Changes to the Maryland Condominium Act and Maryland Homeowners Association Act will soon make it easier to amend the governing documents of condominiums and homeowner associations.

The new law allows amendments to be made by a vote of members “in good standing” instead of all of the owners.  An owner is not in good standing if the payment of assessments or other charges is in arrears for more than 90 days.

Additionally, the vote required to approve amendments to condo bylaws and the declaration and bylaws of a homeowner association is reduced to 60 percent, or such lower amount allowed by the association governing documents, beginning October 1, 2017. 

The Condo Act currently requires condo bylaw amendments to be approved by at least 66 and 2/3 of the total owner votes.  For homeowner associations, declaration covenants often require owner approval by a vote of 80 percent or more.

Because of these approval standards, many condos and HOAs have been unable to amend outdated provisions or add new provisions. The new lower threshold of 60 percent of the votes of owners in good standing will make it easier to get amendments passed.

Many association boards of directors are now reviewing the association documents for possible amendments concerning leasing, parking, attorneys’ fees, assessment collection costs, fines, maintenance responsibilities and amendment procedures.  

For older associations with outdated governing documents, it will now be easier to amend the documents to conform the association documents to the governance provisions of the Condo Act and HOA Act and other “best practices” for association governance.