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Who is responsible for alterations to common areas in Condo complex

I moved into a condo complex in 2007. A prior owner had put down some patio bricks/pavers in the back yard of my unit on the common area. In talking to the previous owner the association/management company had sent letters and fines regarding the patio. I bought the condo and never received any letters or fines regarding the patio, the management company had dropped the issue. I received a call from the management company yesterday (7-08-09) saying there had been an incident behind my unit. There had been a manhole under the patio. The previous owner had removed the manhole cover and placed a piece of plywood over the hole and then put the patio bricks over it. Well the wood rotted and someone almost fell through. The management company told me it was my responsibility to fix it and purchase a new manhole cover???? I said why should I fix it, I didn't build it or remove the cover and asked why the management company had allowed the previous owner to alter the common area??? He told me Mass law was very clear the current owner is responsible for the previous owners problems. I don't own the land or the manhole?? Isn't that owned by the association so they are the previous and current owner of the common area and should be the ones to fix it?? I also believe that the management company and board of directors are negligent because they didn't enforce the rules about altering the common areas?? Am I correct? Condo is located in Massachusetts.

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That is an odd situation.  Granted, I have never practiced condominium law, but I am curious how the management company is planning on holding you responsible for alterations that you did not make to property that you never owned.  I would simply ask them to provide some information to back up their claim re MA law, such as something in the condo docs or in MA General Laws.  Good luck. 

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