Problems in Margaritaville

30 Apr

Metro® Boston, Publication Date: February 2, 2011

By Attorney George Warshaw 

Recently, the Boston Globe ran a story on nightmares that people can experience in owning a condo in a small building. The gist of the story is that one miserable owner can make everyone’s life a living hell. 

While it doesn’t happen often, it happens often enough to require your attention as a buyer. 

So how can you ferret out a problem situation before you buy? These answers are not perfect; but perhaps this will help. 

Oddly enough, the first thing to do is ask. Ask the seller and especially the property manager (or one of the condo trustees) if everyone gets along, and about conflict and complaints. Inquire whether there has been any past litigation or mediation in the last three years. 

As a buyer, it’s important to review the minutes of meetings of the unit owners and condo trustees. Conflict will often be evident – or gleaned – from the notes of the meetings. View at least 3 years’ worth of meeting minutes.

Look over the budget carefully. Have there been any expenditures for legal fees in the last three years?

If you find yourself as an owner in one of these situations, it may be best to bring matters to mediation or arbitration and get them resolved – sooner rather than later! © 2011 George Warshaw. 

The foregoing is not intended as legal advice. Consult an attorney to see how or if the foregoing applies to you.

Attorney George Warshaw represents buyers and sellers of homes, condos and investment properties and prepares wills and trusts for inheriting real estate. George welcomes new clients and questions at


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