Maryland Legislative Update
By: Julianne E. Dymowski, Esq.
A new law effective October 1, 2018 makes it easier for a Maryland Condominium Association to suspend use of common element parking and recreational facilities by delinquent owners.
The law was adopted in response to a recent decision from the Maryland Court of Appeals that struck down a Condominium Association's rule suspending a unit owner's use of recreational amenities for violation of the governing documents. In its decision, the Court of Appeals held that a suspension provision must be contained in the Declaration, not in the Bylaws or Rules. Recognizing how difficult it is for an Association to amend its Declaration, CAI's Maryland Legislative Action Committee successfully pursued a change to the Condominium Act that allows Condominium Associations to amend their Declaration with a reduced vote of 60% of the percentage interest (in good standing) in the Association. The new law allows for suspension of use of both common element parking and recreational facilities by owners who are 60 days or more delinquent in payment of their assessments. Prior to suspension, notice must be provided to the owner together with an opportunity for the owner to request a hearing.
Other changes made this past legislative session include: Maryland Condominium Act - making unenforceable certain provisions placed in the governing documents that restrict the ability of an Association to pursue claims against a Developer; Maryland Homeowners Association Act – clarifying the number of votes of the Declarant to one per lot that is subdivided, recorded and not yet sold; updates to the Foreclosed Property Registry with required filings by a foreclosure purchaser and notice to the Association (effective January 1, 2019); and updating requirements of elevator testing - to now be performed by a licensed elevator mechanic in the physical presence of a third-party qualified elevator inspector.
It was a busy legislative season in Annapolis and 2019 is looking to bring further changes for Community Associations.