More On The New Law Limiting The Basis For Lien Foreclosure

I have received some questions regarding the new law, which took effect on October 1, 2013, that limits the basis for foreclosure of a lien on a condominium unit by the council of unit owners and foreclosure of a lien on a property by a homeowners association.  The new law  modifies Section 14-204 of the Real Property Article of the Maryland Annotated Code to prohibit condominiums and homeowners associations from foreclosing on liens for anything other than delinquent periodic or special assessments; meaning that unpaid fines may not be the basis for a lien foreclosure.  Additionally, the new law requires that related costs and fees be limited to “reasonable costs and attorney’s fees directly related to the filing of the lien and not exceeding the amount of the delinquent assessments.”  Unpaid fines and other charges may still form the basis of a lien, but the lien may not be foreclosed on the basis. (more…)

Ocean City Condo Show This Weekend

The Ocean City Condo Show is this weekend at the R.E. Powell Ocean City Convention Center, Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27.  Please look for the ad for this  blog in the show program and in this  week’s edition of The Bayside Gazette  and Ocean City Today.

Contracts For The Initial Sale of Condominium Units In Maryland Are Invalid If the Public Offering Statement Has Not Been Registered

Under Section 11-127 of the Maryland Condominium Act, devel0pers  of condominiums are required to file a Public Offering Statement with the Maryland Secretary of State.  Until the Public Offering Statement is registered, and until 10 days after all amendments have been filed, a contract for the sale of any unit may not be entered into, and any such contracts are void.  Additionally, under Section 11-126 of the Maryland Condominium Act, the initial purchaser of a condominium unit must receive a copy of the Public Offering Statement at or before the time the contract of sale is entered into, or the contract is unenforceable by the seller.  Such contracts of sale are also required to contain, in conspicuous type, a notice of the purchaser’s right to receive a Public Offering Statement.

Maryland Court Of Appeals Affirms Exclusion of “Differential Diagnosis” In Mold Exposure Claims

The Maryland Court of Appeals has affirmed a decsion of the Court of Special Appeals ruling that certain expert testimony is not admissible to support medical clams arising from exposure to mold and other environmental byproducts of damp buildings.  Such claims are often supported by a medical analysis known as “differential diagnosis” and sometimes referred to as “repetitive exposure protocol,” which as been used by physicians to attribute various medical symptoms to inhalation of mold in water-damaged buildings.  Rather than demonstrating a specific exposure to a specific mold resulting in a specific reaction,  differential diagnosis uses a process that “rules out” or “rules in” possible causes of symptoms a patient is experiencing to determine that their symptoms are related to exposure to mold.  Differential diagnosis has been frequently used to show an association between exposure to mold in wet buildings and certain human health effects.  In its opinion in the case of Montgomery Mutual Insurance Co. v. Chesson, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that this method is not sufficiently accepted in the scientific community so as to be used as a basis for medical testimony in mold cases.  The Court of Special Appeals reversed a trial court ruling that found such medical testimony to be reliable and admissible.  Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has now affirmed the Court of Special Appeals decision.  Chesson v. Montgomery Mutual Insurance Co., Case No. 97, Sept. Term 2012. (more…)

New Maryland Law Limiting Liens And Related Fees And Charges Takes Effect October 1 — Only Delinquent Assessments Can Form the Basis For A Lien

An amendment to the Maryland Contract Lien Act, as it relates to the foreclosure of liens by condominiums and homeowners associations, takes effect on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.  The new law  modifies Section 14-204 of the Real Property Article of the Maryland Annotated Code to prohibit condominiums and homeowners associations from foreclosing on liens for anything other than delinquent periodic or special assessments.  As a result,  unpaid fines or other charges may not be the basis for a lien.  Additionally, the new law requires that related costs and fees imposed in connection with the lien be limited to “reasonable costs and attorney’s fees directly related to the filing of the lien and not exceeding the amount of the delinquent assessments.”  The law expressly provides that it is “to apply only prospectively and may not be applied or interpreted to have any effect on or application to any lien filed before the effective date.” (more…)

New Maryland Law Providing For Closed Condominium Board Meetings Takes Effect October 1

A new Maryland law that permits closed condominium board meetings for the purpose of discussing business transactions takes effect this coming Tuesday, October 1, 2013.    House Bill 388 and Senate Bill 197 were both approved by unanimous votes in each house of the Maryland General Assembly and signed by the Governor.  The new law amends Section 11-109.1 of the Maryland Condominium Act to provide that the board of directors of a condominium council of unit owners may meet in closed session for “consideration of the terms or conditions of a business transaction in the negotiation stage if disclosure could adversely affect the economic interests of the council of unit owners.” (more…)