2014 Maryland Legislative Update
This was another busy year in Annapolis. The bills that passed and will become law are as follows:
Pit Bulls. The new law eliminates the strict liability standard for a person who has the right to control the presence of a pit bull on the property (i.e., the Association), which had been established in the Court of Appeals' decision Tracey v. Solesky. In effect, the new law places the responsibility for a pet bite or other injury on the owner of the dog and returns to previous common law liability for Associations. The law went into effect on April 8, 2014, when signed by the Governor. If your Association had revised its Rules on pit bulls following the Tracey case, you should contact our office for modifications.
Cooperative Housing Act Amendments. Various provisions existing in the Maryland Condominium and Homeowners Association Acts were added to the Maryland Cooperative Housing Act. These provisions include open meeting requirements for the Board and Committees, defining closed meeting topics, allowing members to request an audit of the Cooperative's books and records, providing for a late fee for late payment of an assessment, establishing a dispute settlement mechanism that includes a hearing procedure for violations, allowing for distribution of information by a member to other members, and establishing a procedure to be followed prior to eviction of a delinquent member. These amendments will take effect on October 1, 2014.
Foreclosure of Liens. In 2013, legislation was passed that limited an Association's lien to outstanding assessments and legal fees related to the lien. Although great efforts were made in 2014 to expand the amounts to be covered by a lien, in the end the law was broadened only to allow for the addition of interest to the lien. This law will take effect on October 1, 2014.
Keep an Eye On: Some of the bills that did not pass this year, but may be reintroduced next legislative session, include manager licensing, smoking bans, rental restrictions, and resale certificate and disclosure changes.