Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Condo Docs

Today's Globe business page has a story about a bill pending in the legislature that would create financial incentives for condominium associations to quickly get condo owners copies of paperwork related to the operation of the condominium such as insurance policies and budgets when requested.  The bill seems to be in response to complaints that delays by associations (or by the management companies employed by associations) create major inconveniences and sometimes financial losses for owners trying to sell or refinance their units.

I'm not aware of the particulars of the bill but it's long been apparent from here at the registry of deeds that many condo associations have difficulty keeping up with the requirements imposed on them by law.  This is particularly true of smaller condo developments which lack the scale needed to make the employment of a management company affordable.  Individual homeowners trying to run the association on their own face a real challenge.  We constantly receive calls from people seeking copies of their "condo docs."  For us, that term means the master deed that first created the condominium and the declaration of trust that created the condominium association.  These can usually be found on our website (under the name of the condominium development or association) and can be downloaded and printed from there.  These two documents, however, often exceed 100 pages combined.  Other documents that are often lacking are those tracking changes in the makeup of the condominium board.  With each change there should be a document that details the departure of the former trustee and the election/acceptance of the new trustee.  This does not seem to be done routinely and often results in a last minute scramble when such documentation is needed by someone.

I'm not sure the legislation cited in the Globe story addresses these issues.  Perhaps some type of consumer handbook for condominium owners that simplifies the legal requirements of maintaining a condominium association would be worthwhile. 

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