Condominium living can come with its own set of unique legal challenges, including construction defects, enforcement of rules and regulations, compliance issues, and disputes over common areas. Condominium Associations are tasked with the complex responsibility of managing a community of condominium owners. They oversee the common areas, maintain the property, enforce, and update the rules, and handle financial management. However, these tasks can often lead to disputes and legal complications. Bilodeau Capalbo is highly experienced in dealing with such matters and provides comprehensive representation to condominium developers, condominium owners, and Condominium Association board members in Rhode Island.
What is a Condominium Association?
The Rhode Island Condominium Act, enacted in 1982, is the law that created condominium associations in the state. The Act sets out the process for creating a condominium, the powers and duties of a unit owners' association, and the rights and obligations of condominium owners.
The Rhode Island state general assembly enacted the Rhode Island Condominium Act (the "Act") as explicitly established in Rhode Island General Laws (RIGL) Section 34-36.1-1.01, which states that the Act "shall be known and may be cited as the 'Rhode Island Condominium Act.'" The Act sets out the process for creating a condominium in Rhode Island, as detailed in RIGL Section 34-36.1-2.01.
The Act also establishes the powers and duties of a unit owners' association. RIGL Section 34-36.1-3.02 lays out the various powers that the association may exercise, including the ability to adopt and amend bylaws and rules and regulations, collect assessments for common expenses, and hire and discharge managing agents and other employees. The Act also sets out the rights and obligations of condominium owners. For example, RIGL Section 34-36.1-3.21 allows the association to sell the unit of a defaulting owner at public auction in order to recover unpaid assessments.
In Rhode Island, what type of condominium documents are there?
Declaration of Condominium: This is the principal document of a condominium. It establishes the condominium and contains the legal description of the property, the units, and the common elements. It also outlines the percentage of ownership interest each unit owner has in the common elements.
Bylaws: The bylaws set forth the rules for governance and operation of the Condominium Association. This includes procedures for electing the board of directors, conducting meetings, levying and collecting assessments, and maintaining and repairing the property.
Rules and Regulations: These are the day-to-day rules for living in the condominium. They can cover a wide range of issues, including pet restrictions, noise control, and use of common areas.
Plats and Plans: These documents provide a detailed physical description of the condominium property, including the boundaries of the units and common elements.
Articles of Incorporation: If the condominium association is incorporated, which is typically the case, the articles of incorporation are filed with the state. They establish the association as a legal entity and outline its basic structure and purpose.
Resale Certificate:When a condominium unit is sold, the seller typically provides the buyer with a resale certificate. This document includes important information about the unit and the condominium association, including the current amount of the monthly assessment, any outstanding fines or assessments against the unit, and any major repairs or improvements planned by the association.
Meeting Minutes: The minutes of the association's meetings provide a record of the decisions made by the board of directors.
All these documents are important for both unit owners and the Condominium Association, as they outline the rights and responsibilities of each party. Contact Bilodeau Capalbo for assistance in drafting or for assistance when reviewing these documents, especially if you're a developer or you’re considering buying a condominium or if you're involved in the management of a Condominium Association.
Our legal team at Bilodeau Capalbo is experienced in representing Developers, Condominium Associations, Condominium Owners, and Condominium Association Board Members in a variety of issues:
Enforcement and Compliance: Condominium Associations have a duty to enforce the rules and regulations set out in their governing documents. Bilodeau Capalbo can assist in cases where these rules are not being enforced or adhered to, or where there are disputes over the interpretation or application of these rules. Our attorneys can assist in enforcing these rules and managing any legal issues that arise from non-compliance.
Annual Reporting and Disclosures: Condominium Associations are required to provide annual reports and other disclosures to their members. We can help ensure these obligations are met accurately and on time, avoiding potential disputes or legal issues.
Construction Defects: We can represent you in legal actions related to construction defects in condominium units or common areas. This could include issues with the quality of construction, structural integrity, or failure to comply with building codes or specifications.
Common Areas: Disputes can often arise over the use, maintenance, or management of common areas in a condominium complex. We can help resolve these issues, ensuring that the rights and interests of all parties are protected.
Legal Disputes: Disputes can arise from many sources, such as disagreements over common areas, construction defects, or financial issues. Our attorneys are skilled in negotiation, mediation, and litigation, and can represent your association's interests effectively in any dispute.
Management Issues: We can provide legal guidance on the day-to-day management of the condominium association, including advising on the interpretation of the bylaws and the rights and responsibilities of the association and its members.
Condominium Purchase: If you are considering buying a condominium, we can provide legal advice and guidance throughout the process. This can include reviewing purchase agreements, explaining your rights and responsibilities as a condominium owner, and ensuring you are fully informed about any potential issues or disputes within the Condominium Association.
Condominium Document Drafting: If you’re a developer Bilodeau Capalbo can prepare all the requisite Condominium Documents – Declarations, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations,
Condominium Association Fee Collection: Bilodeau Capalbo represents several property management companies and condominium associations in the collection of past due condominium association fees. If after amicable attempts to collect fail, Bilodeau Capalbo will advise the condominium association on the requirements of foreclosing on its lien for the payment of the past due condominium association fees.
With a deep understanding of condominium law and a commitment to our clients' interests, Bilodeau Capalbo is prepared to represent Condominium Associations, Condominium Owners, and Condominium Association Board Members throughout Rhode Island. If you are facing legal challenges, need guidance on compliance issues, construction defects, board member improprieties, breach of contract, or are dealing with disputes, don't hesitate to call our team at Bilodeau Capalbo 401-300-4055. We're ready to provide the legal support you need.
Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC’s Rhode Island Condominium Law Attorneys represent clients in Woonsocket, Burrillville, Chepachet, Smithfield, Scituate, Coventry, West Greenwich, Exeter, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Warwick, Cranston, Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, East Providence, Warren, Bristol, Barrington, Little Compton, Tiverton, Middletown, Portsmouth, Newport, South Kingstown, Charlestown, Hopkinton, Ashaway, Richmond, Narragansett, New Shoreham, West Warwick, Cumberland, Foster, Glocester, Johnston, Lincoln, North Providence and Westerly