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What Should You Do When A Condominium Owner Fails To Pay Fees

As anyone that has lived in a small condominium building knows, your relationship with fellow unit owners can have a significant impact on your daily life.  Accordingly, condo associations or trusts are placed in a difficult situation when one unit owner stops paying his or her regularly assessed association fees.  Particularly for buildings with a limited number of units, unpaid condo fees can quickly affect the condominium association’s finances, and its ability to properly maintain the common areas of the property.  Fortunately, Massachusetts law offers protection to condo associations when a unit owner fails to make regular payments.

Under Massachusetts General Laws, c. 183A §6, condo associations are granted a lien against the unit when a unit owner fails to pay his duly assessed condominium fees.  This lien is a legal right in the property, similar to the lien that accompanies a mortgage transaction when a mortgagor is lending money for the purchase of real estate. Importantly, the lien created under § 6 is a “priority lien,” meaning that the condo association’s interest in the delinquent-paying unit takes priority over some other liens, such as previously recorded mortgages on the unit.  Massachusetts law further provides that the condo association’s lien against the delinquent unit includes any costs incurred in collecting the fees, such as attorneys' fees.

In a practical sense, this means that, if a unit owner has a mortgage on the unit, which is often the case, and the lender is notified that the unit owner is delinquent in paying his or her condo fees, the lender will usually step in and pay the delinquent condo fees, along with any legal fees or other costs incurred by the condo association in pursuing collection of the delinquent fees in order to remove the condo lien and regain it's priority.  Unfortunately, the condo association’s lien is only given priority with respect to the first 6 months of delinquent fees, so it is beneficial for the condo association to take swift action when a neighbor falls behind on payments. 

Even if the unit owner does not have a mortgage on his unit, the condo association is not without remedies.  The owner of a unit without a mortgage presumably has a substantial amount of equity in the property.  The condo association’s lien on the property can be used to seize and auction the property to pay off the delinquent fees and costs of collection, if the unit owner fails to pay the delinquency.  More often than not, a unit owner will pay what is owed rather than see his unit seized and sold at a sheriff’s auction.   

In summary, there are several steps that a condo association can take when faced with a non-paying unit owner.  Because of the protections afforded by Massachusetts law, the condo association can often compel payment of the delinquent fees, along with any costs incurred by the association in pursuing the delinquency.  For more information, or to speak with an attorney regarding assistance in pursuing a delinquent unit owner, please contact Attorney Michael Brangwynne at or on the phone at (857) 250-0446.


Andrew Upton Appears ON WGBH TV To Discuss Campaign Finance Lawsuit

DSU Administrative Lawyer Andrew Upton appeared on the WGBH TV News Show “Greater Boston” to discuss a recent lawsuit against the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.  Mr. Upton practices in all areas of administrative law including campaign finance law and local permitting and licensing.  Click on the link below to watch Mr. Upton's appearance.


DiNicola Named 2014 BTI Client Service All-Star

DiNicola, Seligson & Upton, LLP is proud to announce that Jack DiNicola has been named a BTI Client Service All-Star for 2014 by The BTI Consulting Group, Wellesley, Massachusetts.  The 2014 BTI Client Service All-Stars consist of 330 attorneys nationwide from 187 law firms that were selected for outstanding client service through unprompted feedback from general counsel at the world's largest companies.  Mr. DiNicola, whose practice is focused on construction law, was nominated as a 2014 BTI Client Service All-Star by a national construction and real estate company. 

For more information about BTI Consulting and the Client Service All-Stars, please go to and


DSU Hires New Associate Michael Brangwynne

DSU is pleased to announce that Michael Brangwynne, Esquire has joined the firm as an associate.  Mr. Brangwynne graduated in the top 10% of his class at Suffolk University Law School in 2011 and was a member of Suffolk's National Trial Team.  Mr. Brangwynne will concentrate his practice in commercial litigation, construction litigation, zoning disputes, and administrative law.


DSU Congratulates Its Clients On Making The BBJ's List Of The Top 25 Largest General Contractors In Massachusetts

The Boston Business Journal recently published its annual Book of Lists, including a list of the 25 largest general contractors in Massachusetts.  DSU represents 5 of the top 17 largest general contractors on the list.  We congratulate Suffolk Construction Co., Inc., Gilbane Building Company, Lee Kennedy Co., Inc., Commodore Builders, and Lend Lease on this accomplishment.