By a unanimous vote, the Maryland Senate approved SB 167, which would prevent residential condominium developers from including provisions in declarations, bylaws, sales contracts or other instruments that limit the rights of condominium councils and unit owners to bring claims, specifically targeting warranty claims against the developer. It would add new Section 11-134.1 to the Maryland Condominium Act, which would make certain provisions of this nature unenforceable, and would limit the scope of others.
The new Section would preclude provisions that (1) shorten the statute of limitations applicable to any claim; (2) waive application of “the discovery rule” as to when claims accrue; (3) operated to prevent the filing of a claim within the applicable period of limitations or (4) 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.
Similar legislation is pending in the House of Delegates as HB 1141.