Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beware small condo associations

Blum inadvertently found herself in what real estate experts consider the black hole of condo associations: the dreaded two-party. Condo life can be hard enough when both owners have equal stakes in the association, with no third to act as tiebreaker during disputes. It can be even worse when there is an imbalance in two-party ownership stakes, as in Blum’s case, a situation that can leave the minority owner feeling steamrolled by the more powerful member. ...

[The] chance of getting mired in an all-out battle is so high in a condo building with only a few units that some real estate attorneys counsel clients to avoid buying into them altogether. ...

The fundamental problem is that a small condo association by definition lacks one crucial component of harmonious living: safety in numbers. “In any organization, you get people with extreme views on the edges of the bell curve,” says Patricia Nelson, a real estate attorney in Lexington. “There are people who think that the minute the roof leaks, you have to replace the whole roof. Others would never want to replace the roof; all they ever want to do is patch. In a large association, the people on the edges are diluted by being with everyone else. It’s more likely that you’ll end up with something in the middle.” But in a small association, there are simply not enough members to soften the impact of the pain-in-the-neck outliers.
--Kris Frieswick, Boston Globe, on the harmony of the law of large numbers meeting the median voter theorem

1 comment:

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