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Condominium Fines

I live in a 20 unit condominium in MA. Our Rules & Regulations State "Monies paid are first applied to fines then to assessments then to condo fess". The intent is that if a homeowner owes fines, and has not yet paid them, or has no intention of paying them until they request a 6D, the Association can get their money for fines well before then. The Association assumes it will be easier to collect for Condo Fees and Assessments in a court of law than it will be to collect fines. To be clear, the rule means that when a homeowner pays their monthly fee, money will be taken out of that check and applied to the fines first, leaving the homeowner in arrears on the monthly fee.

Is it legal for an Association to do this? What if on the memo line on the check states "Assessment" or "Monthly Condo Fee"? Can the money still be applied first to a fine?

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Great question, I wish somebody would answer this!

Submitted Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:54

In a condo, any valid by-law can be enforced under the law. As long as the condo-docs specify how payments can be applied, the condo can legally do this. The note line on a check doesn't restrict what the check can be used for. If a condo member pays their monthly fee and not their fines, and the condo doc allows it, the condo association/trust can legally apply any payment they receive to the fees and assessments first before paying off dues. The condo maintains a 6 month "superlien" on dues, so this makes sense from their perspective and is perfectly legal as long as the condo docs spell it out.

Atty. David Owens

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