Maryland Legislative Update

Maryland law for Condominiums and HOAs

2017 Legislative Session

During the 2017 Maryland legislative session, the General Assembly considered many bills regarding condominium and homeowner association governance, foreclosure procedures, state registration of community associations, and regulation of community association managers.

Legislation passed includes bills to make it easier to amend a community’s governing documents; require lender notice of foreclosure sale postponement and cancellation, and require community associations to provide owners with notice of common property sales, including government tax sales.

Document Amendments.  The vote required to amend bylaws of a condominium, and the declaration or bylaws of a homeowner association, has been reduced to 60 percent of the members in good standing, or a lower percentage if allowed by the document amended.  Owners are in “good standing” if payment of association assessments or other charges are not more than 90 days past due.

Previously, the minimum necessary for amending condominium bylaws was 66 and 2/3 percent of all of votes of all owners.  For HOA’s, declaration amendments often require approval by 80 percent or more of the homeowners.

The new lower approval standard will make it easier for condos and homeowner associations to make changes to their governing documents beginning October 1.

Lender Foreclosure Sales.  When a lender postpones or cancels a foreclosure sale, notice will now have to be sent to a condominium or homeowners association which has recorded an assessment lien at least 30 days before the foreclosure sale date.  This additional notice is intended to help associations better monitor the status of foreclosures and assist in collecting delinquent assessments when a sale is delayed or canceled.

Because notice of postponement or cancellation must also be provided to the property owner, the owner will know of the continuing obligation to pay the mortgage and association assessments.

Sale of Common Area.  A new requirement for a condo or HOA to notify owners of sale of the association common property was enacted.  Notice can be provided by sending to each owner, or posting a sign on the property and including on any association website.

HOA Resale Inspection Fee.  A bill to allow a fee of up to $100 for inspecting a home in connection with issuance of a resale  certificate was amended before being passed to allow an inspection fee of up to $50 only if the fee is authorized by the HOA governing documents.

2015 Legislative Session

In a year marked by a new Governor and many changes in leadership of legislative committees which review most bills regarding  condos, co-ops and HOAs, no new community association governance laws were passed in 2015,

Among bills considered was legislation to extend resale disclosure requirements to homeowner association; prevent developers from limiting condo statutory warranty rights; and delay residential foreclosures. 

The 2015 Maryland General Assembly session had lots of talk but no new laws regarding governance of condos, co-ops or HOAs.

2014 Legislative Session

New laws were passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2014 regarding  property owner liability for injuries caused by dogs and co-operative housing governance.

Throughout the 2014 legislative session, Tom Schild met with legislators, submitted written testimony and attended committee hearings regarding legislation affecting community associations, as part of his volunteer work on the Maryland Legislative Action Committee of the Community Associations Institute.

Dog Bites. Legislation to overturn a 2012 Courts of Appeals' decision regarding dog owner and property owner liability for pit bull bites was enacted after more than 2 years of debate.  For property owners, including community associations, the court-imposed strict liability for injuries caused by pit bulls has been eliminated. Instead, the prior negligence standard has been restored for all dog bites so that condo, homeowner associations and housing co-ops may be held liable for injuries caused by dogs only if it was known that a particular dog with prior viscous behavior was on the property.

Housing Co-op Governance. Also approved was a law to extend to housing cooperatives certain governance requirements regarding open Board meetings, access to records, rules enforcement procedures, and distribution of information by co-op members. The new governance provisions are similar to those already applicable to condominium. The bill also sets a maximum late fee for unpaid assessments, and requires that assessments be delinquent for at least 3 months and notice and an opportunity for a hearing be given to the co-op member before a court action may be filed to evict the co-op member for non-payment of assessments.

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