Community Associations Legislative Update 2018
New laws affecting Maryland communities will take effect in a few short months. Below is a brief overview of several of the most relevant updates from the Maryland Legislature for our community association clients:
- Suspension of rights to use certain common elements. Now, with the affirmative vote of only 60% of the eligible voters, condominium associations can amend their declarations to grant themselves authority to suspend a unit owner’s right to use certain common elements. This new legislation may be useful if your community has a delinquency problem. Only unit owners that are more than 60 days in arrears in the payment of any assessment are subject to a suspension of rights. Only the right to use parking and/or recreational facilities (such as pools) that are common elements may be suspended. The declaration must provide for due process; a unit owner has a right to receive a demand letter specifying that the unit owner has at least 10 days to either pay the delinquent assessment or request and participate in a hearing before any rights are suspended.
House Bill 575 | Effective October 1, 2018
- Pipe replacement loan. Your community and/or its members may be eligible for a WSSC loan to finance the replacement of malfunctioning water pipes through the new Connection Pipe Emergency Replacement Loan Program. To participate in the program, residential customers must have an active leak and have the replacement work performed by a licensed plumber. A loan may not exceed $5,000, and a customer may not receive more than one loan at a time.
House Bill 408 | Effective July 1, 2018
- Unenforceability of time limits that favor developers and vendors. Purchasers of condominium units often have claims against the developer or vendor of the unit for breach of warranty and/or for failure to comply with building codes and/or plans. In determining the viability of such claims, the parties first turn to the condominium declarations, bylaws, and sales contracts. Those documents may contain provisions that purport to shorten the statute of limitations or otherwise abbreviate the time period during which unit owners may bring claims in court or arbitration. Those provisions are now largely unenforceable.
House Bill 77; Senate Bill 258 | Effective October 1, 2018
- Disclosures regarding amenities in Prince George’s County. Home builders in Prince George’s County now need to make the following available to prospective purchasers in the community’s management or sales office: copies of recreational facilities agreement and information regarding the amenities listed in the agreement, such as detailed site plans, building permit numbers, and expected completion dates.
House Bill 239 | Effective October 1, 2018
- Disclosures regarding energy-efficient installations. Builders of developments that will include 11 or more new homes must provide initial purchasers of a to-be-built home with information about energy-efficient options available for installation before construction is completed, including the availability of tax credits.
House Bill 1481 | Effective October 1, 2018
- Expedited evictions for dangerous behavior. Tenants or other persons exhibiting dangerous behavior can now be evicted on an expedited basis with only 7 (as opposed to 14) days’ notice.
House Bill 494 | Effective October 1, 2018
- Deletion of restrictive covenants. HOA Boards must delete any provisions that restrict ownership in the community based on race, religious belief, or national original from the common area deeds or other declarations of property in the development on or before September 30, 2019 (one year after the law takes effect), with or without the approval of the lot owners.
Senate Bill 621 | Effective October 1, 2018
Shirley Steinbach is an attorney who strategically counsels community associations. For more information on community associations legislative action, contact Shirley at email@example.com or 301-657-0172.