R.B. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am an equal Trustee of a 4-unit self-managed Condo Association. Units 1 – 3 are in a converted house; unit 4 is detached. Special assessments for the house cannot be charged to unit 4 and the same with special assessments for unit 4 cannot be charged to units 1 -3. In a situation where capital improvements require a 75% majority with special assessments to be charged to units 1 – 3 only, does unit 4 have a legal vote? Without unit 4 having a monetary stake in the special assessments, unit 4’s vote could override a dissenting owner of a unit 1, 2, or 3 who is on the hook financially. Can this be legally challenged?
Mister Condo replies:
R.B., the condominium’s governance documents should address this very specific issue. Since Unit 4 cannot be assessed for the special assessment on Units 1-3 for the house, it would logically follow that Unit 4 should not have a vote. However, logic does not come into play as much as the governing documents do and you must abide by the rules on voting as outlined in the governance documents. While it may cost money, this is an area where a community association attorney that specializes in Massachusetts law should be consulted for a legal opinion if the documents are sketchy or fail to address the matter properly. If the rules need to be modified, there is a procedure for that as well, also outline in the governance documents. Good luck!
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