Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Massachusetts

I live in a 55 unit Condominium in Massachusetts. We have posted some new rules during the time of the coronavirus. 1) One person/one family may use the elevator at a time. 2) Masks are to be worn in the common area. Common areas include corridors, stairs, elevators, laundry room. Some people are not following the rule about the masks. We have video cameras on some of the floors. Someone complained to management about people who are not adhering to the second rule, who stroll through the building with no mask, barefoot, in bathrobes. The complainant requested that this be fined. Management said we can't fine for this. Is that true? If we post a notice to say that violators will be fined, can we fine? This is a matter of shared safety. In our city we have a curfew. If you violate the curfew you will be fined $1000. It seems strange that we can't fine people for violating rules necessary to ensure our collective safety.

Asked on 4/27/20, 10:18 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

No one can give you a definitive answer without reading your condominium documents, but it is not likely your board can simply decide to issue a rule that results in a fine without an approval of the owners. This means you would have to have a meeting and the legal issue is can you have a meeting using online remote services, e.g. google conference or something like that. What you can look at is the enforcement provisions with respect to the health and safety of the association and the provisions that allow you to enforce things for the health and safety.

Even if you could fine them for a violation, I would start with a formal warning. Your management company should have an attorney who they seek advice from and may be familiar with your documents, they might have a good suggestion.

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Answered on 4/27/20, 12:46 pm

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