Community Associations

We have one of the largest and best-regarded community association practices in the mid-Atlantic region, representing more than 800 condominiums, planned communities and housing cooperatives, of all sizes and types, in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Delaware. Our firm's Community Association Section, made up of approximately 30 attorneys and an experienced professional support staff, includes nationally-known lawyers with extensive experience in this field, including two past Chapter presidents of the Community Associations Institute, two Charter Members of the national College of Community Association Lawyers, and Community Associations Institute board, committee and faculty members.

We provide comprehensive legal advice and guidance to our community association clients, including review, revision and advice with respect to governing documents and rules, as well guidance on contracts, finance, board operations, and the human dynamics of community association governance.  We represent our community association clients in all types of litigation and alternative dispute resolution, and we serve as our clients' advocates in dealings with homeowners, contractors, financial institutions, developers and government agencies.  We have extensive experience with rule and covenant enforcement, delinquent assessment collection, employment law, fair housing law, environmental law, construction litigation, and many other legal disciplines.

Since we understand the time pressures and economic realities faced by community association boards, our goal always is to provide responsive, practical and cost-effective legal advice and assistance whenever our clients need it.  Our attorneys and staff utilize the latest technology to provide efficient and timely service, and prompt, effective communication with our clients.

Our firm is one of the leaders in the practice and development of community association law, both regionally and nationally. Our experience, resources and insight allow us to give our clients the latest and most effective problem-solving approaches and the best-informed advice and assistance in this new and rapidly changing area of the law. Beyond that, our firm's broad and diverse legal experience and resources can assist our community association clients in almost any substantive legal field.

Community Association Litigation

We represent our community association clients in all types of litigation. Our litigation attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of construction litigation from multi-million dollar commercial projects to disputes between homeowners and contractors. We regularly handle litigation involving wrongful termination, breach of contract, rule violations and defective work claims. We have the experience and resources to prosecute or defend your litigation matters in the state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

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Solar Energy Collection Systems in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia

The use of solar energy is on the rise, and with residential solar energy collection systems becoming more affordable and accessible, we are likely to continue seeing a substantial increase in the installation of residential systems over the coming years. If a property owner in your community has installed a solar collection system on their property, it is often quite noticeable. Most residential solar energy collection systems are made of large panels sprawled across the roof or exterior walls of a property.

D.C. Case Law Update

Condominium foreclosures in the District of Columbia have recently been the subject of several appeals cases that have clarified how the court interprets the foreclosure provisions of the D.C. Condominium Act.  On December 17, 2018, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a Memorandum of Opinion in the case of Green Parks, LLC v. PMT NPL Financing, docketed as CA-9733-15.

Maryland Legislative Update

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. 

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: When Asking Too Much Of Your Community Manager Becomes Risky Business – You Need Expert Advice

Community association managers fill many roles for the communities they manage, such as contract negotiators, on-site foremen, accounting and budgeting gurus, strategic planners, psychologists, mediators … the list goes on. Managers are incredibly adept at utilizing their vast array of professional experiences to assist directors with making many important decisions, but good managers also recognize their limitations. An integral–if often under–appreciated–aspect of association managers is recognizing when an expert opinion is warranted.

Why You Shouldn’t Deal With Mold Yourself - And It’s Not Just Because You Don’t Have Mr. Clean’s Abs

Mold, technically, is everywhere, in some form or another; it is in the dust on the furniture, in the crumbs left on the counter, and in the air that drifts in from the outside. It is why bread turns green-gray, and why coffee left in the mug on the desk over the weekend will look tan on top. Visible mold, however, is usually a by-product of some other maintenance problem–and usually a sign that that maintenance problem has been going on too long. When mold is given a damp environment and some form of nutrient – either wood, or drywall, or some other building material–it will flourish and grow, creating splotchy discoloration on walls, ceilings and personal property.

2018 Maryland Legislative Updates

Below we have outlined the substantive legislative actions taken by the Maryland General Assembly over the course of the most recent legislative session. We have included legislation that impacts both homeowners and condominium associations for a comprehensive view of the laws affecting community associations in Maryland generally.

To Foreclose or Not To Foreclose? What To Consider When That Is The Question

Foreclosure is a matter of last resort. Whether an owner is unable to or neglectful in paying assessments owed to an association, the last remedy that should be considered to get paid is foreclosure. A foreclosure takes time, it is costly, and it is designed to displace an association member who cannot or will not fulfill his or her obligation to pay assessments like the other members do. On the other hand, a foreclosure against a property that has sufficient equity in it (meaning the value of the property exceeds the amount of debt owed on it) can be a complete remedy that recovers unpaid assessments, the cost of foreclosure, and eliminates the ongoing hassle for an association by replacing a nonpaying owner with (hopefully) a paying one.

Virginia: 2018 Legislative Update for Common Interest Communities

The Virginia General Assembly approved a number of bills during its 2018 legislative session.  Several of the bills impact, directly or indirectly, common interest communities.  The Governor of Virginia signed the following bills into law in March and the new laws will take effect on July 1, 2018, except as otherwise noted herein.  We have outlined the substantive legislative action taken by the Virginia General Assembly that impacts both homeowners and condominium associations.

Chad Toms to Speak on Panel with Local Officials on HOAs

Chad Toms is speaking at event on March 1 with State Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. (R-20th) and state Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th). They hope to educate residents on common-interest communities (CICs) at a public workshop in Frankford, Delaware.

Paid Sick Leave Law Set to Take Effect

In the opening days of the 2018 legislative session, Maryland’s General Assembly overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the paid sick leave bill passed in 2017.  Use of the veto override procedure meant that the law would take effect only 30 days after it was enacted, meaning that the law will become effective on February 11, 2018.  During the final days before the law’s effective date, the General Assembly considered a bill to delay its effective date to July 1st, but the legislation appears unlikely to pass in the House of Delegates.  As a result, mandatory sick leave will shortly become a reality in Maryland.

Insurance Requirements For Condominium Owners

Every condominium association is required, by statute and by governing document, to carry a master insurance policy on the building. Such policies cover the common elements and – in multi-story buildings at least – the individual units as well. The question has often arisen, however, whether unit owners themselves should carry homeowners’ insurance, generally known as “HO-6 policies.” The answer is, resoundingly, YES. It is risky not to do so.

It’s My Right! Statutory Books and Records Inspections by Owners

An owner’s zealous search for information may involve a request to review the association’s books and records. The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have statutes detailing the books and records available for examination and copying by owners. Accordingly, the board of directors and managers should be informed of what books and records owners have a statutory right to inspect. This article will set forth the highlights of the relevant statutes in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Service Animals/Assistance Animals: Can They Vacation In Your Community?

Many communities, especially those in the beach and resort areas, are noticing an increase in vest wearing dogs being brought on vacation despite rules that prohibit pets. Numerous internet companies advertise that with a “no questions asked” registration an owner can take their dog anywhere “legally” so long as it is wearing a service animal vest and has a certificate. Communities that see a large volume of vacation rentals are being inundated with vest wearing dogs on vacation that they believe are fake service dogs. As a result, communities should arm themselves with a working knowledge of the differences between the categories of these animals and know the questions an association may lawfully ask to validate a dog’s status.

Recorded Association Governing Documents do not Create Liens on Their Own

The Maryland Court of Appeals (Maryland’s highest court) has specified that in order for a lien to be effective, the procedures of the Maryland Contract Lien Act (§14-201 et seq. of the Maryland Code, Real Property Article) (the “Act”) must be followed. In Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. v. Saddlebrook West Utility Company, LLC, et al., No. 71, September Term 2016, the main issue the Court reviewed was whether a lien could be created on a property by a declaration without following the procedures of the Act.

Strategies for Surviving the Covenant Amendment Process

An association’s governing documents (i.e. declaration, bylaws, etc.) are the legal documents that guide the board of directors on how the association is being operated and managed. As time goes by, it is not unusual to find these documents are outdated and need to be amended from time to time. Amending covenants in governing documents for an association can be a challenging and time-consuming task, however, but may be necessary for a building to thrive, as well as to address current changes in building operations, legislation, etc. Below are some helpful tips for planning and surviving the covenant amendment process.

Are You Secure? - Security Concerns for Community Associations

Community associations, their managers, board members, and members are justifiably concerned about security.  Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP serves community associations in Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.  Attorneys licensed to practice in each of the these jurisdictions discuss specific security concerns for each below.

New Rules and Regulations for Aquatic Facilities in the District of Columbia

As of June 9, 2017, new rules and regulations for Aquatic Facilities, including Swimming Pools, Spa Pools, and Saunas, went into effect in the District of Columbia for the purpose of updating existing regulations to reflect new industry standards and District regulations.  Most significantly, the proposed rulemaking incorporates industry standards that are included in the second edition of the “Model Aquatic Health Code” published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other industry standards.  

Barbecues, Grilling, and your Community Association: Local Rules You Need to Know

Summer is officially here and we just celebrated the Fourth of July. Along with pools and other activities, grilling and hosting barbecues are two of America’s favorite summer pastimes. These activities present great opportunities for owners to get outside on their own properties or the common elements/areas, for the association to host social gatherings, and for residents to enjoy themselves. Community associations, their boards of directors, and their managers, however, need to be aware of the restrictions contained in state and local law, and their respective community association’s governing documents relating to grilling. Most often, these restrictions relate to fire safety. To ensure compliance with legal obligations and to keep residents and their guests safe, board members and managers must understand and appreciate these restrictions. It is important for owners and residents to understand these restrictions, too.

Fairfax County Seeks Your Input on Short-Term Property Rentals

The Board of Supervisors for Fairfax County has created a working group to draft zoning regulations for Short-Term Rentals in the County and to establish a registry. The working group is seeking input from community members who have a vested interest in this issue.

Maryland’s High Court strikes Condominium’s Rule Restricting Access to Common Areas

On June 23, 2017, the Maryland Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, ruled against a condominium association in the case of Elvaton Towne Condominium Regime II, Inc. v. Rose, No. 33, Sept. 2016 in its attempt to enforce a rule that restricted an owner’s privileges in the condominium and right to access to their interest in the condominium property due to their failure to pay delinquent assessments. The subject rule was promulgated by the condominium’s board through its rulemaking authority.

Maryland Common Interest Communities 2017 Legislative Changes

In this article, we have outlined the substantive legislative actions taken by the Maryland General Assembly over the course of the most recent legislative session. We have included legislation that impacts both homeowners and condominium associations for a comprehensive view of the laws affecting community associations in Maryland generally. The referenced legislation takes effect October 1, 2017.

Virginia: 2017 Legislative Update for Common Interest Communities

The Virginia General Assembly approved a number of bills during its 2017 legislative session. Several of the bills impact, directly or indirectly, common interest communities. The Governor of Virginia signed the following bills into law in March and the new laws will take effect on July 1, 2017. We have outlined the substantive legislative action taken by the Virginia General Assembly that impacts both homeowners and condominium associations.

What Happens When Local Ordinances Conflict with your Governing Documents? – A Survey of the Conflict of Law Provisions for the Northern Virginia & Fredericksburg Areas

Every city or county in Virginia has published ordinances that restrict their residents’ home construction and lot use in a subdivision. Authorized by Virginia Code[1], a city or county may adopt the ordinances it needs to perform its obligations. To assure the orderly subdivision of land in the city or county, achieve the goals of a comprehensive development plan, or implement the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, subdivisions have been the subject of countless ordinances. Not surprisingly, so many ordinances cover a wide range of topics, and each is accompanied by a remedy for the local government to ensure compliance, often via an agency that will receive and investigate complaints.

Condominium Unit Owner Bill of Rights Legislation

Legislation to amend the D.C. Condominium Act, D.C. Act 21-657, (the “Act”) has been approved by the D.C. Council, signed by the Mayor and is awaiting the end of the mandatory congressional review period. The legislation is currently expected to go into effect on April 7, 2017.

Required Notice Associated with Condominium Unit Owner Bill of Rights Legislation

Failure to pay past due amounts may result in legal action, including foreclosure.  You may be eligible for free or reduced-cost assistance.

The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development maintains a list of Community-Based Non-Profit Organizations that provide housing counseling services.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) sponsors housing counseling agencies that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues.

Preparing Your Association for Pool Season

As the weather starts to warm up, it is time for community associations to start planning for the pool season.  Getting ready for the pool season does not just involve making sure that the pool company has removed the cover and filled the pool.  For many associations, this is also the time of year that the associations review their pool rules to insure that they meet the association’s needs and that they comply with the applicable fair housing laws.  For associations with delinquent owners, it is also a time to contemplate suspending pool privileges for those owners.

The Decision to Serve Alcohol Will Never Be Dry: Things to Consider Before Serving Alcohol at Your Next Community Event

With spring upon us, community gatherings are popular events for associations to introduce neighbors to each other, conduct annual meetings, or pass that amendment to governing documents that requires the presence of members who may be otherwise difficult to assemble.  As a neighbor and homeowner myself, the answer on whether to serve alcohol at a social gathering is a resounding: “Yes, please.”  As a lawyer, however, it is much easier to object: “Perhaps not.”  On one hand, there is no doubt that the safest course for an association is simply to resist the service of alcohol.  No alcohol, no liability.  On the other hand, the appeal of serving a cold beer or a glass of wine can be a well-deserved complement when there is a desire to bring neighbors together or build community spirit.  The option to serve alcohol, coupled with a willingness to do so, does not need to be dismissed entirely however, and can be navigated to mitigate the risk of liability for those associations that find the consumption of alcohol, in moderation, a desirable complement to their gatherings.

Tree Liability in Maryland, DC, and Virginia

Among the many issues community associations deal with are disputes between owners regarding trees that encroach upon a neighbor’s property.  While each jurisdiction has established law on the issue, as a community, the simplest solutions are usually the best.  Therefore before resorting to the courts, residents should consider contacting their neighbors to ask whether they would be willing to fix the problem voluntarily.  While the world would be simpler if such property disputes were always amicably resolved between neighbors, in some instances, owners cannot reach an accord.  This article will explore the differences between how D.C., Virginia, and Maryland resolve these issues.

Bankruptcy Issues: Automatic Stay

A resident filing for bankruptcy can have a serious impact on the financial outlook of a community association.  The financial impact on a community association can go well beyond lost dues, however.  A fundamental purpose of the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.) is to give a person in bankruptcy (a “debtor”) a “fresh start.”  To advance this purpose, the code imposes restrictions on creditors, including community associations, once a resident files for bankruptcy.  One of these restrictions is found in Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code, which imposes an “automatic stay” upon the filing of a bankruptcy case that prohibits certain actions against a debtor in order to give the debtor time to reorganize its financial affairs.  The scope of the automatic stay is extremely broad.

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

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.

HUD Adopts New Rules Clarifying Associations' Liability for Harassment and Third Party Conduct Under the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently adopted new federal rules, pursuant to its authority under the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), which will potentially have a significant impact on community associations.  These new rules took effect on October 14, 2016.  This alert will outline the new rules, their significance for community associations, and some initial recommendations for actions that associations can take in response.

Update to the Owner Occupancy Requirement for FHA Certification and Recertification

On October 26, 2016, the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) issued a new mortgagee letter regarding new owner occupancy requirements for FHA certification and recertification applications.  This mortgagee letter is in response to the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act that the President signed the end of July 2016.  A copy of the new mortgagee letter 2016-15 can be found in its entirety here:  Mortgagee Letter 2016-15.  As discussed in more detail below, the mortgagee letter clarifies what is considered an owner-occupied unit and discusses how the standard owner-occupancy requirement of 50% can be lowered to 35% under certain circumstances for existing condominium projects.

Community Association Restrictions on Political Signs

With the presidential election fast approaching, political signs featuring names of candidates have covered lawns across Virginia. The placement of political signs on private property within community associations raises competing interests. On the one hand, signs are a form of speech that some residents believe should garner the protection of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, signs may detract from the appearance of a community, invite negative community connotations and detrimentally impact property values. Accordingly, many community associations have governing documents that restrict signage. Some of these restrictions prohibit all signs other than “for sale” or “for lease” signs, while other merely limit the size, number, and placement of signs generally.

HAM Radio Legislation: Why it Matters to Community Associations

“Ham radio” refers to amateur radio operations and antennas, which has a surprisingly large following among local hobbyists and enthusiasts.  While the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 ( “Telecommunications Act”) is the ultimate authority on regulating satellite dishes and television antennas, it does not apply to amateur radio (“ham radio”) antennas.  The Telecommunications Act prohibits community associations from restricting a property owner’s right to install a satellite dish or television antenna on property exclusively within the property owner’s control. The Act’s protections, do not, however, extend to ham radio operations. The Federal Communication Commission’s (the “Commission” or “FCC”) PRB-1 document, an 11 page Amateur Radio Memorandum Opinion and Order, provides that local governments must reasonably accommodate amateur operations, but these regulations do not extend to private land-use restrictions such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“restrictive covenants”).

Montgomery County Employers Must Provide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Effective October 1, 2016

Effective October 1, 2016, all employers in Montgomery County, Maryland with one or more employees are required to provide employees with paid sick and safe leave.  All employees must earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours an employee works in Montgomery County, up to 56 hours a year.  Employers with 5 or more employees must provide paid sick and safe leave; whereas, employers with less than 5 employees must provide 32 hours of paid sick and safe leave, as well as 24 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave per year.

Changes Effective October 1, 2016 to Resale Disclosures in Maryland

This past legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly undertook a review of the resale disclosure laws for condominiums and homeowners associations.  After input from CAI’s Maryland LAC and other organizations, a limited number of changes were passed and will become effective October 1, 2016.

Dryer Vent Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 15,000 home fires are caused each year by faulty or improperly maintained dryers. More than half of these fires are caused by dryer vents that have failed to be cleaned. As temperatures begin to rise, it is time for community associations to examine what type of policy is in place regarding dryer vent maintenance.

Increasing Number of Condominium Projects Eligible for FHA Certification and Recertification through New Federal Law

Through unanimous approval by Congress and then the ultimate approval by the President, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (the “Act”) potentially opens the door to many condominium associations to obtain FHA certification that were not previously eligible and directs the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to streamline the FHA recertification process.  Many condominium associations desire to be FHA certified so that condominium units located within the association are available for sale to a much broader pool of potential buyers.  In a serious effort to broaden the number of condominium associations eligible for FHA certification, the Act put forth four major changes regarding requirements for FHA mortgage insurance.

2016 Virginia Legislative Updates and Annual Checklist

The Virginia General Assembly approved a number of bills in the 2016 legislative session which impact, directly or indirectly, common interest communities, and the Governor of Virginia signed the following bills into law.

These new laws amend the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (Va. Code Ann. 55-508, et seq., as amended (1950)) (the “POA Act”), the Virginia Condominium Act (Va. Code Ann. 55-79.39, et seq., as amended (1950)) (the “Condominium Act”), and other statutes that may affect common interest communities. These new laws will take effect on July 1, 2016. Below is a brief summary of the legislation that directly or indirectly influences common interest community associations.

Sex Offenders in Your Community - Facing the Facts

Many people move into Community Associations throughout the area due to the many added benefits an Association offers including a more “secure” neighborhood. However, there is a hidden reality that many residents of an Association may be surprised to confront – a sex offender living in their community, amongst them in plain sight.  Of course, sex offenders are a real and a major concern to any resident. Common reactions from residents include questions of:

  • How do we remove sex offenders from our community?
  • How can the Association prevent sex offenders from residing within the Association moving forward?
  • Does the Association need to notify its members of the presence of the sex offender, and could it be held liable if it fails to do so? 

Prince George's County Council Recently Adopts New Legislation Establishing a Commission on Common Ownership Communities

The Prince George’s County Council recently adopted new legislation that establishes a Commission on Common Ownership Communities (the “PGCCOC”).  The Commission will be composed of nine (9) members appointed by the County Executive. Five (5) of the members will be selected from unit or lot owners who reside in a common ownership community, and four (4) of the members will be selected from professionals associated with common ownership communities, such as property managers, realtors and attorneys.

Recent Developments - Amending Virginia HOA Governing Documents

The Supreme Court of Virginia published an opinion relating to the process of amending the Declaration of a Property Owners Association.  The case titled Steven F. Tvardek, Jr., et al. v. Powhattan Village Homeowners Association, Inc., ruled that an Amended Declaration is not effective unless the President’s certificate recorded with the amendment verifies that the required majority of owners signed the amendment or ratification approving the amendment.  In this case, the certificate merely stated the owners approved the amendment.

Expanding the Marketability of Units in your Condominium Association to a Bigger Pool of Potential Buyers: FHA Certification and Recertification

When a condominium project is FHA certified, it means that the units located within the condominium project are eligible for FHA-insured loans.   An FHA insured loan is a Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) mortgage insurance backed-mortgage loan, which is tied to an FHA-approved lender.  In other words, FHA does not issue loans; rather it insures loans from private lenders.  

New DOL Regulations: Proper Classification of Community Association Employees Matters

Proper classification of employees is critical to avoid potential liability for unpaid overtime.  If that did not get your attention, then consider this:  In addition to unpaid overtime, misclassification of employees can result in liquidated damages, equitable relief and reimbursement of attorney’s fees.  Classification is particularly important now, in light of the proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Shoveling Out - Snow Removal Responsibilities and Liability for Community Associations

The DC Metro area recently endured winter storm Jonas. Many embraced the historic snow, especially kids who got a weeklong vacation. Homeowners, though, ended up spending some quality time with a shovel and were likely rewarded with a sore back. Likewise, Community Associations had to figure out how to remove the large amounts of snow from streets and sidewalks. However, were the hours of labor and snow removal bills necessary? More importantly, if the snow was not removed and someone was injured, who would be liable?

Montgomery County CCOC Launches Online Board Member Training Program

Montgomery County law now requires common ownership community board members to receive training in basic community association management.  The Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC) has launched a new online training program that allows board members to comply with the County’s requirements.

Montgomery County Towing Amendments

New laws will take effect in Montgomery County, Maryland on November 30, 2015 which will impact parking and towing policies in community associations. This article will highlight the new requirements under Chapter 30C of the Montgomery County Code (“Code”) of which all community associations in Montgomery County need to be aware. 

Legislative Update For Delaware

The following items of legislation from the 2015 session may be of interest to Delaware Common Interest Communities.

Service Animals And The FHA

The Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) applies to community associations and establishes the regulations with which private “housing providers” must comply. This article will explore the possible responses an association may have to a community association member requesting the use of a service animal under the FHA.

Smoking in D.C. Condominiums: The Marijuana Update

As many of you are already aware, the legalization of the possession and use of marijuana in the District of Columbia went into effect on February 26, 2015. As with every law, of course, there are certain limitations to the possession and use of this substance. 

Under the current laws in D.C., it is legal for anyone 21 years of age or older to possess, use, or transfer marijuana.

Montgomery County Finds Way to Handle Delinquent Landlords

In Montgomery County, Maryland, owners who want to rent their homes must obtain a residential rental license from the County.  It is a Class A violation of the County Code for an owner to rent without a rental license, which could result in a fine of up to $500 per day.  More often than not, owners are renting their homes and deriving an income from the rental while at the same time failing to pay homeowners, condominium or cooperative fees to the community association.  However, the County is attempting to stop this practice.

Check Your Community Association's Policies - They May be Unlawful

On March 18, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel issued a Memorandum with the intention of providing guidance to employers as to employment policies the NLRB considers unlawful.  This Memo is extensive and covers many policies your Association likely has in its employee handbook.  Many associations incorrectly believe that the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act”) does not apply to their association if they are not unionized.  To be clear, unless your association falls within a few very limited exceptions, you should assume that it is covered by the Act which covers most organizations, including community associations.

Signing Contracts

With the wear and tear from winter weather, and spring cleaning approaching, there may be several projects waiting in the wings for your association. Whether it be routine maintenance or a new construction project you will probably need to execute a contract for the work to be completed. Managers may be tempted to sign contracts for these projects, especially for a lackadaisical board or for a project that simply needs to be done. Managers, as a general rule, however, should avoid signing contracts for work performed for the association.

Secure Bike Parking Now Required in D.C. Residential Buildings

The District of Columbia has adopted rules requiring residential buildings with eight or more units to provide secure bicycle parking spaces, effective as of November 28, 2014. These rules have been added as sections 1214, 1215, and 1216 to Chapter 12 of Title 18 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.  Violations of these rules are civil infractions, punishable by fines. 

Protecting Your Community: Considerations in Creating a Safe Community Environment

The transition into the cold and dark of winter offers an excellent opportunity for community associations to analyze safety and security issues. In this article, we will examine some of the routine steps a community association can take in order to minimize the risk of crime and prevent injury in the community. We will also examine the legal issues associated with maintaining or instituting a “neighborhood watch” program.

The Hiring Process: What You Should Never Ask

Associations should exercise care when hiring new employees --   not only in selecting the right candidate but in avoiding questions that could create liability.   This can be especially important when boards of directors, who typically include directors with little to no experience in the human resources and hiring arenas, are involved in the hiring process.  Make sure to review these areas of inquiry with your boards to ensure they understand what they can and cannot ask in an interview or consider in the hiring process.

The Power of the Super-Priority Lien

On August 28, 2014, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held, in Chase Plaza Condominium Association, Inc. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., that a condominium association’s foreclosure of its super-priority lien extinguishes all junior liens -- including the first mortgage or first deed of trust on the condominium unit. The super-priority lien consists of the most recent six months of assessments owed by a unit owner to the association. This decision has a significant impact for mortgage lenders and condominium associations in the District of Columbia, as it establishes that a condominium association’s foreclosure on its lien for six months’ worth of assessments can wipe out the first trust holder’s entire security interest in the property. If there are no significant proceeds left after the association’s lien is paid from the proceeds of the sale, the first trust holder’s lien, along with all other liens with lower priority, is extinguished.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia: Open Meeting Requirements

Open Meeting requirements restrict how and when a Board of Directors may discuss Association business. In general, they require that all meetings, including those of any committee or subcommittee, be open to all members of the Association, but provide a limited set of circumstances where a Board may enter an executive or closed session to discuss certain matters in private.

Delaware Legislation Update: The New Ombudsman

On August 12, 2014, Delaware’s governor signed a bill into law creating an Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman within the Department of Justice.  What is the Ombudsman charged with doing, and how will it affect your community?

Under the new law, the Ombudsman is empowered to help Delaware communities understand their rights and responsibilities.  Equally important, the Ombudsman can also help resolved disputes between a community and its members without recourse to the judicial system. 

Is Your Community Association Sick Leave Policy in Compliance with District of Columbia Law?

In November 2008, the District of Columbia enacted the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 (“ASSLA”) which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, as well as safe leave for absences related to domestic violence or sexual abuse.  Effective March 2014, ASSLA was amended by the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 which broadens the employees covered under ASSLA, provides for additional recordkeeping, and includes stronger remedies for violations of the law. 

"Just the Facts" Virginia Common Interest Communities 2014 Legislative Changes

As a result of the 2014 General Assembly Session, a number of bills were approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor, many of which directly or indirectly impact common interest communities in Virginia. 

The new laws amend the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act, the Virginia Condominium Act, and other statutes that may affect common interest communities.  These new laws will take effect on July 1, 2014.  Below is a brief summary of the legislation that directly or indirectly influences common interest community associations. 

2014 Maryland Legislative Update

This was another busy year in Annapolis.  The bills that passed and will become law include the following topics:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Cooperative Housing Act Amendments
  • Foreclosure of Leins

A Guide to Association Records Retention: What You Need to Know

Do you know where your association’s important documents are located and how to access them quickly if necessary?  Keeping association records organized and safe can be an overwhelming task. When new members join the board, it is vital for associations to have a good set of records so that prior board actions can be reviewed when necessary. Condominium and homeowners associations are also obligated by law in many states, and often by their governing documents, to retain certain documents and make them available for owners to review upon request.

DC Updates: New Condo Act Provisions

Legislation to amend the District of Columbia Condominium Act was signed by Mayor Gray on April 28, 2014, and will go into effect as soon as the mandatory Congressional review period has expired.  Hopefully, that will be sometime before June 15, 2014.

Does Your Building Have an Asbestos Survey and an O&M Program?

If you have a pre-1981 building, you have special asbestos-related obligations.

Under federal law, any building constructed before 1981 is presumed to contain asbestos in certain installed construction materials (these materials are referred to as “ACM” or “PACM”).  This presumption covers thermal systems insulation, such as pipe wrap and duct insulation; sprayed or troweled surfacing materials, such as fireproofing and acoustical material; and asphalt and vinyl flooring and mastic. While not covered in the statutory presumption, other construction materials in buildings of the same age that frequently have been found to contain asbestos include ceiling tile, gaskets, siding and roofing material, wallboard/wallboard systems, and ceiling plaster/stucco systems.

Suspension of Community Privileges: Delaware

A community association’s ability to suspend an owner’s voting privileges and community privileges, such as parking, pool, and/or fitness center access, is a powerful tool associations can use in getting the attention of owners who are in violation of association governing documents.  This tool is typically used when an owner is delinquent in paying his or her assessments and can serve as a deterrent for non-payment as well as an effective means of assessment collection.  It is important to note, however, that before an association can proceed with suspending an owner’s voting and/or community privileges, it must carefully review its Declaration, Bylaws, and applicable statutory codes in order to determine whether it has the requisite authority to suspend such privileges, and if so, what procedures must be followed.

Suspension of Community Privileges: District of Columbia

A community association’s ability to suspend an owner’s voting privileges and community privileges, such as parking, pool, and/or fitness center access, is a powerful tool associations can use in getting the attention of owners who are in violation of association governing documents.  This tool is typically used when an owner is delinquent in paying his or her assessments and can serve as a deterrent for non-payment as well as an effective means of assessment collection.  It is important to note, however, that before an association can proceed with suspending an owner’s voting.

Suspension of Community Privileges: Maryland

A community association’s ability to suspend an owner’s voting privileges and community privileges, such as parking, pool, and/or fitness center access, is a powerful tool associations can use in getting the attention of owners who are in violation of association governing documents.  This tool is typically used when an owner is delinquent in paying his or her assessments and can serve as a deterrent for non-payment as well as an effective means of assessment collection.  It is important to note, however, that before an association can proceed with suspending an owner’s voting.

Suspension of Community Privileges: Virginia

A community association’s ability to suspend an owner’s voting privileges and community privileges, such as parking, pool, and/or fitness center access, is a powerful tool associations can use in getting the attention of owners who are in violation of association governing documents.  This tool is typically used when an owner is delinquent in paying his or her assessments and can serve as a deterrent for non-payment as well as an effective means of assessment collection.  It is important to note, however, that before an association can proceed with suspending an owner’s voting.

Understanding and Contrasting the ADA and FHA

No one who becomes a board member for their community association does so with the idea that they want to discriminate against their neighbors.  Yet, more and more boards are facing discrimination accusations under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.  It is critical, therefore, for board members - and the managers and lawyers who assist them – to understand the civil rights laws that apply to them and how these laws can affect the day to day operation of the community association.

Reserve Funds for Community Associations: Understanding the Why, How and When of Reserves

Community Associations maintain reserve accounts as a means of funding their long term needs for repair and replacement of major capital items.  These Association assets typically include all common property under Association control such as roads, roofs, swimming pools and pool decks, sidewalks and clubhouses.  Reserves are not intended to fund the Association’s everyday operating expenses, which are set forth in its annual budget. 

Control Your Board Meetings

There are many circumstances under which litigation can arise between members of a community association and the community association or its board of directors.  One tactic employed by members who are litigating with or otherwise adverse to the interests of the community association is to disrupt the open meetings of the association by having the member’s attorney attend the open board meetings as a “designee,” “proxy,” or “representative.”  This article addresses how a board of directors responds to the attendance of an attorney representing an adverse party at its board meeting.

Flagpoles - Recent Changes in Delaware Law and a Summary Comparison to Maryland and Virginia

Under the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 (the “Act”) community associations are not permitted to ban owners from displaying the American flag on the owner's unit, lot or in any area where the owner has exclusive use or possession.  However, the Act does permit community associations to place reasonable regulations on the time, place and manner in which the American flag is displayed, including the regulation of flagpoles. 

Tax Lien Certificate Sales in DC

Tax lien certificate sales pose many questions and potential problems for condominium associations in the District of Columbia. They can strip an Association of all its liens on a property, or act as tool to remove a chronically delinquent owner or even net the Association a substantial profit. As such, it is in the best interest of all Associations to monitor tax lien certificate sales and be cognizant of their rights and options.

The Critical Role of the Board in Amending Governing Documents

Evolving community needs and changing legal requirements often present a community association board of directors with a daunting task: amending the association’s governing documents.  A well-crafted amendment that complies with applicable law is the obvious objective of any board of directors that is considering proposing revisions to its governing documents.  Developing this amendment document itself is generally the easy part of the amendment process if the association is represented by an experienced community association attorney. 

Delaware Code Amendments Authorizing Flagpole

In July, the General Assembly of the State of Delaware amended several sections of Title 25 for the stated purpose:

… to permit a real property owner or tenant to display an American flag on a pole attached to the exterior of the property’s structure or on a flagpole located within the property’s boundaries, provided the flagpole does not exceed 25 feet in height and conforms to all setback requirements. Any and all community restrictions to the contrary will not be enforceable.

Foreclosures by Community Associations in Delaware

Under the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (“DUCIOA”), certain community associations are authorized to foreclose liens just like foreclosing a mortgage on real estate.  In Delaware, all mortgage foreclosures are by judicial process and typically take more than ten months to complete when initiated by a secured mortgage lender.  When a homeowner defaults on a mortgage, a lender or association may begin the foreclosure process with the filing of a complaint in court in the county where the property is located.  Once judgment has been granted in the association's favor, the association must first try to recoup the delinquent fees from the homeowner's personal assets (i.e., garnishing wages and attaching personal property).  Once those methods have been exhausted and part or all of the judgment remains unpaid, the association, like a mortgage lender, may proceed to foreclosure.

Lien Foreclosure in Maryland

With assessment collections continuing to be problem for many community associations in Maryland, manager and board members alike are exploring alternative methods for collecting delinquent assessments. Here is a summary of the general process and timetable for the lien foreclosure procedure in Maryland.

The D.C. Foreclosure Process

After the "Great Recession" that began in 2008, many individuals have fallen behind on their mortgage payments and/or condominium or homeowners assessments.  However, Boards of Directors have a fiduciary duty to their members to ensure the financial stability of their communities, so they may need to consider the option of foreclosing on a unit in order to get a new owner in the property who will pay the assessments.

CA Alert: 2007 Changes to Virginia Resale Certificate Laws


On July 1, the 2007 amendments to the Virginia laws related to charges for resale certificates go into effect. During its just concluded session, the Virginia General Assembly amended the Virginia Condominium Act (the “Condominium Act”) and the Virginia Property Owners Associations Act (the “POAA”) provisions related to charges for resale disclosure certificates. This Alert describes the permissible charges for preparing and providing resale disclosure certificates and will also discuss the time at which these charges may be imposed.

"Just the Facts," Virginia Common Interest Communities 2013 Legislative Changes

The 2013 General Assembly session was recently completed, and it resulted in a number of new laws that directly or indirectly impact common interest communities in Virginia. 

The new laws amend the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act, the Virginia Condominium Act, and other statutes that may affect common interest communities.  These new laws take effect on July 1, 2013 except as otherwise noted herein.  Below is a brief summary of the changes that you should be aware of.

"Mini-COBRA" for Small Employers

You have probably heard of the federal government's COBRA law -- it requires employers to continue group health coverage for some former employees or their dependents for a specific period of time after the end of employment.  However, the federal COBRA requirement only applies to companies with 20 employees or more, so you may think you're off the hook if your property management company or community association has under 20 employees.

Maryland Court of Special Appeals Upholds Board's Decision to Deny Architectural Application

A recently reported decision issued by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals offers some guidance and support for community associations on two issues that are frequently the subject of homeowner disputes. The case of Randall Reiner, et ux. v. Clifford Ehrlich, et al. involved a homeowners association’s denial of a request to install a new roof on a home using materials not authorized by the bylaws of the association. The Plaintiffs in the case filed suit against the homeowners association and sixteen individual community members. After holding a hearing, the underlying circuit court dismissed the complaint as to the individual homeowners, and entered summary judgment in favor of the homeowners association. On appeal, the Court of Special Appeals held that the granting of summary judgment in favor of the Association and the dismissal of the individual homeowners was proper.

E-Mail; Pitfalls and Precautions

Boards of Directors will find it useful to set up and maintain an email service for the Board members to conduct their business, but should make an effort to educate users to limit their communications to relevant business topics to avoid violating any open meeting requirements.

Installation of Electric Car Charging Stations

Over the past year, community boards have faced an increasing number of requests from owners wishing to install electric car charging stations (“ECCS”) in their assigned common element or limited common element parking spots. Given the growing popularity of fuel efficient vehicles, community boards can only expect to receive mounting requests of this nature in the future. In this article, we will explore a number of issues that community boards should consider with respect to the installation and maintenance of ECCS. 

FHA Certification and Recertification

FHA certification makes it easier to sell units in your condominium association.  Applying for FHA certification has become more straightforward recently.

Foreclosures in the District of Columbia - What Can Condominium Associations Do?

The good news for District of Columbia residents is that the real estate market is strong, prices of condominiums, in particular, are rebounding, and the foreclosure rate is low. All these things are true, but they do not tell the real story about foreclosures and the underlying effects on community associations in the District of Columbia.

"Let it Snow!" Practical Advice for Handling Ice and Snow in Community Associations

In 2010, D.C., Maryland and Virginia were paralyzed by historic records of snowfall.  In addition to the general headaches of traffic jams, school closings, and lack of power and services, community associations had to deal with snow removal.  Snowstorms in community associations often result in busted budgets, slippery sidewalks and parking lots, and the possibility of a slip-and-fall lawsuit.  So how can a community association protect itself?

Due Process Changes in Virginia

Review your declaration and bylaws carefully.  The penalties that a board can impose for violations need to be based in those documents, not just your rules and regulations.

Enforcing Covenants in Maryland and the District of Columbia

Having good rules is one thing; enforcing them is another.  Particularly if your board has the power to impose fines on violators, you need to be careful to follow the correct process.  In effect, your board is acting like a judge and jury, so local laws may require safeguards to protect the owners.

Key Provisions in the New Maryland Towing Law

The Maryland General Assembly made changes to the Maryland State Transportation Code, effective October 1, 2012, regulating towing procedures for all Maryland community associations.

"Just the Facts" Virginia Common Interest Communities 2012 Legislative Changes

The 2012 General Assembly resulted in a number of changes that directly or indirectly impact common interest communities in Virginia.  The new laws amend the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act, the Virginia Condominium Act, and the Common Interest Communities.  These new laws take effect on July 1, 2012.  Below is a brief summary of the legislation that directly or indirectly impacts common interest community associations. 

Maryland: Strict Liability for Pit Bull Attacks

On April 26, 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest Court in Maryland, held that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous" and imposed strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their pit bulls or pit bull mixes. This strict liability standard applies not only to the dogs' owners, but also to other persons who have the "right to control the pit bull's presence on the subject premises" and know, or have reason to know, that there is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull mix on the premises.

Swim Meets and the Department of Justice

As we approach the summer months, many questions have been raised regarding whether conducting swim meets, in which teams whose members are not residents of a community association, and whether an obligation that the swimming pool where the swim meets occur, be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act's ("ADA") accessibility requirements. Many associations, as a public service, provide their facilities to swim teams for such meets.

Construction Renovation Contracts 101: Six Key Considerations for Proactive Boards and Managers

One of the most challenging responsibilities for association board members and the association manager is renovation contracts.  It is a fact of life that community associations must periodically perform small and large construction renovations—everything from lobby updates to balcony repairs and garage resurfacing, from window and roof replacements to new HVAC system installations.  Before signing a construction renovation contract, boards and managers should understand the potential risks and be prepared to minimize them.

Getting Ready for the Pool Season

In a few months, community associations around the region will be opening up their pools in preparation for the summer season.   Running an association pool, of course, comes with a host of issues, including: training and certifying lifeguards; maintaining, repairing and replacing the equipment itself; and enforcing the rules and regulations for using the pool.   This article will focus on two separate issues: the Virginia Graeme-Baker Act and the responsibilities of community associations under the federal and state non-discrimination statutes.

Holiday Parties: Licensing and Liability

The holiday party season is upon us.  Whether you're giving a small private party for employees, a large community event, or a private event within the community, questions often arise regarding the sale and service of alcoholic beverages and potential liability issues for community associations.  The best way to ensure that your event is a success and your association is protected from liability is through careful planning and knowing the law.  

Fiduciary Duty: Understand It -- Don't Fear It!

Members of a Community Association Board are sometimes confronted with an accusation that they have breached their fiduciary duty -- that is, the duty they owe their fellow owners to act impartially in the best interest of the entire community.

Some Rules for Developing and Enforcing Rules

Rules development and enforcement are critically important areas for condominiums, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives.  In developing and enforcing rules the board must be diligent, careful and resolute, but must keep things in perspective.  If an association's rules are not respected by the residents, or if rule enforcement is poorly handled, the result will be a decline in respect for the association, which can translate into greater dissension in the community, increased numbers of rule violations, and increased delinquent assessments.

Client Alert: Department of Justice Enacts New Americans with Disabilities Standards That Could Affect Community Associations

Members of community associations must be aware that the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") has recently issued standards for how it interprets the ADA provisions.  Under those standards, if a community association's swimming pool is open to other than members of the association and their guests; it will be deemed a place of public accommodation.  If it is a place of public accommodation, then the ADA requires that there be at least one means of ingress and egress to the pool for persons with disabilities if the perimeter of the pool is 300 linear feet or less and a second means if the pool perimeter is more than 300 linear feet.

"Just the Facts" - Virginia Common Interest Communities 2011 Legislative Changes

The 2011 General Assembly session was an active one in Virginia. A number of new provisions will directly or indirectly impact common interest communities in Virginia. The new laws amend the Virginia Property Owners' Association Act, the Virginia Condominium Act, the Common Interest Community Management statutes, and the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act. The sections of the law that are affected by the changes are listed; unless otherwise noted, the references are to the Virginia Code. These new laws took effect on July 1, 2011, unless otherwise noted in the summaries below.

D.C. Condominium Act Amendments Are On the Move

The D.C. Legislative Action Committee is attempting to introduce a bill to amend the D.C. Condominium Act to make certain changes that Boards should be aware of. Although these amendments have not been passed yet, Boards should understand the amendments and prepare for them accordingly. Below is a brief summary of some of the key amendments that have been proposed.

Delaware Update -- Getting Used to DUCIOA

The Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act ("DUCIOA"), 25 Del. C. § 81-101, et seq., originally effective July 1, 2009, substantially changed the landscape for Delaware communities. The DUCIOA and sections of Delaware's prior statute, the Unit Property Act, were substantially amended prior to the DUCIOA effective date to address input from builder, realtor and association constituencies. Delaware communities have been subject to the strictures of the as-amended DUCIOA since September 30, 2009, with additional revisions effective August 11, 2010 to clarify certain small-community exceptions and make changes to the resale certificate requirements.

Maryland Passes Priority Lien Bill and other Legislative Updates for 2011

After 17 years of pursuing this legislation, Maryland has passed a priority lien bill. Pursuant to this new law, Association liens have a limited priority over the claim of a mortgage holder whose loan is entered into on or after October 1, 2011. The Association's priority is limited to four months of assessments with a cap of $1,200. This priority amount will be paid from the funds of any foreclosure sale prior to the claim of any other creditor, including a mortgage holder. While this law applies only to future mortgages, it will quickly become an important collection tool for Associations, who today often see their liens extinguished by foreclosure with no payment made towards the delinquency.

CLIENT ALERT: "Just the Facts" - Virginia Common Interest Communities: 2010 Legislative Changes

The 2010 General Assembly session proved to be an active one here in Virginia. While a number of bills were introduced at the beginning of this session that would have directly or indirectly impacted common interest communities in Virginia, only a few bills were actually approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. The new laws amend the Virginia Property Owners' Association Act, the Virginia Condominium Act, the Common Interest Community Management statutes, the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, and the Virginia Flood Protection and Dam Safety statutes. These new laws all took effect on July 1, 2010, unless otherwise noted herein. Below is a brief summary of the legislation that directly or indirectly impacts common interest community associations.

New Maryland Law Forbids Prohibition of Clotheslines in Condominiums, Homeowner Associations, and Cooperatives

On May 4, 2010, Governor O'Malley signed into law Maryland SB 224, the so-called "Right-to-Dry" legislation, which requires condominium associations, homeowner associations, and cooperatives to allow homeowners to install clotheslines on their property. The new law, effective on October 1, 2010, adds section 14-130 to the Real Property Code, "Installation and Use of Clotheslines on Residential Property." Please click here to read the full law.

Can Your Association Benefit From Energy Tax Credits?

Condominium associations that made improvements to their common areas or common elements in 2009 should consider whether those improvements qualify for either the Non-business Energy Property Credit or the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.

Unlike a tax deduction, a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar credit against any federal income tax owed. For example, a $200 tax credit is deducted from the tax owed, reducing the taxpayer's liability by $200.

Newsletters

Community Associations Newsletter - September 2018

Why You Shouldn’t Deal With Mold Yourself - And It’s Not Just Because You Don’t Have Mr. Clean’s Abs

Maryland Legislative Update

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: When Asking Too Much Of Your Community Manager Becomes Risky Business – You Need Expert Advice

Community Associations Newsletter - May 2018

Virginia: 2018 Legislative Update for Common Interest Communities

To Foreclose or Not To Foreclose? What To Consider When That Is The Question

2018 Maryland Legislative Updates

Community Associations Newsletter - January 2018

It’s My Right! Statutory Books and Records Inspections by Owners

Service Animals/Assistance Animals: Can They Vacation In Your Community?

Insurance Requirements For Condominium Owners

Community Associations Newsletter - July 2017

Fairfax County Seeks Your Input on Short-Term Property Rentals

Maryland's High Court Strikes Condominium's Rule Restricting Access to Common Areas

Barbecues, Grilling, and your Community Association: Local Rules You Need to Know

New Rules and Regulations for Aquatic Facilities in the District of Columbia

Community Associations Newsletter - May 2017

What Happens When Local Ordinances Conflict with your Governing Documents? – A Survey of the Conflict of Law Provisions for the Northern Virginia & Fredericksburg Areas

Maryland Common Interest Communities 2017 Legislative Changes

Virginia: 2017 Legislative Update for Common Interest Communities

Community Associations Newsletter - April 2017

Preparing Your Association for Pool Season

The Decision to Serve Alcohol Will Never Be Dry: Things to Consider Before Serving Alcohol at Your Next Community Event

Tree Liability in Maryland, DC, and Virginia

Community Associations Newsletter - January 2017

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

Do Community Associations Have the Authority to Regulate Drone Usage on Their Common Area or Common Elements?

Bankruptcy Issues:  Automatic Stay

Community Associations Update - October 2016

Montgomery County Employers Must Provide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Effective October 1, 2016

HAM Radio Legislation: Why it Matters to Community Associations

Community Association Restrictions on Political Signs

Community Associations Update - March 2016

Recent Developments - Amending Virginia HOA Governing Documents

Are District of Columbia Condominium Associations Required to Register with DCRA and/or Obtain Business Licenses

Price George's County Council Recently Adpots New Legislation Establishing A Commission On Common Ownership Communities

Community Associations Update - February 2016

New DOL Regulations: Proper Classification of Community Association Employees Matters

Expanding the Marketability of Units in Your Condominium Association to a Bigger Pool of Potential Buyers: FHA Certification and Recertification

Shoveling Out - Snow Removal Responsibilites and Liability for Community Associations

Community Associations Update - September 2014

Is Your Community Association Sick Leave Policy in Compliance with District of Columbia Law?

Delaware Legislation Update: The New Ombudsman

D.C., Maryland and Virginia: Open Meeting Requirements

Community Associations Update - May 2014

A Guide to Association Records Retention: What You Need to Know

Does Your Building Have an Asbestos Survey and an O & M Program? Why It Matters if Your Building is in D.C.

D.C. Updates: New Condo Act Provisions

Community Associations Update - February 2014

Control Your Board Meetings

Flagpoles - Recent Changes in Delaware Law and a Summary Comparison to Maryland and Virginia

Reserve Funds for Community Associations: Understanding the Why, How and When of Reserves

Community Associations Update - November 2013

Recommended Practices for Community Associations When Creating Websites and Using Social Media

The Critical Role of the Board in Amending Governing Documents

Tax Lien Certificate Sales in DC

Community Associations Update - June 2013

"Mini-COBRA" for Small Employers

"Just the Facts," Virginia Common Interest Communities 2013 Legislative Changes

Maryland Court of Special Appeals Upholds Board's Decision to Deny Architectural Application

Community Associations Update - April 2013

Maryland: Who Bears the Burden of Proof as to the Reasonableness of a Requested Accommodation

E-mail: Pitfalls and Precautions

Installation of Electric Car Charging Stations

New Form I-9 Released

Community Associations Update - March 2013

Minimizing Risk: The Importance of Conducting Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Training

FHA Certification and Recertification

Foreclosures in the District of Columbia - What Can Condominium Associations Do?

Community Associations Update - February 2013

"Let it Snow!" Practical Advice for Handling Ice and Snow in Community Associations

Enforcing Convenants in Maryland and the District of Columbia

Due Process Changes in Virginia

Community Associations Update - July 2011

"Just the Facts" - Virginia Common Interest Communities 2011 Legislative Changes

Maryland Passes Priority Lien Bill and Other Legislative Updates for 2011

D.C. Condominium Act Amendments Are On the Move

Delaware Update -- Getting Used to DUCIOA

Community Associations Update - Fall 2009

The Importance of Having a Modification/Accommodation Policy

Cable & Satellite Companies Can't Be Exclusive Provideres in Your Community

Protecting Your Association From Identity Theft

Community Associations Update - Summer 2009

Virginia Common Interest Communities 2009 Legislative Changes

Community Associations in the District of Columbia and the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Act of 2007

District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Will Not Require D.C. Condominiums to Obtain a Basic Business License

How to "Green" Your Community: Key Considerations

Community Associations Update - Summer 2008

2008 Virginia Legislative Update General Assembly -- House Bill 516

Community Associations and the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Act Of  2007

Maryland Court of Appeals Hands Victory to Condominium Associations

The Pack Rat: A Community's Dilema

Events

Legum and Norman Annual Board Training Seminar - WTP Speaking

On 5/7, Chad Toms and Ray Via co-present with Ron Kirby from Associa Building Reserves at the Legum and Norman Annual Board Training Seminar at the Clarion Resort Fountainebleau Hotel, Ocean City, MD.  The presentation, “Key Things Every Board Member Should Know,” will cover:  Board responsibilities, how to run an election/nominating committee, how technology and social media can affect community associations, how to read and understand a reserve study, and legislative updates.

Washington Metropolitan Chapter CAI Workshop : D.C. Homeowner Education - WTP Speaking

This workshop will focus on two modules from the Board Leadership Development Workshop. In addition, experienced managers and attorneys from D.C. will provide training to improve understanding of community association financial statements. The program will provide updates regarding legislative action in the city. 

Board Training Seminar - WTP Speaking

Chad Toms and Ray Via will present at a Board Training Seminar on "Is Your Association Being Effectively Managed?"  WTP will co-host the seminar with Legum & Norman, Inc. and PKS & Company, P.A.

Community Associations Institute Breakfast Seminar - WTP Speaking

Chad Toms and Ray Via will speak at the Chesapeake Region Chapter Community Associations Institute Breakfast Seminar. They will present on "Reserve Study, Rebuild Insurance Evaluation, Transition Study, What are They and Why Do We Need Them?"

News

Marla Diaz Named Leader in the Law by Virginia Lawyers Weekly

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that Marla Diaz, a partner in the firm’s Falls Church office, has been named by Virginia Lawyers Weekly to the 2018 Class of “Leaders in the Law.”  Now in its 13th year, the Leaders in the Law program recognizes those lawyers across the commonwealth who set the standard for other lawyers in Virginia by changing the law, serving the community, changing practice or improving Virginia’s justice system.

Drew Terrell has been named a member of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL)

Whiteford is very pleased to note that Drew Terrell, co-chair of our Community Associations group, has been named a member of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL).  Of the thousands of attorneys practicing community association law in the United States, fewer than 150 have been admitted to this prestigious organization.  Two other partners in the group, Joseph Douglass and Raymond Diaz, are also CCAL members.  

Edward J. O'Connell III Inducted as President of WMCCAI

Whiteford Taylor & Preston is delighted to announce that our partner, Edward J. O’Connell III has been inducted as the president of the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute.

Grosvenor Park Maintenance Trust Association Wins at Maryland Court of Special Appeals

Washington, DC. On November 1, 2012, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in favor of the Grosvenor Park Maintenance Trust Association in a lawsuit against 10101 Grosvenor Park Condominium.

Brenda Curtis-Heiken, the President of the Association, said, “I truly believed that we had the very best legal team, and I knew we would win! Thank you and your entire legal team for all the long hours and hard work.”

Harborview Condominium Wins Summary Judgment In Clark v. Zalco Realty, Inc.

On April 9, 2012, Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill released his opinion granting summary judgment to the unit owners of Harborview Condominium and Zalco Realty, Inc., the condominium’s property management company.  The plaintiff had claimed $2.5 million in compensatory damages and an additional $2.5 million in punitive damages.

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Increases Its Number of Falls Church Attorneys and Expands Its Northern Virginia Location

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP (WTP) has expanded its Falls Church office - by increasing the number of attorneys and enlarging its office space. Glenn R. Bonard, Eileen Morgan Johnson, Thomas Mugavero, Christy Richardson, and Andrew J. Terrell have joined Raymond J. Diaz, Michael Gartner, Christopher A. Jones, Katherine McCarthy, Edward J. O'Connell, and Eric A. Vendt in WTP's offices at 3190 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22042.

Andrew J. Terrell Named Educator of the Year by Community Associations Institute

Andrew J. Terrell, a partner and head of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston's Washington, D.C. and Virginia offices, was recently honored as Educator of the Year by the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (WMCCAI).  Terrell was presented with the award at WMCCAI's Red Carpet Affair-themed dinner emceed by broadcast journalist J.C. Hayward on November 3, 2007, at Chantilly's Marriott Westfields Washington Dulles. 

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Opens Office in Falls Church

Prior to its 75th anniversary, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston (WTP) is proud to announce the opening of its Falls Church office.  Located at 3190 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA 22042, the office officially opened for business on May 31, 2007.