A Board Too Far When Boards Overstep Their Authority

Having a disinterested, apathetic board is a problem in some buildings, though a board that oversteps the boundaries of its power or invades the privacy of residents also can cause hassles. But an informed board should be less apt to go beyond its authority and less likely to cause trouble for the community, due to having an informed perspective.

Reading Up

All residents of co-ops and condos should know about the legal and ethical boundaries under which boards operate, since understanding those parameters will help board members to know when to exercise caution, consult their professionals, and more. Not comprehending the limits of the board’s power, though, can lead to troubles, and even unnecessary lawsuits. Generally speaking, a co-op board is the governing body of a corporate entity which owns the property and is landlord. A condo board is in charge of management of common areas of the building, like hallways and recreational areas.

The extent of a board’s fiduciary duty is laid out in individual New England state’s laws, and all New England dwelling board members should check their respective state laws for specific details on requirements. Section 11 Chapter 183A of the Massachusetts General Law Chapter lists board requirements, Steven Reilly Jr., an attorney with Springfield, Massachusetts-based Reilly Associates, explains.

“[Board powers] are set forth either in the statute Chapter 183A or under the constituent documents of a condominium. Chapter 183A sets a general framework and the details are usually contained in the condo documents,” he explains.

Chapter 183A dictates that boards must maintain common areas and facilities, repairing and replacing when need be, enlist personnel, collect fees for common expenses, create a method of amending rules and regulations, and establish rules and requirements regarding how units and common areas and facilities are used and maintained.


Related Articles

Condominium Board Authority

Checking the Limits of Power

Fines and Penalties

Using Them Fairly and Effectively

Amending Rules

Updating Bylaws and House Rules to Fit Your Community



  • In MA is it required that all Board of Trustees meetings be open to unit owners ? Are votes taken at a board meeting open and included in the minutes of the meeting ?