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 typically 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 due to the fact that there are no visual or physical characteristics that can distinguish one from the other. All the differences between them lie in the ownership arrangements that the residents have. With a condominium, the residents typically own their housing unit, and collectively own the land on which it sits. In a cooperative, the residents rent the units, and the land is owned by a single entity, either a corporation or other type of business association.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Watertown, Massachusetts
There are a huge number of laws in Watertown, Massachusetts that can affect condominiums and cooperatives, but few, if any, of them are unique to such common-interest communities. Alternatively, they're mostly governed by laws of general application, covering zoning, contracts, and landlord/tenant relations.
The daily lives of residents, and what they are and aren't allowed to do in their residences, will be far more heavily impacted by rules and regulations that the homeowner's association, or the owner of the land, has imposed.
The land on which these communities sit is private property, so the owners have substantial leeway when it comes to setting rules regarding what tenants can and can't do on the property. These rules usually 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 power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in Watertown, 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 Watertown, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Watertown, Massachusetts, a reliable real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.