State Senate Bill Would Authorize Common Element Restrictions On Delinquent Unit Owners

Senate Bill 529 in the Maryland General Assembly would authorize condominiums to restrict the use of common elements by unit owners who are delinquent in paying assessments.  The proposed law would add new subsection 11-104(e) to the Maryland Condominium Act to provide that the bylaws may contain a provision permitting such restrictions.  Under the bill, the restriction on use of the common elements may be imposed on a delinquent unit owner who is not in a payment plan, is delinquent on a payment plan, or has defaulted on a previous payment plan.  The law would specifically allow condominium bylaws to be amended to include such a provision.

Proposed Legislation Would Require Condominiums To Give Unit Owners Notice Of A Sale Or Lien Affecting A Common Element

Senate Bill 809 and House Bill 1369, now pending in the Maryland General Assembly, would require a condominium council of unit owners to provide at least 30-days notice to all unit owners of any sale, including a tax sale, of a common element.  The bills would add new Subsection 11-108(d) to the Maryland Condominium Act.  The legislation would also add new Subsection 14-804(e) to the Tax Article to provide that a council of unit owners must give at least 30-days notice to the unit owners when a tax lien has been imposed on a common element.

The proposed law would create a similar notice requirement for homeowner associations with respect to a sale of any common area in the community by adding new Section 11B-106.2 to the Maryland Homeowner Association Act. Proposed new Subsection 14-804(e) of the Tax Article would also require notice by a homeowner association when a tax lien is imposed on any common area.

Maryland Construction Law Institute

I will be speaking today (March 9) at the Maryland Construction Law Institute seminar at the Ecker Business Training Center, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046.  My subject we be “Condominium and New Home Warranties and Rights of Action.”

Bill In the Maryland General Assembly Would Permit Restrictions and Prohibitions On Smoking By Condos, HOAs and Landlords

House Bill 500, now pending the Maryland General Assembly, provides for a proposed amendment to Section 11-104 of the Maryland Condominium Act that would allow a condominium’s bylaws to include “a restriction or prohibition on smoking tobacco products within the units or in the common elements.”  The proposed legislation would also amend Section 11-111 to authorize a council of unit owners to adopt a rule imposing such a restriction or prohibition.

The bill also would also add new Section 11B-111.7 to the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, which would permit a homeowner association to “include in its declaration, bylaws, rules, or recorded covenants and restrictions a provision that restricts or prohibits the smoking of tobacco products in any multi-unit dwelling or in the common areas.  A “multi-unit dwelling” is defined in the bill as “a town house, a row house, or any other individually owned dwelling unit that shares a common wall, floor, or ceiling with another individually owned dwelling unit.”

The proposed legislation would also amend Maryland Real Property Code Section 8-208 to permit landlords to include in written residential leases “a restriction or prohibition on smoking tobacco products within the dwelling unit or elsewhere on the premises.”


Bills Proposed In Maryland General Assembly To Limit Restrictions Imposed By Condominium Developers On The Ability Of The Council And Unit Owners To Assert Construction Defect Claims

Proposed legislation now pending in the Maryland General Assembly would prevent condominium developers from limiting the ability of the council of unit owners and individual unit owners to bring construction defect claims for issues affecting the condominium.  Senate Bill 670 and House Bill 676 would prevent developers from including certain provisions in condominium governing documents or contracts of sale that act as an impediment to claims.  Specifically, the proposed legislation relates to claims alleging the failure of the developer to comply with (1) applicable building codes; (2) plans and specifications for the project approved by the local governing authority; (3) manufacturer’s installation instructions for building products used the condominium; and (4) warranty provisions under Sections 10-203 and 11-131 of the Real Property Article.

As to such claims, the developer may not include provisions that:

(a) Shorten the statute of limitations for filing claims;

(b) Waives application of the “discovery rule” for purposes of determining when a claim accrued;

(c) Requires the council or a unit owner in an arbitration proceeding to assert a claim within a period shorter than the applicable statute of limitations; and

(d) operates to prevent a council or unit owner from filing a law suit, initiating arbitration proceedings, or otherwise asserting a claim within the applicable statute of limitations. (more…)

Maryland General Assembly Rejects Legislation That Would Have Aided Condominium Councils and Unit Owners In Pursuing Building Defect Claims

Legislation introduced in the Maryland General Assembly that would have prevented developers from including provisions in condominium governing documents that limit the developer’s liability for construction defects failed to reach a floor vote during the 2016 session. Senate Bill 250 and House Bill 1170 proposed to 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 have precluded 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 have prohibited 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 have precluded 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.