Can a Spouse of a Condo Owner Serve on the Board?

J.K. from Middlesex County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I recently got married and moved in with my wife who owns the condo (mortgage is in her name).  Being that I am not on the mortgage but reside there, what is my status in terms of the condo association? Would I be eligible to serve on the condo board if elected?

Mister Condo replies:

J.K., congratulations to you and your wife on your nuptials! Believe it or not, it’s not the mortgage but rather the deed that matters.  If your name isn’t on the deed, then you’re not a “unit owner”, which means you have no right to vote at the community’s elections and meetings unless your wife gives you a valid proxy and doesn’t attend herself.  (You technically don’t even have a legal right to attend the meetings although most communities wouldn’t stop you from sitting in.)  Still, as a resident, you are nevertheless required to comply with all of the community’s rules for behavior.  The upside is that, as a non-owner, you aren’t personally liable for paying common charges. You aren’t eligible to serve on the board unless the bylaws specifically say that the spouse of a unit owner can do so — and an increasing number do just that. So my advice is to check the condo by-laws and see what it says about spouses of unit owners being able to serve on the Board. Good luck!

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