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 Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Many Dartmouth, 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.
Generally, the rules established by the owner of the property, or the entity tasked with managing it, are going to have much more of a day-to-day effect on your life than any state laws governing these types of communities.
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 authority of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For instance, in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, any rule which would exclude residents based on their race is completely unenforceable. Such discrimination is clearly prohibited under federal law, private property rights notwithstanding.
Can a Dartmouth, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, a good real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.