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.
This is because there are no physical characteristics that can clearly distinguish one from the other. The basic difference lies in the legal ownership arrangement. In a condominium community, the units are actually owned by the residents. The residents also collectively own the common areas, holding joint title to it. In a cooperative community, the buildings and land which make up the houses are owned by a single entity, and the individual units are often rented rather than owned by the residents.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Essex County, Massachusetts
Essex County, Massachusetts likely has several laws and regulations concerning common interest communities. However, these are mostly limited to the laws and regulations (zoning, land use, etc.) that concern all real estate owners.
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 that common interest communities occupy is usually private property. Therefore, the owners of the property are free to make certain rules governing what is and isn't allowed on it. A good manager or owner will usually make every effort to strike a balance between residents' freedom to do what they want in their homes, and the rights of their neighbors to a safe, clean, and reasonably quiet living space.
This power, however, has limits. There are some rules which landowners cannot impose. Most obviously, they can't bar people from renting or buying units based on their race, religion, or national origin in Essex County, Massachusetts. This conduct is illegal under state and federal law, and can result in severe civil penalties.
Can a Essex County, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you have a problem with your landlord, your community association, or a neighbor (which the landlord is unwilling or unable to address), an experienced real estate attorney in Essex County, Massachusetts will be able to help.