Q&A: Is the Board Limited to Owners?

Q. We live in a fairly large condominium building, and, of course, don’t know all of our neighbors. We recently learned that one of the newly-elected members of our association board is a resident, but not actually a unit owner. Is this a problem, and if it is, how do we solve it?

                                          —Curious Owner

A.  “It depends,” says Stephen M. Marcus, partner in the Braintree, Massachusetts law firm of Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, PC. “Do your documents require that only board members may be board members?  Most in Massachusetts do not but, of course, they are elected by the unit owners.  If unit owners want to elect a non-owner, they should be able to. 

“If one spouse owns or for estate planning is not on deed and or if property is in a trust, why not let the person run if they want to?  As a unit owner, you could, of course, ask at the meeting if the person is a unit owner and let otters decide how they wish to vote.  Of course, some documents require only owners can be board members, so a person would then have to not run or change the deed so they have some ownership interest.  As always, consult with the association’s attorney in interpreting the documents as to his question.”

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