Real Estate & Lease Litigation: October 2016 Archives

Appeals Court Holds That Condominium Owners Can Waive Constitutional Rights In Bylaws

The Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether a provision in condominium by-laws unfairly prevented individual unit owners from seeking the intervention of the court where the unit owners alleged that the condominium's trustees had breached their fiduciary duties and mismanaged the condominium's affairs. In Bettencourt v. Trustees of Sassaquin Village Condominium Trust, the owners of three units in a twelve-unit condominium sued the three trustees who had hired a contractor to pave the condominium's parking lot without first putting the matter to a vote of all of the unit owners. The paving work resulted in $950 special assessments against each unit owner. The trustees alleged that the plaintiffs' claims were barred by the condominium by-laws, which contained a provision (referred to as a "consent requirement") that required unit owners to obtain the assent of at least 80% of the unit owners before filing suit against the trustees. The plaintiff unit owners had not obtained that assent before filing suit in this case.

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