Converting a 4 unit apartment building into condos.

Additional Information:

I currently live in a 4-unit apartment building in Dedham.  My grandmother owns the building and is considering converting the units to condos. What are the steps she would need to take? Can she convert one at a time or do you have to convert the property in its entirety?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

First, let me say that your grandmother seems like a shrewd business woman. Often times the conversion of a multi-family apartment building into a condominium can result in a lot more profit for the property owner. Before converting the units into condominiums, your grandmother should make sure that she assesses the current market and looks at recent comparable sales to confirm that the condominium conversion makes economic sense.

You will also need a team of several professionals to assist you in the project which will include an attorney, an architect, a civil engineer or land surveyor and possibly a contractor.

Often times, renovations will be needed to convert the apartments into a condominium. For example, the individual condominium units may need to have separate utilities (i.e. heating systems, electrical, water, etc.) or changes may be needed to comply with building codes or fire regulations.  You will need a contractor to assist your grandmother with any renovations need.

In addition, you will need either an architect or civil engineer to prepare “as built” floor plans which will show the layout, location, and number of units and dimensions of the units and stating the name of the building. You will also need a “site plan” from an engineer.

Your attorney will make sure that the condominium conversion does not violate Dedham’s zoning laws and does not require a special permit. Previously one had to make sure that they complied with any local condominium removal ordinances that Dedham had enacted, but these ordinances were ended on November 8, 1994 when the voters of Massachusetts approved Question 9, an initiative referendum ending rent control and local restrictions on condominium conversions.  Your attorney will also prepare the condominium documents. This would include the Master Deed which will specify the boundaries of each unit and layout and what is considered common area. The Master Deed will also set forth certain areas such as parking, storage areas, porches, etc. and what the rights and obligations of the unit owners are in these areas. A Declaration of Trust will also be created which establishes the condominium association which will govern the condominium and will also likely contain rules and regulations which will outline various rules which all unit owners must comply.

You would convert all four units at the same time, but your grandmother could retain ownership of the units and sell them off one at a time or continue to rent the units she retained.

The Dedham Condo Conversion Attorneys  at Goldman & Pease provide legal representation for condo conversions and related matters in Dedham, Massachusetts and the surrounding communities including Needham, Newton, Brookline, Dedham, Westwood, Dover,  Wellesley, Weston  and the entire Boston Metrowest region.