Before buying condo, beware of rules favoring developer

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Q: We just bought a condominium unit in a new 50-unit complex. Although the developer will not tell us how many units have been sold, we have recently learned that it is starting to rent some of the unsold units. This seems unfair, especially since our contract specifically states that we cannot rent for at least one year after settlement. Can the developer rent those units? A: This is a hotly debated issue, especially in areas where condominium sales have dramatically slowed down. Just a few years ago, prospective buyers were lining up on the doorsteps of the developer's real estate sales office, clamoring to buy those condo units. And in many cases, the prices were not cheap -- often ranging between $700,000 to more than $1 million per unit. In fact, many speculators entered into the picture, hoping to make a financial killing by buying low and flipping to a third party even before the units were ready for sale. Others wanted to buy solely to be able to rent the units. A...