Legislative Update For Delaware
The following items of legislation from the 2015 session may be of interest to Delaware Common Interest Communities:
- Delaware House Bill 177 passed the House on June 18, 2015 and the Senate on June 30, 2015. HB 177 would amend Titles 25 and 26 of the Delaware Code related to Public Utilities and the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act. This bill would require utilities to maintain a third party notification system that allows a customer to designate a third party to receive notice prior to a termination of service. For example, a condominium association could receive notice of a utility disconnect making it aware that a unit may be at risk of frozen water pipes. This bill would also specifically allow condominium and common interest communities to adopt bylaws that require unit owners to designate the unit owners' association as a third party to receive notification prior to a termination of utility services. The bill would direct the Common Interest Community Ombudsman to promulgate a form bylaw for use by common interest community associations and unit owners to designate the Home Owners' Association as a third party to receive notification of a termination of service pursuant to any third party notification system. The bill has not yet been signed by the Governor. If signed by the Governor, the new law will take effect 60 days after enactment. A copy of the bill can be found here.
- Delaware Senate Bill 5 passed the Senate on May 7, 2015 and the House on July 1, 2015. SB5 would amend Title 25 of the Delaware Code relating to the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act. SB5 would affirmatively authorize preexisting common interest communities and approved common interest communities to comply with any or all of the provisions of the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act that they are not already obligated to comply. This Act may be cited as the Benjamin Kuntz Act. Mr. Kuntz was a dedicated Delawarean who spent countless hours chairing the Kent County Levy Court's Homeowners Associations Resolving Problems (HARP) Committee advocating for homeowner associations. The bill was signed by the Governor on August 13, 2015. A copy of the bill can be found here.
One proposed item of legislation that did not pass is Delaware House Bill 95. HB95 sought to amend Title 25 to address the circumstances where homebuyers purchase investment properties or second homes in Delaware but do not receive mail to that location. The proposed change would have required that any notices be sent with a certificate of mailing to the billing address on file with the local county tax office, unless the homeowner directs otherwise.
We will continue to monitor the implementation of these items of legislation, but please contact us should you have any questions about how this legislation might relate to your communities.