You are here

Condo ownership percentage

I have a question about Condo laws. My Condo association consists of 3 units. one with 54% interest and 2 each with 23% interest in the common areas. The declarant just sold her unit, and in the Docs it states that when she sells her unit there must then be 2 members of the board of trustees. My question is this: are the voting percentages based upon the percentage of the interest of the units, or does each unit have an equal vote in the association? I purchased the largest unit and want to know if my vote is equal to each of the other unit owners, or is it based on the percentage of ownership? Also, the other unit owners have suggested that we change the bylaws to allow 3 members of the board of trustees. If the voting is based on percentage of ownership, wouldnt allowing 3 members of the board of trustees overly weight the decisions of the board of trustees in the direction of the small unit owners?

Share this with your friends

Your condominium’s By-Laws should specify how voting is allocated. I can’t recall ever seeing the voting rights spelled out in any way other than stating that the votes of each unit owner mirrors the proportion of each owner’s interest in the common areas, etc. as is stated in the condominium documents (Master Deed). That application is consistent with the provisions of Section 10 of the state’s condominium law *, which states in part that “Each unit owner shall have the same percentage interest in the corporation, trust or unincorporated association provided for in the master deed for the management and regulation of the condominium as his proportionate interest in the common areas and facilities.”

That being the case, you have 54% of the vote in the association of unit owners, assuming that is how the 54% was determined. Keep in mind that--although in smaller condominiums the unit owners and the Trustees are often one and the same--the votes of each Trustee as a Trustee in managing the condo on behalf of the owners are usually allocated equally. Each Trustee thus has one vote, whereas each unit owner has a vote based on the percentage allocation as stated above.

Two separate voting considerations here, even if the parties are all the same. Every unit owner is a member of the condo association, with voting rights as set forth above. The unit owners elect a Board of Trustees who are typically responsible for maintaining the common areas, approve the annual budget, manage the complex as needed, and make such other decisions affecting the entire complex as may be necessary.

With three Trustees, two votes are all that’s needed to conduct business under the normal terms of the governing document. What happens when there are only two Trustees and each has a different opinion about an issue? How do the governing documents resolve that issue? Is it better to have stalemates, or run the risk that you as a presumed Trustee would be outvoted by the other two? These will have to be considered if you decide that the two-member Board of Trustees should now be expanded—in effect making each unit owner a Trustee as well. You face a dilemma typical of smaller condominiums: one or two individuals can wield enormous control over the administration of the complex when just a few votes constitutes a majority.

* Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 183A

Even though it is not in the master deed or bylaws, our trustees have refused to allow voting on percentage of interest. 3/4 of the units have a lower interest. Also they have instituted a requirement that a candidate for trustees must have 21 of 40 approve the candidate even when unchallenged. Is that legal in Massachusetts?

Talk to a Real Estate Lawyer Today
Most offer FREE Consultations
Connect with The Forum
facebook google twitter linkedin