Q&A: Rules for Extra Tenant

Q I have lived in a unit for the past three years. I am planning on having my boyfriend move in with me in a few months. Are there any community or state rules or regulations that will prevent this from happening?

—Settling In

A “You would have to have someone look through your condominium or co-op documents to see if there is any prohibition against your boyfriend moving in,” explains attorney Stephen Marcus of the law firm of Marcus Errico Emmer & Brooks, P.C in Braintree, MA. “However, it would be highly unusual to have such a restriction. If the community is a 55-and-older community, some communities would not permit the boyfriend if you were over 55 years of age and he were under that age although the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1996 requires only one person to be over 55 years of age.

“There is nothing in the Massachusetts Condominium Act—Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 183A—which would restrict your boyfriend occupying the unit. If the community has any type of rental restriction, you could look at that to see if it prohibits your boyfriend from moving in but I would doubt it. Any condominium document restriction that permits one family or not more than 2 or 3 people unrelated by blood or marriage is likely illegal discrimination based on familial status and it appears you are only having two occupants so it is very likely not an issue.

“This being Massachusetts, it would not shock me if the so-called Blue Laws–very archaic and puritanical laws–might have at one time technically prohibited you from having your boyfriend live with you but they would not likely ever be enforced even if still on the books. If in doubt, ask your association.”