Page 7 - New England Condominium February 2019
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NEWENGLANDCONDO.COM  NEW ENGLAND CONDOMINIUM   - FEBRUARY 2019     7  Share and Share Alike  Q  Can a condominium association   charge all unit owners the same   fees?  MGL  Chapter  183A  Sec-  tions 5(a) and 6(a)(1) seem to require the   association to determine the percentage of   undivided interest for each unit and to ac-  cess fees in accordance with these percent-  ages. Our board has stated that they charge   everyone the same fees because it is easier.   Are they acting within the law? If not, what   can be done about this?                          — Looking for Fairness  A  “Your board is not acting   within the law,” says Dean T.   Lennon, a partner at the law   fi rm  of  Marcus,  Errico,  Emmer  &  Brooks   PC, in Braintree, Massachusetts. “As you   note, section 6(a)(i) requires that fees be   assessed to the owners based upon their   respective percentages of undivided inter-  est in the common area and facilities. Th  ese   percentages will be set forth in the Master   Deed, typically in Exhibit A.   “Th  us, your board is legally required to   assess fees pursuant to the stated percent-  ages. If the board wishes to change to any  sides out of state, and has all maintenance  the Commonwealth.  (We would also point   other method of assessment, your condo-  minium docs will have to be amended. Most  fore, the only person signing checks for all  the off  chance there is a specifi c provision   docs will require the unanimous consent of  purchases, without other board members’  in the Master Deed or the other condomin-  all owners whose percentage is changed in  knowledge. She insists this is legitimate. Are  ium documents requiring offi  cers or board   order to amend for the purpose of chang-  ing  percentages  of  interest.  Th  us,  your  here, and the board should step in and take   board will have the impossible task of get-  ting some owners to agree to increase their   own fee while simultaneously, some of their   neighbors see their fee reduced. While it is   theoretically possible to amend to change   percentages of interest, it is impossible on   a practical level.   “As for what can be done with it, I sug-  gest asking the board to attend their next  out of state does not necessarily present  impropriety.   meeting to discuss the issue. Hopefully, by  a legal problem for the community,” says   pointing out the clear legal constraints that  Daniel Lopez, an associate in the law fi rm  aware that there are certain safeguards that   prohibit what the board is attempting to do,  of Perkins & Anctil in Westford, Massachu-  they will reconsider. If they don’t reconsid-  er, please consult counsel to take action.”  Fishy Financial Operations?  Q  We live in a 64 unit condo in Mas-  sachusetts and feel that the board  per Section 10 of c. 183A, so the treasurer   of trustees is not following their  would have to ensure that all documents in   fi duciary responsibilities. Th  e treasurer re-  invoices sent to her monthly. She is, there-  we right in feeling that something is wrong  members to reside in state.)  action to stop this?                                   —Suspicious Owner  A  “While it may not be best  tion 10(c). Aft er any such owner has had an   practice, in Massachusetts,  opportunity to inspect the relevant docu-  the fact that the treasurer  ments, he or should would likely have a   of the condominium association is living  better sense if there has been any fi nancial   setts. “Th  ere is no provision under M.G.L.  these concerns. For example:  c. 183A which requires a treasurer (or any   board member) to reside in the state.  How-  ever, the association’s books and records  should not be the same person who signs   must be maintained in the Commonwealth  the checks for payment;  his or her possession were also available in   out that this could possibly be an issue in    “If a unit owner suspects that there may   be fi nancial irregularities, he or she can and   should ask to inspect the condominium’s fi -  nancial records which must be maintained   in accordance with in M.G.L. c. 183A, Sec-    “Boards and owners should also be   a board can adopt to prevent or mitigate    “Th  e board can adopt rules to provide   that the person approving the bills shall/  “Th  e board can adopt a rule to provide   Legal  Q  A&  continued on page 22   |   P: 978-694-9004  F: 978-694-9008   |  COMPANY OVERVIEW  •   Family owned and managed Massachusetts based property   management company   •   Offers superior construction-related expertise and resources  •   Blends management expertise with open communication between   the board, unit owners and managing agent, making for a   healthier property  •   Superior vendor and cost management  •   Deployment of in-house maintenance and grounds-keeping crews  At J. Butler Property Management, LLC, we measure our success in   terms of client satisfaction and take a long-term view of every   relationship.  A Company you can trust...  A Company you can depend on...  A Company of Professionals!!!  An Unparalleled Level of Condominium Service

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