The legal rights of Massachusetts condominium owners are provided by state laws and may be further defined in the Master Deed to their condo. For many people, consulting a Massachusetts real estate attorney is helpful to gain a better understanding of these documents and laws. An October 5, 2018 case between condo unit owners and a condominium developer illustrates the significance of the Master Deed in determining the rights and responsibilities of the parties.
The case arose after the developer recorded two amendments to the Master Deed, which had the effect of permitting construction of 56 additional condo units, doubling the current occupancy. The plaintiffs contended that the amendments were invalid because the defendant no longer had authority to amend the Master Deed without approval of a majority of the unit owners.
In Massachusetts, the Condominium Act provides the framework for the development of condominiums. The Act explicitly protects unit owners by mandating their consent to any alteration that materially affects their undivided interests in the common areas. Accordingly, any such alteration can be achieved only by an amendment to the Master Deed. There is an exception, however, for phased condominium projects like the one at issue in the case. Unit owner approval is not required to add new units for a phased project if the Master Deed provided for them at the time it was recorded, and made it possible to determine each unit’s interest after the additions.