A bill that would have prevented residential condominium developers from including provisions in declarations, bylaws and sales contracts that limit the rights of condominium councils and unit owners to bring claims, specifically targeting warranty claims against the developer, passed in the Maryland Senate, but failed in committee in the House. Senate Bill 167, which passed by a vote of 44 – 0, would have added new Section 11-134.1 to the Maryland Condominium Act. It would have made certain provisions in governing unenforceable, and would have limited the scope of others.
The new Section would have precluded provisions that (1) shorten the statute of limitations applicable to any claim; (2) waive application of “the discovery rule” as to when claims accrue; or (3) require that that claims be submitted to arbitration within a time shorter than the applicable statute of limitations. Additionally, any provision requiring the council of unit owners to obtain a vote of unit owners, the approval of the developer, or the approval of any non-unit owners as a precondition to the institution of a claim would be unenforceable unless adopted by the council of unit owners after the unit owners other than the developer obtain control of a majority of the board of directors. The House version, HB 1167, failed in the Environmental Matters Committee.