Individual Unit Deeds in Condominiums

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Condominiums can be established under Massachusetts General Laws (MGL), Chapter 183A. The master deed is one of the documents that transfer property to be owned by the condominium. It includes a description of the land and buildings, a description of what is the common area and what the individual owners own, a determination of percentage interest, a plot plan, and use restrictions. Condominiums also have individual unit deeds, which provide a unit buyer with his or her basic rights and duties, as well as a right of ownership and percentage of interest. The first unit buyer will receive the floor plans as well. The dedicated real estate attorneys at Pulgini & Norton can advise Boston residents who are buying a condominium and work to protect their interests.

Individual Unit Deeds in Condominiums

A condominium's common areas vary from condo to condo. Sometimes the land is held commonly, and each unit is a separate building where the unit owner owns both the interior and exterior. Yards may be designated as limited common areas. In most condominiums, however, a unit owner has the rights associated with ownership of a freestanding house with regard to everything within the walls of the unit.

Each unit can be mortgaged and conveyed and is subject to real estate taxes. The unit owner shares ownership rights to what lies outside the walls of the unit: the hallways, parking lot, lounge, and elevators. Unit owners often own differing percentages of the common area, and the owners who own a larger share of the common area are entitled to more participation in the condominium's business.

The individual unit deed is an instrument that allows the unit to be transferred. It describes the land and address as well as the book, page, and date of recording for the condominium's master deed. The unit deed will also define the unit owner's interest in the common areas and facilities.

In addition to filing the master deed and unit deeds, the person or entity creating the condominium will also need to file a declaration of trust and bylaws. These will include rules and procedures needed for the governance of the condominium owner's association. It will also provide limits for the expenses related to water and sewage, common area maintenance, and master insurance premiums.

Buyers of condominium units should examine the master deed and the individual unit deed, as well as the unit plan. You should look for any restrictions on your use of the unit. For example, there may be restrictions on the right to rent the unit to others in the individual unit deed. You should also determine whether there are any appurtenances or rights in limited common areas, such as a yard or parking.

It is also important to take a look at what form of dispute resolution is specified in the master deed. When a dispute happens in a smaller condominium association, it may be difficult to resolve and may also be more intense than disputes in larger condominium associations. The master deeds for associations with fewer than five units must now contain a mandatory arbitration clause.

Protect Your Interests in a Property Transaction by Consulting a Boston Attorney

If you are buying or selling a condominium, you should be aware of the complexities of this type of ownership and understand how various important decisions will be made while you live there. The experienced Boston attorneys at Pulgini & Norton can offer sound legal advice on condominium conversions and other real estate matters. We can also assist clients in Braintree, Somerville, Quincy, and other cities in Massachusetts. Call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us via our online form to schedule a free consultation.