If an absentee condo owner allows a relative to occupy his unit rent-free, is that occupant considered a “tenant”?

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If an absentee condo owner allows a relative to occupy his unit rent-free, is that occupant considered a “tenant”?

We live in a 3 unit condo building. The 1st floor unit isn’t owner occupied, but he is apparently letting his sister stay there (assumably rent-free). What is her status? Tenant? Squatter? Our condo association requires a minimum 6 month lease for all tenants.

Asked on October 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would say that the answer is: that depends.  Is the apartment NEVER owner occupied?  Was it purchased as an investment rather than as a home?  If it were someone other than his sister you may have more of a shot at "classifying" her occupancy but anyone can have a family member stay and say house sit or give a family member - and even a friend - shelter during hard times or whatever.  If he is paying his maintenance and fees and is otherwise up to date on everything then you have no beef. And if he says that he is not charging her rent and you can not prove otherwise then I think that you are out of luck.  The only thing I can tell you is to consult with your condo attorney who has I assume your condo documents.   


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