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New England 2010 Legislative Roundup Money Matters Dominate New Condo Laws

With New England condominiums still grappling with the recent economic downturn, it’s no accident that most new state condo legislation deals with money matters. From a proposed superlien law in New Hampshire that would put condos first in line to collect unpaid condo fees, to a Rhode Island bill that makes it easier for condos to borrow for repairs, helping the condominium’s bottom line is a prevailing theme of new condo legislation. A state-by-state breakdown of current legislation finds most legislatures sympathetic to the problems of condominiums.

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of other states that have enacted superlien laws, a newly amended HB 1340 is halfway there in New Hampshire: as of this writing, the bill has passed in the House and is on its way to the Senate.

If passed and signed by Governor John Lynch, condo associations could file priority liens that take precedence over first mortgage holders (typically banks).

“When individuals don’t pay their share, the whole group must make up for the lack. We’re hoping that this will cause banks to put some pressure on delinquent unit owners. In turn, thebill may help associations keep their reserves more stable, stabilize funding ebbs and flows, and keep property values up for all unit owners,” says state Rep. William Infantine (R-13, Hillsborough), the bill’s sponsor.

If passed, the law will only take effect for new mortgages as of January 2011 – because the New Hampshire State Constitution does not allow interference with existing contracts. The law will not have such an immediate effect as it does in other states, but eventually its influence will spread. As Infantine explains, “Condominium owners are generally a more mobile group,” referring to data that show roughly 2,400 to 2,600 condominiums change hands per year, while the average mortgage lasts about three to five years between actual sales and refinances.

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Comments

  • I am thrilled to know that Unit owners are FINALLY going to have some protection for themselves against the outrageous abuses of Condo Boards across Connecticut. Anyone that is delusional enough to believe that Condo Boards are made up of eager and generous Volunteers is not in touch w/ reality. The truth is that most Board members are abusive, territorial and self-serving hypocrites who want nothing more than to take care of their own homes while depriving the repairs done to those unit owners who they do not like. Then, when the Unit Owners try to do something about it, they get alienated and pegged as a "troublemaker" - having to spend thousands of their own dollars to get work done and hire legal counsel. However, the Board of Directors uses the money from the Association to hire their legal counsel thus spending money from the common charges that If the Boards were educated, honest and fair, none of this would be necessary - but it is not the case. This is the same regulation that the banking industry requires since they are incapable, like Wall Street - of self regulation. I love the idea of SB 129 - I believe that there can be a lot more amendments added to it to further protect the homeowner. Face it, the By-laws of Associations are there to protect Board members - this Bill will be the saving grace for Unit Owners who desperately need protection against the gross abuses of Board members. Incidentally, is anyone surprised that the Attorneys mentioned here don't like SB 129?? They would prefer to get to handle these cases for thousands of dollars instead of having a Consumer Protection Agency charge just $35.00 for the office of Ombudsman.