Condominium Associations Matters and New Websites Offering Short Term Rentals

Perhaps you are familiar with new websites such as Airbnb and other similar online short term rental sites offering the short term use of apartments and condominium units in the Boston, Greater Boston area and cities and towns in close proximity to Boston or other tourist destinations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  People are entering into arrangements to rent their units for a fee to guests for transient use.  While most condominium documents may not require owner occupancy, a majority of condominium documents for a condominium trust prohibit short term leasing for less than 6 months.

While this new phenomenon of short term rentals is on the rise, it may be wise to have the condominium trust’s documents amended and revised to prohibit short term rentals of condominium units.  Such transient use of units can have a detrimental effect to safety, security, fair market value, living conditions and the use and enjoyment of the condominium units and the common areas to condominium unit owners and their legal tenants.

Attorney Deborah Gold-Alexander is available to amend condominium documents to prohibit such uses as well as to limit other uses of property that can affect health and safety such as cigarette smoking.  Additionally, as marijuana has been legalized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, condominium associations may wish to limit the use of marijuana smoking on the condominium premises as well.  Amendments usually need to be approved by the condominium unit owners and condominium Trustees and once approved, the Amendments can be recorded at the Registry of Deeds to place potential purchasers of said condominium units of the restrictions on the uses of the unit.  With our ever changing society, it is best to keep current with the laws and policies and revise condominium documents as needed.

Additionally, as Trustees may sell their units or may even pass away, it is important that new Trustees be appointed or voted upon at least on an annual basis to deal with condominium matters.  Those selling condominium units will need to obtain a certificate stating that all condominium fees and assessments have been made and this document, known as a 6D certificate, must be recorded at the Registry of Deeds at closing.  If there are no current appointed Trustees, a Seller of a condominium unit will encounter much difficulty in obtaining this 6D certificate which could detrimentally affect a sale of his/her unit.  A representative of a management company usually does not have the authority to execute a 6D certificate unless he/she is appointed a Trustee of the Association.  Therefore, maintaining the condominium association in good standing is of utmost importance.