative Law in Massachusetts
Cooperatives and condominiums are types of "common interest" communities.
These are communities in which each resident rents or owns a residential unit. The residential units are part of a larger building, or complex of buildings, which are owned by another entity, such as a corporation or association. The residents are responsible for the upkeep of common areas, such as lawns and walkways. Rather than personally tending to these things, residents usually pay a fee that covers these necessities.
Merely viewing one of these communities from the outside (or inside) will not let you know whether it's a cooperative or condominium community.
The basic difference is that, in condominium communities, the units are purchased and owned by their residents, and they also collectively own the common areas of the development. In a cooperative community, the land and buildings in which the housing units are owned by a single corporation or association. The individual units are rented by the residents, not purchased.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Barnstable, Massachusetts
There are a large number of laws in Barnstable, Massachusetts that can affect condominiums and cooperatives, but few, if any, of them are unique to such common-interest communities. Instead, they're mostly governed by laws of general application, covering zoning, contracts, and landlord/tenant relations.
Your day-to-day life in a common interest community will probablyy be impacted more by the rules set by the owner or manager of the property, rather than any local or state laws.
The land on which these communities sit is private property, so the owners have significant leeway when it comes to setting rules regarding what tenants can and can't do on the property. These rules generally govern things like noise levels, cleanliness, long-term guests, and pets. They are often designed with the goal of balancing residents' rights to a clean and quiet neighborhood, with their individual autonomy.
Some rules set by property owners or managers may not be enforceable, however. For example, in Barnstable, Massachusetts, any rule which purports to exclude residents based on race, color, national origin, or religion will not be valid. There are likely some others, as well.
Can a Barnstable, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you have a dispute with a neighbor, your landlord, or your homeowners' association, a good Barnstable, Massachusetts real estate attorney can be instrumental in obtaining a desired outcome.