How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask N Cal Attorney Your Own Question
N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9086
Experience:  Since 1983
9653905
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
N Cal Attorney is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I purchased a condo in a three-unit conversion back in 2008

Customer Question

I purchased a condo in a three-unit conversion back in 2008 in MA. It is now clear that, back then, the trustee lied on the questionnaire about the building's occupancy so that my financing could go through. Ever since then, I've been trying to get the association in order, especially given a lot of neglect on the part of the two other owners and issues caused by their ever changing tenants. As recently as the end of last year, their tenants were squatting in my storage unit. Yet, the owners have refused to meet or take proper action for 8 years now. Seeing that they are brothers, I have not been able to get anything done. Condo fees have never been collected. I have to send stern emails and calls every year to get them to pay master insurance and common utilities.
Now that I want to sell the property and get out of this situation or pass it on to a rental management, I'm finding that I cannot do either given the dysfunction of the association. I cannot sell to the majority of buyers due to occupancy issues so I'll have to sell to an investor at a loss when similar units are selling for $350K. And, I cannot have the unit managed because rental management companies will not take it on unless the association is in order or they can manage the entire building, bypassing the absentee landlords/owners.
What is my recourse?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your question.

"A condominium is supposed to run like a democracy with trustees being elected by the majority of unit owners, and subject to being voted out of office when they do a poor job. The procedures for elections and removal should be set forth in the condominium declaration of trust/by-laws. In the case of financial mismanagement, unit owners often may have difficulty enforcing the internal governance rules. At minimum, disgruntled unit owners should call a special meeting and attempt to removal or vote out trustees who are causing problems. If the internal governance doesn’t work, unit owners may seek legal action for “breach of fiduciary duty” against the trustees in the Superior Court. In egregious cases, the court can grant preliminary injunctions and other remedies to protect the unit owners from financial harm."

From http://massrealestatelawblog.com/2011/05/10/dealing-with-dysfunctional-massachusetts-condominium-trustees-homeowner-associations/

You can get a free consultation from some of the attorneys listed by location here. They all advertise as being knowledgable about Homeowners Association law.

Only a local attorney can provide legal advice but it sounds like you may need to at least threaten to sue the co-owners to get this mess cleaned up. Sometimes a demand letter from an attorney will get people to behave as they should.

Please follow up on this with a local attorney.

I hope this information is helpful.

Related Real Estate Law Questions