by Tom Schild
Maryland legislative committees are reviewing proposed legislation to ban condominium developers from limiting condo warranties in sales contracts and condominium bylaws.
In response to the broad warranty rights granted by Maryland law, developers have restricted these rights by provisions in sales contracts which shorten the time for filing court claims against developer. Parties to a contract can agree to shorten the time to bring legal claims unless prohibited by statute from doing so.
A proposed bill (House Bill 740/Senate Bill 725) would prohibit provisions in sales contracts or other documents which shorten the statute of limitations applicable to warranty claims or other statutory or common law claims in connection with the sale of condominiums.
The bill would also prohibit developer-imposed provisions in a condominium declaration or bylaw, or other documents which require unit owner approval for a condominium to pursue legal claims by litigation, arbitration, or other means. Developers have utilized such restrictive approval provisions in recent years to deter warranty claims and other legal action against developers in connection with the development and construction of residential condominiums.