General Area in Boston>Question Details

Mey, Other/Just Looking in Boston, MA

Is it legal for a condo association and the associated management company to lock common areas?

Asked by Mey, Boston, MA Fri Dec 12, 2008

I live in a condominium in which there have been repeated problems with dog owners allowing their pets to defecate in the common gardens at the front of the building. The response of the condo management company has been to lock the garden gates so that they are inaccessible to all owners (and renters). I am an owner in the building. While I understand the mess is nuisance, I believe the locking of common areas is not in line with the concept of shared ownership. Even if the lock combination is distributed to owners, I wonder about the legality of not providing it to renter who are, in principle, renting a portion of the common spaces, as well. I would appreciate any advice on this issue, as well as any references to relevant legal documents.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Mey,

Usually your common areas are accessible due to the fact you pay for that right in your condo fees. I would contact your attorney you closed on your condo with in regards to this problem. He can easily review the condo docs to see what your rights are to accessing the garden. Your agent may also have the condo docs, and if he does you could review them yourself.

Hope that helps

Happy Holidays

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 16, 2008
Hello Mey,
Hopefully you received a full copy of condominum documents when you purchased your unit, inclusive of Master Deed, Trust, and By Laws. I would then suggest that you have them reviewed by a real estate attorney. In most condominiums common areas such as pools, exercise rooms, garden areas are accessed by unit owners with a master key. Your attorney can assist you in finding whether or not the management company can change the lock to common areas without notification to the owners.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 13, 2008
This is a question for a Real Estate Lawyer. My suggestion is to get a copy of the Master Deed, Declaration of Trust and Rules and Regulations to have a lawyer review them. You should be able to get copies online at your local register of deeds.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 13, 2008
My main concern is does it violate city code for emergency route escape if fire were to happen. WOW I would check that out, undetermined if HOA has info. authored in their rules and reg'.s OR contact city fire department there could be liability issues.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 12, 2008
Interesting question....does your HOA lock the pool? if they do, the owners must likely have keys. I would take a look at that precedent for your HOA and position from there. Good luck!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 12, 2008
The Hagley G…, Real Estate Pro in Pleasanton, CA
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