Find it Fast and Free Online
Common Interest Magazine
As essential as the internet has become as a research tool, the overwhelming number of websites which exist online can make it difficult to tell which information is the most on-point and reliable. For example, a search on Google for the phrase “Connecticut condominium law” pulls up about 13,500 results. Fortunately, there are a manageable number of free websites which make it much easier for people researching Connecticut condominium issues to locate many of the most frequently-sought kinds of information.
State law is a typical starting point. The full text of the Common Interest Ownership Act, which applies at least in part to every condominium, planned community, and cooperative in Connecticut, can be found atwww.cga.ct.gov/2013/pub/chap_828.htm. The statute is long, so you might hit “control-F” to search for a particular word or phrase. The original model legislation upon which CIOA was based can be found atwww.uniformlaws.org/shared/docs/commoninterestownership/ucioa94.pdf along with commentary which can help illuminate the meaning of Connecticut’s version. The Condominium Act, which applies to condominiums created between 1977 and 1983 except as superseded by CIOA, can be found at www.cga.ct.gov/2013/pub/chap_825.htm. The Unit Ownership Act, which despite its formal repeal continues to apply to condominiums created between 1964 and 1976, can be found atwww.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/unitownershipact.pdf. The statutes and regulations which govern property managers are available at www.cga.ct.gov/2013/pub/chap_400b.htm and www.sots.ct.gov/sots/lib/sots/regulations/title_20/461.pdf, respectively. Note that these statutory links do not include any amendments after January 1, 2013, which can be researched separately at http://search.cga.state.ct.us/adv/. The Connecticut Judicial Branch collects legislative research reports, recent statutory changes, and other condominium resources at www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/condominiums.htm. Federal statutes and regulations, which occasionally apply to private communities, are available (along with a wealth of other national legal resources) at www.law.cornell.edu.
The municipal law of the town in which an association is located can also be important. A portal containing links to every Connecticut town’s website, charter, ordinances, and regulations is maintained at www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/ordinances.htm. Assessor’s field cards, which can reveal ownership, construction, conveyance, and other details about particular units, may be available on the town’s website or at either www.equalitycama.com/Towns/Towns.htm orwww.vgsi.com/vision/Applications/ParcelData/CT/Home.aspx. Details about land record filings like deeds and mortgages is somewhat harder to come by for free online, but try the Town Clerk or Assessor sections of your town’s website orhttps://connecticut-townclerks-records.com/User/Login.aspx.
Information about specific condominiums may also be available online. Some associations post their own website or intranet site for the benefit of their residents, which can be an excellent resource. Atwww.concord-sots.ct.gov, the state’s “CONCORD” database can provide an association’s legal name, address, officers, registered agent for service, and liens against its income (usually as collateral for capital improvement loans). If you are looking for litigation history, the docket database at http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/ lets you search all pending and recent state-court lawsuits in which a particular association (or anyone else) is either a plaintiff or a defendant. This database will allow you to see a list of everything filed with the court and, in some cases, the full text of court rulings. Another state website lets you search individual manager licenses and complaint histories; it can be found atwww.elicense.ct.gov/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx.
Several websites collect reports about “current events” related to condominium living and management from various perspectives, such as http://communityassociations.net/connecticut-resources/ andwww.ctcondonews.com. Of course, no list of websites which are of interest to Connecticut condominiums would be complete without CAI’s own www.caict.org, which offers everything from legislative updates and educational materials to directories of vendors and managers. There’s even a handy chart on Robert’s Rules at www.caict.org/basic_parliamentary_procedure.pdf. CAI also hosts the phenomenal advice column Ask Mister Condo at http://caict.org/askmistercondo/, which answers questions from unit owners and board members statewide. With all of these resources no further away than your home computer, you can usually find all of the information you need about a condominium or other private community fast and free.
Adam J. Cohen is an attorney with the Law Firm of Pullman & Comley, LLC headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut. As the Chair of its Community Associations Section, he represents and gives seminars to condominiums, tax districts, and other communities in matters ranging from amendments of governing documents to revenue collection strategies and commercial disputes. Reposted with permission from the CT Chapter of the CAI.