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  • PART II REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS
  • TITLE I TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY
  • CHAPTER 183A CONDOMINIUMS
  • Section 6 Profits and expenses; lien

Section 6. (a) (i) Except as provided in paragraph (ii), all common expenses shall be assessed against all units either in accordance with their respective percentages of undivided interest in the common areas and facilities or, if stated in the master deed or an amendment thereto duly recorded in the approximate relation that the area of the unit bears to the aggregate area of all the units, which may take into account unit location, amenities in the unit, and limited common areas and facilities benefiting the unit; provided, however, that such an amendment shall require the consent of all unit owners whose common expense assessment is materially affected. The organization of unit owners shall have a lien on a unit for any common expense assessment levied against that unit from the time the assessment becomes due. Common expense assessments must be made at least annually, based on a budget adopted at least annually in accordance with the master deed, trust, or by-laws.

(ii) If any expense is incurred by the organization of unit owners as a result of the unit owner’s failure to abide by the requirements of this chapter or the requirements of the master deed, trust, by-laws, restrictions, rules or regulations, or by the misconduct of any unit owner, or his family members, tenants, or invitees, the organization of unit owners may assess that expense exclusively against the unit owner and such assessment shall constitute a lien against that unit from the time the assessment is due, and such assessment shall be enforceable as a common expense assessment under this chapter. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (i), the organization of unit owners may assess the cost of maintaining, repairing or replacing a limited common area and facility, solely to the owner of the unit to which a limited common area and facility is appurtenant, allocated, or designated, and such assessment shall be enforceable as a common expense assessment under this chapter; in the alternative, the organization of unit owners may require the owner of the unit to which a limited common area and facility is appurtenant, allocated, or designated to maintain, repair, or replace such limited common area and facility without the intervention of the organization of unit owners. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (i), the organization of unit owners may assess to each unit owner the direct cost of any energy conservation device installed in a unit, not already separately metered for water and utilities, including but not limited to the installation of separate water meters, low-flow toilets and showerheads, faucet aerators, windows and storm windows; provided, however, that a unit owner required to install such energy conservation device hereunder may appeal to the board of trustees of the organization of unit owners or if there is no board of trustees, the entity performing its duties. Said board or entity of said organization, in its sole and reasonable discretion, may grant to such unit owner a waiver of such required installation upon such terms and conditions as the organization of unit owners shall deem fit. The cost thereof shall be collected in the same manner as common expense assessments under this chapter. The organization of unit owners may assess to each unit owner his proportionate share of the costs for water and other utilities, as measured by the meter attached to the unit; provided however, that the board of trustees of the organization of unit owners receives the approval of the majority of unit owners in attendance at a meeting, for which notice was duly given and which was held for the purposes of issuing such an assessment. A unit owner assessed costs hereunder may appeal the assessment to said board or entity of said organization of unit owners. Such appeal shall be in writing and shall set forth a clear and concise statement of reasons for an exemption from the assessment for the unit owners. Said board or entity of said organization, in its sole and reasonable discretion, may grant to said unit owner a waiver of the assessment provided herein upon such terms and conditions as the organization of unit owners shall deem fit. In the event of a conflict between this subsection and the master deed, trust, or bylaws, and any amendment thereto, of any condominium submitted to the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of this subsection shall control. Notwithstanding the aforesaid, nothing contained herein shall be construed to be in conflict with the provisions of the state sanitary code. The organization of unit owners may also assess any fees, attorneys’ fees, charges, late charges, fines, costs of collection and enforcement, court costs, and interest charged pursuant to this chapter against the unit owner and such assessment shall constitute a lien against the unit from the time the assessment is due, and shall be enforceable as common expense assessments under this chapter.

(iii) Common profits shall be distributed among unit owners in the same manner as common expenses are charged to the unit owners.

(b) The unit owner shall be personally liable for all sums assessed for his share of the common expenses including late charges, fines, penalties, and interest assessed by the organization of unit owners and all costs of collection including attorneys’ fees, costs, and charges.

(c) When any portion of the unit owner’s share of the common expenses has been delinquent for at least sixty days subsequent to April 1, 1993, the organization of unit owners shall send a notice stating the amount of the delinquency to the unit owner by certified and first class mail. The organization of unit owners shall also send a notice stating the amount of the delinquency to the first mortgagee by certified and first class mail, provided, that the first mortgagee has informed the organization of unit owners of its name and mailing address. Furthermore, thirty days prior to the filing of an action by the organization of unit owners to enforce its lien for delinquent common expenses, the organization of unit owners shall send a notice stating its intention to file said action to the first mortgagee by certified and first class mail, provided that the first mortgagee has informed the organization of unit owners of its name and mailing address. In the event of the appointment of a receiver for the condominium pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and eleven, the lien for charges imposed for the payment of expenses incurred by the receiver shall have priority over all other liens and mortgages, except municipal liens.

A lien under this section shall be enforced in the manner provided in sections five and five A of chapter two hundred and fifty-four. Such lien is prior to all other liens and encumbrances on a unit except (i) liens and encumbrances recorded before the recordation of the master deed, (ii) a first mortgage on the unit recorded before the date on which the assessment sought to be enforced became delinquent, and (iii) liens for real estate taxes and other municipal assessments or charges against the unit. This lien is also prior to the mortgages described in clause (ii) above to the extent of the common expense assessments based on the budget adopted pursuant to subsection (a) above which would have become due in the absence of acceleration during the six months immediately preceding institution of an action to enforce the lien and to the extent of any costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in the action to enforce the lien, provided however, that the amount of attorneys’ fees incurred prior to January 1, 1993 which shall be prior to the mortgage described in clause (ii) above shall be limited to no more than two thousand and five hundred dollars, and provided further, that payment of the assessments with respect to such six month period, and to the extent of any costs or reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in said action, shall serve to discharge such lien to the extent that such lien is prior to such mortgages described in clause (ii) above. The priority amount shall not include any amounts attributable to special assessments, late charges, fines, penalties, and interest assessed by the organization of unit owners. The failure of the organization of unit owners to send the first mortgagee either the notice of sixty day delinquency of common expenses, as described above, or the thirty day notice of intent to file an action to enforce the lien for delinquent common expenses, as described above, shall not affect the priority lien of the organization of unit owners for up to six months’ common expenses, but the priority amount shall not include any costs or attorneys’ fees incurred in the action to enforce the lien. This subsection does not affect the priority of mechanics’ or materialmen’s liens, or the priority of liens or other assessments made by the organization of unit owners. Recording of the master deed constitutes record notice and perfection of this lien; no further recordation of any claim of lien for assessment under this section is required.

Neither this section nor anything contained in sections five or five A of chapter two hundred and fifty-four shall be deemed to prohibit actions to recover sums for which this subsection creates a lien or to prohibit an organization of unit owners from taking a deed in lieu of enforcement of the lien created by this section.

The organization of unit owners shall take no further action to enforce its priority liens against a particular unit for common expenses if the first mortgagee agrees in writing that a priority lien exists without the requirement of instituting an action, as to such enforcement and pays, within 60 days of said writing, the following prescribed amounts: (1) so much of any delinquent assessments on that unit for regularly recurring budgeted common expenses over a period for six months immediately preceding the notice of delinquency that would constitute a priority amount if an action had been commenced on the date the organization gives its delinquency notice to the mortgagee; (2) costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the organization at the time of said writing by the first mortgagee to collect outstanding common expenses, including, but not limited to, costs and fees to ascertain the first mortgagee’s identity, examine title, and prepare and send to the unit owner and mortgagee the notices referred to in this paragraph; and to pay within 30 days of their due date; (3) all future common expenses, and special assessments other than special assessments for improvements made pursuant to section 18, assessed against that unit from the date of said notice until such time as the mortgagee’s mortgage is foreclosed or otherwise no longer encumbers the unit. The amount which the first mortgagee, if it so elects, would be required to pay to cause the organization not to proceed to enforce its priority liens shall not include any amounts attributable to late charges, fines, penalties, and interest assessed by the organization of unit owners and shall only include amounts attributable to special assessments due and payable after the giving of the delinquency notice pursuant to this paragraph, and then only to the extent the special assessment is not made with respect to any improvement authorized under section 18. If the amounts described in clauses (1) and (2) are not received within said 60 day period, or if the amount of any future assessments under clause (3) is not received within 30 days of their due date, the organization may proceed to take further action to enforce its liens without voiding the first mortgagee’s obligation to pay as provided in this subsection. The agreement by the first mortgagee to make payments in the amounts and for the duration specified in this paragraph shall be binding upon its successors and assigns and the successful bidder at any foreclosure but no such successor, assign, bidder or purchaser shall have any liability by virtue of the first mortgagee’s undertaking pursuant to this paragraph for any amount first arising, assessed or becoming due after the mortgage is foreclosed or otherwise no longer encumbers the unit. The first mortgagee shall not be liable for the amounts described in clauses (1), (2) and (3) which arise after the first mortgagee ceases to have an interest in the unit. Such amounts shall then become the obligation of the successors and assigns of the first mortgagee.

Within ten days after receipt of the written request of the first mortgagee, the organization of unit owners shall provide a written statement in reasonable detail of the actual dollar amounts the first mortgagee would be required to pay, if it so elected, to cause the organization of unit owners not to take further action to enforce its priority liens against the unit as provided in this section. The first mortgagee shall have 14 days following the mailing of said written statement to enter into the written agreement provided for in the previous paragraph. Unless the organization of unit owners has notice of a first mortgagee’s foreclosure sale actually scheduled within 30 days, the organization of unit owners shall take no further action to enforce its priority liens against a particular unit for common expenses for a period of 24 days from the receipt of the written request by the first mortgagee or 14 days following mailing of the written statement by the organization of unit owners, whichever is less. The failure of the organization of unit owners to send the written statement to the first mortgagee, as described above, shall not affect the priority lien of the organization of unit owners for up to six months’ common expenses, but the priority amount shall not include any costs or attorneys’ fees incurred to collect or enforce the liens.

If a unit owner fails to pay his share of the common expenses to the organization of unit owners for at least twenty-five days from the date it was due, the organization of unit owners may, as a separate and additional remedy, subject to the existing rights of a holder of a first mortgage of record, collect from any tenant renting the unit any rent then or thereafter due to the owner of such unit. Such organization shall apply such rent collected against the amount owed to it by the unit owner. Prior to taking any action hereunder, the organization of unit owners shall give to the delinquent unit owner written notice of its intent to collect the rent owed. Such notice shall be sent by any form of mail or other delivery requiring or providing a signed receipt, shall set forth the exact amount the organization of unit owners claims is due and owing by the unit owner and shall indicate the intent of the organization to collect such amount from rent, along with any other amounts which become due within the current fiscal year and which remain unpaid for twenty-five days after they become due. Further, a copy of such notice shall also be provided to any first mortgagee of record on such unit who has previously requested in writing that the organization of unit owners notify it of any delinquency in the payment amounts due to the organization by the owner of such unit.

The unit owner shall have ten days after receipt of such notice to file a written response with the organization of unit owners. Such response shall be signed under the pains and penalties of perjury; shall, in the case of monthly installments of common expenses, include proof, in the form of a cancelled check, receipt or other document, that the installment was paid or shall, in the case of any other charge, state in short and plain terms all grounds upon which said unit owner maintains that the amount claimed to be owed to the organization was incorrectly calculated or charged and shall state exactly what amount, if any, the unit owner admits he owes to the organization of unit owners.

If the unit owner fails to timely file a response in compliance with the foregoing requirements or admits in such response that he owes any amount to the organization of unit owners, the organization shall be entitled to immediately notify and direct each tenant renting such unit from such owner to thereafter pay all or a portion of the rent otherwise due by such unit owner to the organization, such rent or portion thereof to be limited to the lesser of: (i) the amount the organization claimed is due on its notice to the unit owner, if the unit owner failed to timely file a response in compliance with the requirements set forth above; or (ii) the amount such unit owner admitted was due in his timely filed response. The organization shall have a continuing right to collect any rent otherwise payable by the tenant to such unit owner, until such amount, plus any charges thereafter becoming due, are satisfied in full; provided, however, that nothing herein shall preclude the unit owner from seeking equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction or seeking a judicial determination of the amount owed; and, provided further, that nothing herein shall prevent the organization of unit owners from bringing an action under section five of chapter two hundred and fifty-four or to otherwise establish the amount owed to it by the unit owner or otherwise to seek and obtain an order requiring the tenant in such unit or tenants in other units owned by the unit owner in the condominium to pay to the organization rent otherwise due to the unit owner. If in any action brought to establish the amount owed by a unit owner to the organization, it is established that such unit owner knowingly misrepresented any material fact on any response filed pursuant to the provisions of this section, the organization shall be entitled to recover from such unit owner three times the amount determined to be owed by said unit owner at the time of his response. Further, the organization of unit owners shall be entitled to collect any charges thereafter becoming due and all of the organization’s costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred in such action.

In no event shall a unit owner take any retaliatory action against any tenant who pays rent, or any portion thereof, to the organization of unit owners as provided in this section. The provisions of section eighteen of chapter one hundred and eighty-six and section two A of chapter two hundred and thirty-nine shall apply to any reprisal taken by a unit owner against a tenant who made or expressed an intention to make a payment to the organization pursuant to this section. Any waiver of the provisions of this section in any lease or rental agreement shall be void and unenforceable as against public policy.

Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent an organization of unit owners from adopting or amending its master deed, trust, by-laws or rules and regulations to provide additional protections, remedies, or rights for said organization.

To the extent that any first mortgagee of record is entitled to an assignment of rents and to the extent that it exercises its rights by written notice recorded at the registry of deeds or the registry district of the land court in which the property lies and by written notice sent by certified or registered mail to the presiding officer of the governing board of the condominium, then commencing with the next rental period, but not for any prior period, the first mortgagee may collect such rents. If the first mortgagee commences collection of such rents, it shall be obligated to pay all prospective expenses lawfully assessed by the organization of unit owners, including late fees, interest, late charges, collection costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, assessments and special assessments and shall be subject to all other provisions of this chapter, the master deed, trust, by-laws and rules and regulations. Further, the first mortgagee shall be obligated to pay any such expenses or other charges which were, prior to the commencement of the collection of rents by the first mortgagee, due and payable to the organization, to the extent that the rent collected monthly by the first mortgagee exceeds the installment of principal and interest which was due monthly to the first mortgagee prior to default, the monthly installments of real estate taxes and mortgage insurance, the monthly share of common expenses, and the customary and ordinary unit repair, operation and maintenance costs, until such time as all arrearages due to the organization by the prior unit owner are paid in full. The organization shall have priority to receive funds collected from the tenant of a delinquent unit owner as to any junior lien holder.

Except as provided in section twenty-one, in the event of a conflict between this subsection and the master deed, trust, or by-laws, and any amendment thereto, the provisions of this subsection shall govern, notwithstanding the date on which the condominium was submitted to the provisions of this chapter.

(d) A statement from the organization of unit owners setting forth the amount of unpaid common expenses and any other sums which have been assessed against a unit owner, including a statement of the amount which the organization of unit owners claims is entitled to priority with respect to any mortgage under subsection (c), shall operate to discharge the unit from any lien for other sums then unpaid when recorded in the appropriate registry of deeds; provided, however, that any statement or document issuing from an unincorporated organization of unit owners may be recorded in a registry of deeds and if so recorded shall indicate and specify therein the book and page, or document number if registered land, within such registry of the instrument from which the signatory or signatories of the statement obtained authority to sign on behalf of the unincorporated organization. The statement shall be furnished within ten business days after receipt of a written request, upon payment of a reasonable fee, and shall be binding on the organization of unit owners, the governing body of the organization of unit owners, and every unit owner; provided, however, that no fee shall be required of any mortgagee, in connection with a foreclosure of a mortgage, who has given the organization notice of its intention to foreclose a mortgage upon the unit.