Condominium and Common Interest Communities

Robinson+Cole represents many types of clients, developers, lenders, and investors who require counsel with experience in condominium and other forms of "common interest communities," including planned developments and cooperatives. Our work ranges from creating traditional residential condominiums based on the Common Interest Ownership Act (CIOA) to more sophisticated multiuse, residential, and commercial projects. It has included unique features such as open space "units" or "units" created to resolve financing or tax credit requirements.  We offer practical solutions and advice, including the following:

  • Due diligence and evaluation of condominiums and planned communities through existing documentation, whether "in development" or long established
  • Creation of condominium or other schemes to comply with development plans or land use approvals that avoid the traditional "subdivision" model or extended land use approvals required for subdivisions
  • Within a condominium, creation of separate ownership "blocks" of units, allowing separate financing opportunities within the project development for investor or traditional financing and for staggered time frames for completion
  • Creation of separate ownership "blocks" of units or apartments and commercial space within an urban building, allowing separate qualification and application of affordable housing and historic tax credits and facilitating redevelopment
We also represent associations and developers in transactional and litigation matters, including representing associations in governance following turnover of developer control, insurance claims, construction and management agreements, assertion of warranty or construction claims against declarant developers, and unit owner claims. Our experience in such dispute resolution and governance matters encompasses the full range from assessment of the claim or matter to negotiation, mediation, or arbitration and, where necessary, to judicial intervention. We have, for example, undertaken the necessary litigation to protect a developer or investor from excessive association construction or warranty claims or to redress and association for defective construction or project design.

    • Experience
      • Defended condominiums and unit owners against challenges to validity of phasing and zoning of condominiums.
      • Persuaded the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to overturn an earlier Massachusetts Appeals Court decision and affirm a condominium developer's retention of the right to remove land from a condominium. Queler, et al. v. Skowron, et al., 439 Mass. 304 (2002)
      • Represented board of managers as general counsel in matters including management agreements, valet parking agreements, collection matters, and defective construction litigation.
      • Summit Place Condominium, Waltham. In this case, a 75-unit condominium was successfully defended against a challenge to its validity by a neighboring condominium.
      • Cambridge Glass Factory Condominium, Cambridge. Represents the trustees of this new 104-unit condominium in negotiations with the developer regarding construction defects during the conversion of this building into condominium units.
      • Parkside Condominium, Boston. Represents the board of trustees in litigation involving unit owners, in interpretation of the condominium's documents, and in municipal issues.
      • Union Wharf Condominium, Boston. Provides legal services to the board of this 90-unit condominium on the Boston waterfront. The advice sought includes interpreting the condominium documents, handling the construction problems of a waterside community, advising on board members' fiduciary duties, reviewing contracts with vendors, and responding to unit owners' claims, management of staff, and all the legal issues that arise in the condominium.
      • Millennium Place Ritz-Carlton, Boston. Represents the managers of this new 132-unit, north high-rise residential condominium at the Millennium Place Ritz-Carlton in Boston in all matters regarding its transition from developer control to unit owner control. The representation includes litigating on the construction of the parking garage and other claims against the developer for construction, engineering, and accounting deficiencies; negotiating management agreements with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company; interacting with the residential and commercial units of the primary condominium; and advising the board on the myriad issues a luxury downtown condominium faces on a daily basis.
      • Represented board of managers and property management company in dispute with unit owners concerning right to maintain and repair condominium common areas.
      • Represent condominium association in claims brought against developer, design, and construction professionals and developer-appointed managers for design and construction defects and breach of fiduciary duties.
      • Successfully represented developer in redevelopment of run-down lumber yard into new condominium development in shoreline community.
      • Our condominium practice concentrates on the high-end/luxury condo market in downtown Boston and its close environs. These clients have unique legal requirements, as the economics of urban development requires sophisticated two-tier condominium regimes to be located in mixed-use developments, and the commercial and residential uses and primary and secondary condominiums have clear competing interests. Representative of such clients is Millennium Place North High-Rise Condominium, located in the new multitower high-rise complex overlooking Boston Common. The firm has been counsel to the managers of this condominium throughout the transition process to unit-owner control, including extensive negotiations with the developer (which has resulted in complex litigation over accounting, construction, and cost-allocation issues), with service providers, with neighboring condominiums, and with the municipality. Other downtown condominiums that we represent in either a general counsel or a special litigation counsel capacity include Burroughs Wharf Condominium, Union Wharf Condominium, and Folio Boston Condominium.
      • Represented condominium association in its successful application for a special use permit to expand its development by adding new buildings and units.
      • Represented title insurer in coverage dispute concerning whether owner of a Rhode Island condominium suffered a loss arising out of the extension of its development rights.
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    • News
      • February 25, 2016

        Clive Martin Quoted in Banker & Tradesman

        • » more info
      • February 25, 2015

        Clive Martin's Views on Condo Law Featured in Banker & Tradesman

        • » more info
    • Publications + Presentations
    • "SJC Confirms Developers' Right to Retain Interest in Condo Land," published in Banker & Tradesman, coauthored by Lawrence P. Heffernan and Clive D. Martin (4/28/2003)

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