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.