Condominium and Cooperative Law in Massachusetts
Cooperatives and condominiums are examples 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 main 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 Cambridge, Massachusetts
Many Cambridge, Massachusetts laws affect common-interest communities. However, almost all of these laws govern real estate more generally, and there are very few laws written specifically for common interest communities. Such generally-applicable laws include zoning regulations, contracts, and the relations between landlords and tenants.
In general, the policies of the landowner or management board will have a much greater impact on the daily lives and conduct of residents than any state or local laws governing condominiums or cooperatives.
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.
The enforceability of some of these rules may depend on Cambridge, Massachusetts's laws governing relations between landlords and tenants.
Can a Cambridge, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a good real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.