Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/15/2008 - 15:27
Does Massachusetts law allow a condo association to make up random amounts to be fined to residents? Is there a limit? Our association is fining a resident $750 for getting into a 'screaming match' with someone from our property management company. -- (Posted by ‘scigenius’ on the Forum Chat Room.)
(The following response was posted by attorney Lisa Sigman of Wakefield.) The condo association may levy fines against the residents & owners of the units [Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 183a, Section 10]. These fines are meant to help keep the community of the condo as pleasant as possible for all residents. These fines, however, must be dictated by the terms of the trust and condo docs. While the fines may not have been initially laid out in the original documents, the trust can be amended (again per the terms of the condo docs), so if properly done, the trustees can establish fines.
To determine if any amendments have been filed, you can search the land records registry online. If nothing is filed, and nothing exists in the original docs that established these fines - something is amiss. Make sure that you attend the meetings open to all residents (and there should be such meetings periodically), if not, you can try to organize a meeting of the unit owners to discuss the fees with the trustees. Carefully review your master deed and trust documents, these lay the ground rules for all that goes on in the condo, for both residents, owners and trustees. We have found so much mismanagement of condo associations by trustees that we now offer the service of reviewing all docs, attending a meeting with the trustees, making suggestions as to improvements in the trust & budget and teaching the trustees how to do their jobs correctly.
For more information or to post a question, visit our MA Real Estate Law Discussion Forum.