Federal Advocacy Summit Tackles Condo and HOA Legislation

Tom Schild recently participated in the Federal Advocacy Summit sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) in Washington, D.C.  Community association attorneys, managers and homeowners from around the country gathered to learn about federal legislative and regulatory issues with direct financial impact on condos, homeowner associations and housing co-operatives….and carry the message to Capitol Hill.

Among the hot topics was legislation to provide federal disaster relief assistance for the clean up and repair of community association common areas.  This CAI legislative initiative was introduced in the House of Representatives at the end of October, 2015.

As part of the proposed Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act, Congress is also considering changes to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) standards for condominium project approval to make it easier for condominium associations to obtain and maintain FHA-approval  so condo owners and purchasers can get FHA-insured mortgages.

On the CAI hit list is legislation introduced in both the House and Senate which would require the Federal Communications Commission to invalidate private restrictive covenants in condos and HOAs which prohibit or interfere with amateur radio antennas.

On the regulatory front, CAI is opposed to the actions of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seeking to invalidate state laws which recognize a priory lien for condo and HOA assessments.  FHFA is the government agency which now operates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

With all seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate seats up for election in 2016,  now is the perfect time for community association leaders and residents to let their congressional representatives know the impact these federal issues have on the financial stability of condominiums, homeowner associations and co-operatives.

POSTED BY:  Thomas Schild Law Group, LLC

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Single Dwelling Covenant Not Waived By Other Structures

by Tom Schild

A covenant allowing only one dwelling to be constructed on each lot in a Baltimore County community of over 600 homes is not waived by allowing erection of other structures including pool houses, gazebos, guest houses, and sheds, according to a recent ruling of the Maryland Court of Appeals–the highest state appellate court.

At issue in Shader v. Hampton Improvement Association, Inc. was whether a “one dwelling” covenant prohibited construction of a house on each of two subdivided portions of the original lot as it existed when the covenant was first created in 1931. Although the appeals court concluded there had been a waiver of the portion of the covenant which prohibited buildings other than “private dwelling houses”, there had been no waiver of the covenant which prohibited “no more than one dwelling” on each lot.

Explaining that each clause of the covenant is severable and independent of the other restrictions, the Maryland Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court and intermediate appeals court that waiver of one clause did not constitute a waiver of other covenant restrictions.  Therefore, the “one dwelling” covenant remained enforceable to ensure the residential character of the neighborhood and a house was not allowed on each subdivided portion of the original lot.

POSTED BY:  Thomas Schild Law Group, LLC