by Tom Schild
The Maryland General Assembly ended its 2012 session on April 9 without enacting proposed legislation on community association manager licensing, developer to homeowner transition or HOA rules adoption and enforcement. After considering dozens of bills regarding governance of condominium and homeowner associations, only a few bills passed.
New Laws Enacted
The Maryland Condominium Act was amended to authorize condo associations to gain access to units to investigate damage where necessary for public safety or to prevent damage to other portions of the condominium (HB 126). Also enacted was a bill to require collection and removal of recyclable material by condominiums and apartment buildings with 10 or more units beginning in October 2014 (HB 1).
Legislation was approved to permit Prince George’s County to enact an ordinance to impose and collect a fee for providing administrative hearing services for the resolution of disputes involving common interest communities (HB 906).
Other Legislation Considered
Both the Senate and House of Delegates passed a bill to prohibit condominium developers from shortening the statute of limitations on condo unit warranties in sales contracts. It would also bar developers from including provisions in condo bylaws to require unit owner approval for a condo board to pursue legal claims by litigation or arbitration. However, there were differences in the two versions passed and the bill died on the last day of the legislative session (HB 740/SB 725).
Legislation to regulate community association managers has been proposed for the past 4 years. The bill considered this year would have established a State Board of Common Interest Community Managers to license and regulate managers. Each manager would be required to obtain a state-issued license to act on behalf of a Maryland condo, HOA or co-op in its business, financial, legal or other transactions such as negotiating contracts, collecting and disbursing association funds, preparing budgets and financial reports, and enforcing association governing documents. The proposed Maryland Common Interest Community Managers Act was defeated by a Senate Committee but may be introduced again in 2013 (HB 433/SB 372).
Bills to require management contracts to include certain provisions and to require community association management companies to obtain fidelity insurance also died in committee. Legislation regarding assessment collection and resale disclosures was also considered but not enacted.