Condominium and Common Interest Communities

Overview

The condominium and common interest community matters of our Real Estate + Development Group range from traditional to special purpose to  unique. Our long-standing practice includes creating traditional residential condominiums, based on current, best practice models of Connecticut’s Common Interest Ownership Act, and sophisticated multiuse, residential, and commercial projects with specifically tailored provisions to meet development, investment, ownership, or financing requirements and opportunities. Our solutions include common interest schemes that are site and building, or asset, specific or that may be project and development opportunistic. These vary from unit overlays in lieu of traditional land use subdivision, severance, or conversion of existing multiuse sites and structures for mixed commercial ownership and use to features such as aggregated air space units or blocks of units to allow separate financing or tax credit arrangements.

Our Services and Our Team

Our lawyers represent many types of clients, primarily developers, lenders, and investors who require experienced counsel in condominium and other forms of common interest communities, including planned developments and cooperatives. This familiarity enhances our work on nonroutine matters for associations or for owners, whether individually or with significant class or group claims. We offer strategies, practical solutions, and advice that includes the following:

  • creating 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
  • creating separate ownership blocks of units within a condominium, allowing separate financing opportunities within the project development for investor or traditional financing and for staggered time frames for completion
  • creating 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
  • applying due diligence and evaluating condominiums and planned communities through existing documentation, whether in development or long established, to ensure valuable development rights acquisition or appropriate lender financing protections upon foreclosure
  • serving as special local counsel for large-scale, national developers in creating or adapting their common interest community schemes to our state-specific jurisdictions of practice, whether for long-term large tract development using form-based zoning or for customary residential townhouse, flats, or single-family house style development
  • advising and bringing into compliance under current community interest law major residential estate communities, developed under prezoning restrictive covenant schemes

Whether a condominium of few or many units, a planned community, a homeowners association, a road and infrastructure maintenance arrangement, or a land use development scheme, we seek solutions and strategies based on our understanding of the use of common interest community schemes for enhancing and protecting good planning and economic investment.

Additionally, we routinely represent associations and developers in transactional and litigation matters. Our work often involves these areas:

  • governance following turnover of developer control
  • insurance claims
  • construction and management agreements
  • assertion of warranty or construction claims against declarant developers
  • unit owner claims
  • special assessment options for industrial, nonresidential condominiums facing significant renovation and construction expenses
  • protection of secured lender interests in foreclosed developer units during association foreclosure of common charges and special assessment liens

Our experience in dispute resolution and governance issues varies from the assessment of the claim or matter to negotiation, mediation, or arbitration and, when 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 an association for defective construction or project design.

Our extensive knowledge is a result of the myriad issues and matters we encounter in traditional, special purpose, and unique common interest ownership schemes that include the following:

  • governance
  • foreclosures
  • rehabilitation
  • association and unit owner insurance claims
  • litigation
  • advice from practical experience

The added specialized element of common interest community law and customary real property issues often requires additional considerations and advice. At a minimum, our goal is to make certain that the condominium aspect does not contain some unique “twist” or additional requirement to an otherwise usual real estate transaction.

    • Experience
      • Converted Goodwin Square in Hartford, Connecticut, into Goodwin Square Condominium, containing two separate condominium “units.” This allowed our client, the single-site, single-building owner, to retain a 31-story office tower as a unit and to sell off the 6-story hotel and historic façade as a boutique hotel unit, monetizing an asset acquired in foreclosure.

      • Created mixed-use condominium declaration for new development in an upscale Fairfield County town, on central downtown location site, containing seven luxury residential units, two street front shops, and a pocket park.

      • Provided local, state counsel for multisite acquisition of built-out condominium and planned unit development communities in Connecticut. Reviewed compliance of each with common interest ownership law and established documentation, confirmed mortgage security protections enabling financing, and prepared for our purchasing client estoppel statements of seller and associations.

      • Persuaded the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to overturn an Appeals Court decision, affirming 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)

      • Summit Place Condominium, Waltham. Successfully defended a 75-unit condominium against a challenge to the condominium’s validity by a neighboring condominium.

      • Cambridge Glass Factory Condominium, Cambridge. Represent the trustees of a newly completed 104-unit condominium in negotiations with the developer regarding construction defects during the building conversion into condominium units.

      • Parkside Condominium, Boston. Represent the board of trustees in litigation involving unit owners, in interpretation of the condominium's documents, and in municipal issues.

      • Union Wharf Condominium, Boston. Provided governance services to the board of a 90-unit condominium on the Boston waterfront. Representation included interpreting the condominium documents, handling the construction problems of a waterside community, advising on board member fiduciary duties, reviewing contracts with vendors, and responding to unit owners' claims and management of staff.

      • Millennium Place Ritz-Carlton, Boston. Represent the managers of a  new construction 132-unit, high-rise residential condominium at the Millennium Place Ritz-Carlton in Boston during transition from developer to unit owner control. Matters include litigating over construction of parking garage and other claims for developer construction, engineering, and accounting deficiencies and management agreements with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company; addressing residential and commercial units of primary condominium; and advising board.

      • Defended condominiums and unit owners against challenges to validity of phasing and zoning of condominiums.
      • Represented board of managers and property management company in a dispute with unit owners concerning the right to maintain and repair condominium common areas.

      • Represented board of managers as general counsel in matters involving management agreements, valet parking agreements, collection issues, and defective construction litigation.

      • Represented 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.

      • Represented condominium association in its successful application for a special use permit to enlarge the condominium by adding new buildings and units.

      • back to top
    • 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)

Our Team

Members