Is a Condo the Perfect Gift? Maybe Not…

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E.E. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Do I have to apply like a buyer to the HOA if a condo was gifted to me but I just plan to sell?

Mister Condo replies:

E.E., congratulations on being gifted a condominium unit! I am going to have to rethink my Christmas list this year as all I have asked for are new socks!

On a more serious note, it really depends on the rules of the association with regards to transfer of ownership. The previous owner, in theory, went through an approval process with the association as prescribed in the association’s by-laws and as a term of purchase within the association. The documents do not likely address a condo unit being gifted because it such an unusual occurrence. My guess is that you would have to submit to the new owner application although I don’t think there is too much the association can do to prevent you from taking legal ownership of the unit. If your plan is to sell, I would get it listed as soon as possible so that you can additionally demonstrate to the Board that you have no intention of living there. However, if you decide to rent the unit out, you would still have to follow the association’s rules for doing so and, it could then be argued that you are, in fact, taking ownership for more than a transient period of time and may be subject to the application (and acceptance) of the association as outlined in its governance documents. While you may be able to tread through this transaction without counsel, I sincerely recommend that you consult with an attorney. You will likely need one to assist with the eventual sale of the unit anyway, so it might be easier to involve the attorney from the beginning of the process to avoid any potential legal hassles you might encounter. All the best!

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