When you purchase a downtown Boston condominium, you’re usually buying title to a subdivided space within a “common interest development” per the legal jargon that defines these things. A condo ‘unit’ can be bought and sold, financed and willed like a single-family house can be. As a condition of your purchase, you’re also agreeing to being bound by certain documents, rules, conditions and a homeowner association’s authority.
Buying a condominium also means you’re not only buying the unit itself but you’re also buying into a homeowner association that ‘owns’ the common areas of a building like hallways, windows (potentially), roofs, and more.
Your ownership stake of the common area is usually tied to the square footage of your unit, which is in turn tied to the amount of the common dues that you’re expected to pay and is usually expressed as a percentage. The legal description of the unit will also include any exclusive use of a common area, i.e., a patio, parking space or storage area.
Because the condo assocation has an obligation to maintain ‘common areas’ as well as to promote resident welfare they are granted certain amounts of power to achieve those goals. For large associations, the condo assocation will have a Board and that board will hire a property management company. Most condo assocations will have formal meetings, others won’t. All condo assocaitions are supposed to maintain financial records and provide annual statements among other requirements under applicable MA law.
The condo assocations also will have easement rights (unfettered access) to enter your unit if there’s an emergency like a water leak or if there is an urgent repair for example.
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