Condominium and Cooperative Law in Massachusetts
Cooperatives and condominiums are forms 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 accountable 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 discern whether it's a cooperative or condominium community.
This is because there are no physical characteristics that can precisely distinguish one from the other. The general 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 Lawrence, Massachusetts
There are a huge number of laws in Lawrence, 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 likelyy be impacted more by the rules set by the owner or manager of the property, rather than any local or state laws.
The owner or manager of the property on which your unit sits will likely have a significant number of regulations concerning what can be done in and around the housing units. These rules will likely concern cleanliness, noise, and policies governing the presence of pets and long-term guests.
This authority, 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 Lawrence, Massachusetts. This conduct is illegal under state and federal law, and can result in grave civil penalties.
Can a Lawrence, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a reputable real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.