Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

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Latest post Tue, Apr 11 2017 8:21 AM by ca19lawyer2. 13 replies.
  • Fri, Apr 7 2017 1:10 PM

    • katmcg7
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    Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    I live in a 2 unit condo in MA. I'm a Trustee and so is the other unit owner.

    A new unit owner moved in over a year ago. Th owner rents out their unit and has two new tenants, one moved in last summer and one just in Jan.  Our master deed states "the no unit is to be occupied by more than 2 people unrelated by blood." The unit owner doesn't per se stay at the unit although last summer they did and did so while leasing and having two different tentants, so the unit was being occupied by 3 people unrelated by blood. I'm wondering if it's ok for the owner to have 2 tenants, or if the owner counts as occupying the unit as an owner even though the owner doesn't stay at unit all the time?

    Secondly, since the owner had a new tenant move in Jan,  they have supposedly been having water pressure issues in their unit. My water is fine in my unit and I informed the other unit owner I have no problems with my water. We do have separate piping for each unit but there is only one main city water pipe for the condo. The owner has had plumbers in over the past few months. Today I was totally taken back when the unit owner told me and accused me of shutting off their units water valve. I never would shut off their water valve and I'm at work daily, and when I was recently in the basement (yesterday evening) to open their basement door (their key was jammed) the water valves were not shut off. One of the owner's tenants (the new one who just move in) is home during the day and works I believe the night shift. I also believe if their water was shut off they would have no water and I know that's not the case since our condo water bill has doubled since these tenants have moved in. 

    Further, when I went into the basement today after I got home from work there were all holes cut in the drywall ceiling and the installation was removed, this damage was not repaired by the owner's contractor - the plumber who was her today at the condo. I also notice that the other owner even installed a new water pipe and pipe ring, so to me, it seems like the owner is trying to falsely accuse me when their water issues were probably due to piping issues since they installed a new pipe.

    I'm wondering how I should even respond to these false accusations since I don't want to fight with the other owner, but don't like being falsely accused and I'm irritated by being accused of something like this.

    This owner also hasn't even paid a single condo fee since buying their condo unit over a year ago. I recently brought up their condo fees to them,  and they said "Oh I forgot and will put in my condo fees."  But still, months later have not. 

     

     

     

  • Fri, Apr 7 2017 3:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    katmcg7:
    I live in a 2 unit condo in MA. I'm a Trustee and so is the other unit owner.

    A trustee of what?  Are you saying that your ownership interest in the condo is held in a trust?

     

    katmcg7:
    A new unit owner moved in over a year ago. Th owner rents out their unit and has two new tenants, one moved in last summer and one just in Jan.

    Not really following this.  You've mentioned five different people:  (1) you; (2) the "other unit owner" who is also "a Trustee;" (3) the "new unit owner;" (4) the tenant who moved in last summer; and (5) the tenant who moved in in January.  Did person #3 buy the other unit from person #2?

     

    katmcg7:
    Our master deed states "the no unit is to be occupied by more than 2 people unrelated by blood."

    I assume there's a typo in this quote.

     

    katmcg7:
    The unit owner doesn't per se stay at the unit although last summer they did and did so while leasing and having two different tentants, so the unit was being occupied by 3 people unrelated by blood. I'm wondering if it's ok for the owner to have 2 tenants, or if the owner counts as occupying the unit as an owner even though the owner doesn't stay at unit all the time?

    I can barely follow this (and this appears to be the only question in your post).  As far as whether "it's ok," I don't know.  It's certainly "ok" with me.  Is it "ok" with you?

     

    katmcg7:
    Further, when I went into the basement today after I got home from work there were all holes cut in the drywall ceiling and the installation was removed

    Is the basement part of your unit or the other unit or is it common area?

     

    katmcg7:
    I'm wondering how I should even respond to these false accusations

    Well...if someone falsely accuses me of something, my typically response is to explain I did not do the thing of which I was falsely accused.  Is there some reason why you would consider responding in any other way?

  • Fri, Apr 7 2017 4:33 PM In reply to

    • katmcg7
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    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    ca19lawyer2:

    katmcg7:
    I live in a 2 unit condo in MA. I'm a Trustee and so is the other unit owner.

    A trustee of what?  Are you saying that your ownership interest in the condo is held in a trust?

    Yes. Trustees of the Condominium. Myself and the other unit owner are both listed as the Trustees per the Master Deed/Declaration Of Trust. The DOT states there should be at all times 2 Trustees.

    katmcg7:
    A new unit owner moved in over a year ago. Th owner rents out their unit and has two new tenants, one moved in last summer and one just in Jan.

    Not really following this.  You've mentioned five different people:  (1) you; (2) the "other unit owner" who is also "a Trustee;" (3) the "new unit owner;" (4) the tenant who moved in last summer; and (5) the tenant who moved in in January.  Did person #3 buy the other unit from person #2?

    There is (1) me - who owns Unit A and; (2) the "new unit owner" - who owns unit B - a separate unit. There are only 2 units in the Condo.
    The owner of Unit B person #2 rents out their unit and has two current tenants (one who moved in last summer and one who move in recently). Previous to these tenants the owner also had 2 other tenants one who moved out after their lease was up, and another tenant who was evicted.


    So to summarize:
    1) I own unit A. I"m a Trustee.
    2) Another owner owns unit B. They are a Trustee. This owner rents out his unit and currently has two tenants. This owner sometimes occupies or stays in their unit with their tenants. So, at times the unit is occupied by more than 3 people unrelated by blood.

    katmcg7:
    Our master deed states "the no unit is to be occupied by more than 2 people unrelated by blood."

    I assume there's a typo in this quote.

    Yes, this is a typo. it should read "All Units shall be used for residential purposes; no unit shall be occupied as a residence by more than one (1) family unit or by more than two (2) persons unrelated by blood or marriage.

    katmcg7:
    The unit owner doesn't per se stay at the unit although last summer they did and did so while leasing and having two different tentants, so the unit was being occupied by 3 people unrelated by blood. I'm wondering if it's ok for the owner to have 2 tenants, or if the owner counts as occupying the unit as an owner even though the owner doesn't stay at unit all the time?

    I can barely follow this (and this appears to be the only question in your post).  As far as whether "it's ok," I don't know.  It's certainly "ok" with me.  Is it "ok" with you?

    I'm asking if its ok per the language in Master Deed and as written above? Would the owner of Unit B even if not living full time at the unit be considered an "occupant"? Because if the owner is considered an "occupant" then 3 people would be occupying Unit B who were unrelated by blood or marriage, which appears to be in conflict with the rules and regulations of the Master Deed.

    katmcg7:
    Further, when I went into the basement today after I got home from work there were all holes cut in the drywall ceiling and the installation was removed

    Is the basement part of your unit or the other unit or is it common area?

    The basement is considered the common area.

    katmcg7:
    I'm wondering how I should even respond to these false accusations

    Well...if someone falsely accuses me of something, my typically response is to explain I did not do the thing of which I was falsely accused.  Is there some reason why you would consider responding in any other way?

    Yes, which is what I did. I just kept it simple and said: "I don't go in the basement, and didn't nor would I touch your valve." And left it at that. I didn't mention the damage and cut out of the drywall and removal of the insulation by their contractor. At least not yet...

  • Fri, Apr 7 2017 4:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    katmcg7:
    I'm asking if its ok per the language in Master Deed and as written above? Would the owner of Unit B even if not living full time at the unit be considered an "occupant"? Because if the owner is considered an "occupant" then 3 people would be occupying Unit B who were unrelated by blood or marriage, which appears to be in conflict with the rules and regulations of the Master Deed.

    Unless "occupant" is defined in this "master lease," it sounds to me like he's simply an occasional guest of his tenants.

  • Fri, Apr 7 2017 5:10 PM In reply to

    • katmcg7
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    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    ca19lawyer2:
    Unless "occupant" is defined in this "master lease," it sounds to me like he's simply an occasional guest of his tenants.

    No, "occupant" is not defined in the Master Deed. Could the "owner/Trustee" of the other unit be considered an occasional "guest" of his tenants? I would think the owner of the other unit would be considered by default an "occupant" of his unit. Not sure what "occasional guest" legally means as far as how long they would be able to stay at the unit? 

  • Fri, Apr 7 2017 5:13 PM In reply to

    • katmcg7
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    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common ...

    Also assuming the other unit owner is responsible to repair the drywall his plumber removed from the basement ceiling? 

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 10:52 AM In reply to

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    katmcg7:
    Could the "owner/Trustee" of the other unit be considered an occasional "guest" of his tenants?

    That's exactly what I wrote.

    Again, I ask:  do you care about any of this?  As the only other owner/trustee, if you don't care, then it doesn't make much difference.  Right?

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 11:18 AM In reply to

    • katmcg7
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    • MA
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    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    ca19lawyer2:
    That's exactly what I wrote.

    You wrote it appears the owner of the other unit is an occasional guest of his tenants. I am asking if the owner of a unit can "legally" be a "guest" of his tenants or if an owner is considered by default as an occupant of the unit they own? Secondly, when does a "guest" become an "occupant", for example, if a guest is living at the residence for more than 6 months wouldn't they be an occupant vs. an occasional guest? 

    ca19lawyer2:
    Again, I ask:  do you care about any of this?  As the only other owner/trustee, if you don't care, then it doesn't make much difference.  Right?

    I care about this because it may it may be in violation of the Condo Rules and Regulations (unit occupied by too many people), and I'm planning on selling my own unit. 

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 1:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    katmcg7:
    You wrote it appears the owner of the other unit is an occasional guest of his tenants. I am asking if the owner of a unit can "legally" be a "guest" of his tenants or if an owner is considered by default as an occupant of the unit they own?

    There's nothing in the law about this.

     

    katmcg7:
    Secondly, when does a "guest" become an "occupant", for example, if a guest is living at the residence for more than 6 months wouldn't they be an occupant vs. an occasional guest?

    There's no hard and fast rule about this either.  Also, whether a person is a "guest" or an "occupant" depends on more than just time.

     

    katmcg7:
    I care about this because it may it may be in violation of the Condo Rules and Regulations

    Whether you care about it and whether there's a rule are two different things.  It's the law that the speed limit on the main street near where I live is 40mph, but I don't care if people exceed the speed limit as long as they're not endangering others' lives or property in doing so (as I do routinely).  What I'm trying to figure out is whether you care OTHER THAN because it's a rule.

     

    katmcg7:
    I'm planning on selling my own unit.

    Ok...are you concerned that the potential violation will reduce the market price?  If so, do you have any facts to back that up?

    The problem here is that it's basically you and one other guy, and you have a vague agreement.  You can try and resolve the issue (including by amending the existing agreement) or you can litigate.

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 2:28 PM In reply to

    • katmcg7
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    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    ca19lawyer2:
    There's no hard and fast rule about this either.  Also, whether a person is a "guest" or an "occupant" depends on more than just time.

    So, what may be some other "factors" that it's dependent upon besides time? It seems if there is no hard and fast rule on this then I could potentially have 10 "guests" staying at my unit for as long as I want, and then, therefore, the definition of "occupant" really has no meaning.

    ca19lawyer2:
    Ok...are you concerned that the potential violation will reduce the market price?  If so, do you have any facts to back that up?

    Not just that, my understanding is that with condos, if half or a certain percentage are "leased" and there are renters, it can become a factor when a new owner may be trying to get approval for a loan, and it may impede the sale of my unit or make it more difficult. 

    Also, our monthly condo fees cover our utility bill, and we have a condo budget that was put in place when the condominium was established. Since these two renters have moved in our utility bill has doubled from previous years and is way over the condo budget. The new owner has not made one single monthly condo fee payment since he purchased the unit over a year ago. It obvious that the renters are not conservative with their usage and using the unit like a "hotel" in regards to the utilities since the increase occurred since these renters moved in. Should I be responsible for this increased cost, and have to increase my own condo fees? It's making it difficult to pay the condo expenses and I'm deducting from other budget line items (for example landscaping  to cover our utility expenses), and I'm doing all the landscaping  myself, since the new owner doesn't seem to care and isn't around.

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 3:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    If you want to make a stink about this, I suggest you confer with a local real estate attorney.

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 4:30 PM In reply to

    • katmcg7
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Fri, Apr 7 2017
    • MA
    • Posts 8

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    ca19lawyer2:
    If you want to make a stink about this, I suggest you confer with a local real estate attorney.

    Wow. Come on dude. You can offer advice or quit un-useful snarky replies to my concerns.  I don't think I'm making a stink about something that could impede the sale of my unit, financially impact me, and are legitimate concerns. That's what this forum is for, right? Or maybe not...

  • Mon, Apr 10 2017 4:33 PM In reply to

    • katmcg7
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    • MA
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    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    Duplicate.

  • Tue, Apr 11 2017 8:21 AM In reply to

    Re: Condo - Damage from a unit owner's contractor to common area

    Make a stink.  Cause a ruckus.  Take action.  Whatever.  I'm not in your state, and I haven't read and have no ability to read the relevant documents, so I've told you about all I can on this issue.  If you want to take it further, consult with a local attorney.  How is that snarky?

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