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.
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 usually 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 form of business association.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Wellesley, Massachusetts
There are a large number of laws in Wellesley, 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.
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 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.
The authority of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For instance, in Wellesley, 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 Wellesley, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
If you have problems with your landlord, your homeowners association, or a neighbor, a good Wellesley, Massachusetts real estate lawyer may prove invaluable.