Maryland Senate Passes Bill Requiring HOAs To Provide Resale Disclosure Information And Limiting Fees Charged By HOAs and Condos

By a vote of 45 – 2, the Maryland Senate has passed SB 229, which would require Homeowners Associations to make re-sale disclosure information available upon written request of a lot owner.  Presently, Section 11B-106 of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act provides that certain information be provided to a prospective purchaser in the community, and that specific information be included in the contract of sale.  The approved bill provides that, within twenty days of receiving a written request from the selling owner, the homeowners association must provide the information necessary for the owner to comply with the disclosure requirements.  It also limits the fee that could be charged to the owner for preparing the information to the actual cost up to a maximum of $50.  It also would impose this same $50 limit in charges by condominium councils of unit owners for furnishing the re-sale disclosure information they are required to provide under Section 11-135 of the Maryland Condominium Act.  A companion bill is pending before the House of Delegates as HB 412.

Ocean City Home and Condo Show This Weekend

Please look for the ad for this blog in the program for this weekend’s Home and Condo Show in Ocean City.  The show begins today and runs through Sunday at the R.E. Powell Convention Center.  Hours are Friday Noon – 6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, and Sunday 10:30 am - 3:30 pm.

My Commentary In Today’s Baltimore Sun

Here is a link to my opinion/commentary piece in today’s Baltimore Sun:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-corvette-economics-20140319,0,1019974.story

Maryland General Assembly Considers Legislation That Would Revise Disclosure Requirements In Condo Sales

House Bill 1080, now pending in the Maryland House of Delegates, would establish revised disclosure requirements and procedures in both initial sales and re-sales of residential condominium units.  The most extensive changes would impact re-sale contracts.  In addition to providing purchasers with additional rights of rescission, councils of unit owners would be required to furnish information requested by a seller to be disclosed to a purchaser with seven days after the request rather than the current twenty days.  In particular, purchasers would be entitled to receive notice of any significant change in the disclosure information once it is provided.  With regard to re-sales of existing condominium units, the proposed new law would amend Section 11-135 of the Maryland Condominium Act, which requires certain disclosures to purchasers by both the council of unit owners and the selling unit owner.  The bill would also add new Section 11-135.1 to exclusively apply to condominiums having less than seven units.  With regard to initial sales of new condominium units, the proposed law would amend Section 11-126, and impose certain new disclosure requirements on developers. Read More »

Proposed Maryland Legisation Would Remove Limits On Condo Unit Rentals In Hardship Cases

The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would require condominiums to remove limits on the number or percentage of units that can be rented, if the unit owner demonstrates “financial hardship” and meets certain other requirements.  House Bill 1039 would establish new Section 11-111.4 in the Maryland Condominium Act, and provide that unit owners who meet one of the bill’s six definitions of financial hardship may request a waiver from any rental limitations applicable to the community.  The unit must be the owner’s primary residence, and the appraised value of the unit must be less than 90% of what is owed.  The exception to rental restrictions would be for a term of three years. Read More »

Maryland Senate Passes Bill Limiting Restrictions On Condominium Claims Against Developers

The Maryland Senate, by a vote of 36 – 11, has passed legislation that would prevent residential condominium developers from including certain provisions in the project’s governing documents or sales contracts that limit the developer’s liability for construction defects.  As dicussed in an earlier post on this blog, Senate Bill 207 would prohibit provisions in the declaration, bylaws or rules and regulations that limit the ability of a council of unit owners to file suit on behalf of itself or the unit owners or enforce warranty claims.  The proposed new law would also preclude limits on the rights of condominium councils or individual unit owners to bring claims relating to an alleged failure of the developer to comply with building codes, county approved plans and specifications, product manufacturer’s installation instructions, and other construction industry standards.  Proposed new Section 11-134.1 of the Maryland Condominium Act would prohibit provisions designed to prevent the filing of a claim within the applicable period of limitations or prevent claims from accruing pursuant to the “discovery rule.”  The new law would also preclude provisions requiring a vote of the unit owners approving the initiation of a claim, unless such a requirement is adopted after the unit owners assume control of the community from the developer.

However, a companion bill in the House of Delegates, HB 259 received an unfavorable vote in the House Environmental Matters Committee.  It remains to be seen whether compromise between the two houses on a joint bill can be accomplished.

 

Maryland Senate Bill Would Require That Residential Property Managers Be Registered

Senate Bill 274, now pending before the Maryland General Assembly, would require that residential property managers for condominiums, cooperatives and homewoner associations be registered with the Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation.  Unlike House Bill 10, which calls for a licensing process, the Senate proposal would have the Department issue registration certificates that would be renewed every two years.  An applicant, in addition to paying a registration fee, would be requried to identify all of the communities that they mangage, and certify that they are covered by fidelity insurance.  The Department would be authorized to establish other requirements for registrants, and to investigate complaints alleging a failure to comply with the applicable provisions, or refer complaints to the State’s Attorney’s Office..  Failures to comply could result in misdemeanor and fine.

Proposed Maryland Legislation Would Preclude Limitations On Condominium Owner’s Construction Defect Claims Against Developers

The Maryland General Assembly is again considering legislation that would prevent residential condominium developers from including certain provisions in the project’s governing documents or sales contracts that limit the developer’s liability for construction defects.  Senate Bill 207 and House Bill 258 would prohibit provisions in the declaration, bylaws or rules and regulations that limit the ability of a council of unit owners to file suit on behalf of itself or the unit owners or enforce warranty claims.  The proposed new law would also preclude limits on the rights of condominium councils or individual unit owners to bring claims relating to an alleged failure of the developer to comply with building codes, county approved plans and specifications, product manufacturer’s installation instructions, and other construction industry standards.  Proposed new Section 11-134.1 of the Maryland Condominium Act would prohibit provisions designed to prevent the filing of a claim within the applicable period of limitations or prevent claims from accruing pursuant to the “discovery rule.”  The new law would also preclude provisions requiring a vote of the unit owners approving the initiation of a claim, unless such a requirement is adopted after the unit owners assume control of the community from the developer. Read More »

Proposed Maryland Legislation Would Require HOA Disclosure Statements and Limit Fees Charged by HOAs and Condos

Legislation pending the the Maryland General Assembly would require Homeowners Associations to provide information needed by a lot owner in connection with a pending re-sale of their home.  House Bill 412 and Senate Bill 229 would both require Homeowners Associations to make re-sale disclosure information available upon written request of a lot owner.  Presently, Section 11B-106 of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act provides that certain information be provided to a prospective purchaser in the community, and that certain information be included in the contract of sale.  The proposed legislation provides that, within twenty days of receiving a written request from the selling owner, the Association must provide the information necessary for the owner to comply with the disclosure requirements.  It also limits the fee that could be charged to the owner for preparing the information to the actual cost up to a maximum of Fifty Dollars.  Both bills also would impose this same Fifty Dollar limit in charges by condominium councils of unit owners for furnishing the re-sale disclosure information they are required to provide under Section 11-135 of the Maryland Condominium Act.

Proposed Maryland Legislation To Regulate Property Managers Includes Bond or Insurance Requirements

Legislation pending in the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly to regulate property managers of residential communities includes provisions that would require property managers to file a fidelity bond or proof of insurance with the Secretary of the Department of Licensing and Regulation.  House Bill 10, in addition to requiring that property managers be licensed, would require that any property manager entering into a contract to provide management services to a condominium, cooperative or homeowners association file proof of a fidelity bond, theft insurance, or other comparable written insurance as may be required by the proposed State Board of Common Ownership Community Managers.  The bond or insurance would be required to provide coverage in the lesser amount of $2 million or the highest aggregate amount of the operating and reserve balances of the community under the contract during the prior three months.