Condominiums are unique and must adopt procedures that meet their individual needs and match their personalities. But condominium communities also confront similar problems and can benefit from solutions other communities have applied successfully.
Therefore, as times and practices change, many Condominiums should update and amend their condominium documents. All of the following can be adopted with owner consent. The following is a summary of some of the most popular amendments which many Associations have been adopting.
If you are interested in learning more about our Amendment Program, feel free to contact any of our attorneys at 781.884.1660 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic Voting and Virtual Meetings
Most condominium documents fail to address whether members of the Board may attend and conduct meetings virtually or whether owners can vote or sign documents electronically. In order to allow for the use of new technology we have amendments that: (1) allow Board members to attend Board meetings virtually; and (2) allow Unit Owners to electronically cast votes to elect Board members and to sign documents electronically through such methods as email or other electronic means; (iii) shall provide for in-person meetings but with flexibility.
The Insurance Amendment upgrades the insurance provisions to conform to current insurance practices in the condominium industry. In particular the amendment provides for the purchase of the master insurance policy with so called “All In” coverage, to insure Common Areas and Facilities and all of the Units with all fixtures, additions, alterations and improvements, but not including any furniture, furnishings, or household and personal property belonging to and owned by individual Unit Owners or Tenants. The Amendment also provides for a deductible which is directly proportional to the amount of such loss related to such Unit, or Units, and/or the amount of the loss related to the Common Areas and Facilities. Further, the Amendment requires all Unit Owners obtain insurance to cover the master policy deductible and their personal property in the event of a casualty loss.
There is no question that unit owners living in their condominium units tend to take better care of their units and the common areas of the condominium in which they reside than tenants leasing a unit from a unit owner. Adopting or amending leasing provisions can ensure that your condominium meets the owner occupancy percentages that mortgage lender require and can help reduce nuisance issues related to tenants from occurring. Restrictions can range from setting a maximum number of units which can be rented at any one time to requiring that unit owners first live in their unit for a set period of time before being allowed to rent/lease their unit. In addition, this type of amendment also addresses requiring unit owners to reference to condominium documents including rules and regulations of the condominium within their unit lease, provide copies of the lease to the association each and every time there is a new tenant, and address unacceptable behavior of tenants.
Pets in condominiums can stir up all sorts of issues between pet owners and non-pet owners. One way to get ahead of the game is for communities to draft and adopt pet provisions that fit their own individual communities. This type of amendment can range from limiting the number, kind, and size of pets per unit, as well as prohibiting the keeping of all, or some kinds of pets. Already have some pets in the community but want to prohibit future pets? We can build in grandfathering provisions so existing owners with pets can keep them, but new residents cannot maintain them. Likewise, this type of amendment can also provide general restrictions and guidance for having pets and provide authority of the managing board to remove problem pets from the community if nuisance or safety issues arise.
Short-Term Rental Amendment
The online rental/vacation market is booming and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Many condominium communities have been blindsided at the popularity of rental sites such as Airbnb and other sites wherein unit owners rent their unit(s) (or rooms in their unit) on a nightly or short-term basis. Unfortunately, many communities have felt the negative effect of short-term leasing and having new vacationers moving in and out of the buildings like a hotel. This amendment prohibits short term transient use of a unit, or portion of a unit, including, but not limited to listing services such as, Airbnb, and also covers situations where owners “swap” the use of their unit instead of receiving actual payment.
This Amendment responds to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, which became legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These laws permit Massachusetts residents (including condominium unit owners) to: (1) smoke and consume marijuana in their units, (2) to grow between 6 – 12 marijuana plants at a time in their units, and (3) to open marijuana retail stores, a/k/a “pot shops” subject to certain licensing and regulations. The Marijuana Amendment provides for the prohibition of smoking, growing and/or sale of marijuana at a condominium (some condominiums want to just ban growing and retail sales).