Condominium Unit Owner Bill of Rights Legislation Expected to Clear the DC Council

Date: January 5, 2017

By: Jane Saindon Rogers, Esq.

Legislation to amend the D.C. Condominium Act  ( the “Act”) was approved unanimously at the second reading on December 20, 2016.  Originally intended to impose a mandatory mediation process before condominium associations could initiate foreclosure on their liens for unpaid assessments, the final legislation instead enhances the notice requirements before foreclosures may occur.

As adopted, the legislation has three main features:  1) it creates a 14-member condominium advisory council consisting of appointees from each Ward as well as certain industry professionals and representatives of D.C. government agencies, to provide a sounding board on matters related to condominiums in the District of Columbia; 2) it creates a Condominium Unit Owner's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities – basically a restatement of rights and obligations already articulated in the Act and requires that this summary be provided by declarants to new condominium unit owners and that it be posted on the DHCD website; and 3) amends the foreclosure notice provisions of the act to require  condominium associations to provide certain disclosures before undertaking foreclosures.

Among the disclosures that will be required is a statement of the amount to be paid to stop the foreclosure and an affirmative statement as to whether the foreclosure is a “priority lien” foreclosure amount or seeks to foreclose on the full amount of the statutory lien.  A document regarding the availability of resources to assist delinquent unit owners will also have to be provided with all notices regarding impending legal action. 

Simply stated, these new requirements mean that all condominium associations undertaking the collection of delinquent assessments in the District of Columbia will have to modify their existing collection protocols, even if foreclosure is not immediately contemplated. 

It is anticipated that the new provisions of the Act, after being signed by the Mayor, will not go into effect until sometime in March, 2017, after the mandatory congressional review period.

As soon as final enactment has been confirmed, this firm's clients will be receiving a package of recommendations regarding implementation of the procedural changes mandated by the legislation.  Further information and copies of the final legislation are available upon request.