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Maryland Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 1, 2012
  • Five Ways to Improve Community Association Collections (MD)
    Community associations face many challenges, none more so than funding the upkeep and welfare of their communities. An owner who refuses to pay their share can put a heavy strain on a community association’s finances. Community associations must be proactive and aggressive in protecting their interests. Read the article…………………………….
  • How to do battle with your homeowners association
    Homeowners’ Associations, also known as HOAs, are often necessary and helpful — especially in multi-unit dwellings or communities with a lot of common areas — but if you poll your neighbors about whether they enjoy living in one, you’ll likely receive mixed reviews.   Read the article……………………………….
  • Montgomery County’s Existing High-Rise Building Sprinkler Program Maryland 2023 (MD)
    As of February 2023, a total of seventy-six (76) high rise buildings in Montgomery County do not have sprinklers in each unit. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that more than 2,500 people die in home fires each year. Yet, the risk of dying in a home fire decreases by about 80% when a home is equipped with a fire sprinkler system. Accordingly, for the safety of residents, visitors, and first responders, the Maryland State Fire Marshall has mandated that all existing residential high-rise buildings be completely retrofitted with sprinkler systems by January 1, 2033 to comply with Fire and Life safety codes.   Read the article………………………..
  • Addressing Complaints of Marijuana Smoke In Community Associations Following Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana Use In Delaware and Maryland
    As of April 23, 2023, and July 1, 2023, Delaware and Maryland, respectively, have legalized the personal use of marijuana. In light of the recent laws, common interest communities across these two states may soon (if not already), contemplate how to appropriately address an uptick in complaints related to marijuana smoke.    Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Maryland Legislative Update
    The 2023 legislative session has produced several changes to the Maryland laws applicable to community associations. This article provides a brief summary of these community association related bills recently passed by the Maryland General Assembly. Please note: All new laws set forth below will take effect on October 1, 2023.    Read the article………………………..
  • Changes to Condominium Insurance Requirements For “Detached” Units (MD)
    House Bill 98, making changes to condominium insurance requirements, was passed during this year’s legislative session and signed into law by Governor Moore. It amends Section 11-=114 of the Condominium Act concerning the mandatory insurance that is required to be maintained by the Council of Unit Owners.    Read the article………………………..
  • Changes to Condominium Insurance Requirements For “Detached” Units (MD)
    House Bill 98, making changes to condominium insurance requirements, was passed during this year’s legislative session and signed into law by Governor Moore. It amends Section 11-=114 of the Condominium Act concerning the mandatory insurance that is required to be maintained by the Council of Unit Owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Contract; de jure homeowners’ association: Where a majority of homeowners in a townhouse community purported to amend the declaration (MD)
    Where a majority of homeowners in a townhouse community purported to amend the declaration to retroactively approve prior alterations to units, but the authority to amend the declaration applied only to a homeowners’ association, and there was no homeowners’ association, the purported amendment was unenforceable.   Read the article………………………..
  • Insurer Springs a Leak in Its Pursuit of Subrogation (MD)
    In Nationwide Prop & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Fireline Corp., No. 1:20-cv-00684, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104241, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (District Court) considered whether the events giving rise to the plaintiff’s claims fell within the scope of a previously formed agreement, thereby rendering the plaintiff’s claims subject to the agreement’s time limitation and waiver of subrogation provisions. The District Court found that the claims fell within the scope of the agreement.   Read the article………………………..
  • Maryland Reserve Studies – What to Know; What to Do
    In Maryland, condominiums have existed since at least 1964, when the plats for Charles Village Condominium and Central Park Condominium were recorded in the Land Records of Prince George’s County. However, housing cooperatives and homeowners associations predate even that.   Read the article………………………..
  • Reserve studies of common areas (MD)
    In this week’s article, we will wrap up provisions of the new law as they relate to who can conduct the reserve study and requirements of associations in providing the reserve study information to owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Update For Maryland Community Associations
    The Maryland General Assembly’s 2023 legislative session was the first under new Governor Wes Moore and resulted in several new laws that will affect community associations. There were also bills that failed which, had they passed, would have impacted community associations. Here are the updates:   Read the article………………………..
  • Love it or Hate it, Your Community’s Governing Documents Reign Supreme
    The host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently made waves by criticizing common ownership community standards and enforcement actions. What John Oliver failed to mention is that associations not only have a right to regulate and enforce their governing documents, but an obligation to do so and residents have an obligation to comply.   Read the article………………………..
  • Maryland Protects Homeowners who want to Protect their Environment
    A recent change in Maryland law has made this old saying true for lawns and gardens within HOAs. Section 2-125 of the Maryland Real Property Article now prohibits homeowners associations from imposing their standard of “beauty” on the lawn of an owner or resident.   Read the article………………………..
  • How To Handle an HOA Member Who Refuses To Pay (MD)
    Obviously, member fees are important for running an HOA. They provide the income the community needs to function well. When an HOA member refuses to pay, it can greatly harm the community.  In the rest of this article, we will tell you how to handle the situation the next time an HOA member refuses to pay.    Read the article………………………..
  • House Bill Would Authorize Local Governments To Create An Infrastructure Fund (MD)
    House Bill 55, now pending in the Maryland General Assembly, would authorize a county or municipality to “establish a local trust fund or other appropriate fund for the purpose of repairing or rehabilitating infrastructure with communities that are subject to the requirements of the Maryland Condominium Act or the Maryland Homeowners Association Act.”   Read the article………………………..
  • How To Keep Residents Engaged in Their HOA (MD)
    Living in an HOA community is an inherently communal experience. Yes, everyone has their own home. However, neighbors all live close to one another. Everyone has a vested interest in the community succeeding.   Read the article………………………..
  • Condo rules for animals vary widely
    When my clients are considering the purchase of a condominium or cooperative, they initially have three association guidelines on their minds: the rental policy, the renovation policy, and the pet policy.   Read the article………………………..
  • Nature in the Valley: Brandon Farms meadow offers lessons for all
    My email box was completely filled with forwards of the New York Times Dec. 14 article entitled, “They Fought the Lawn. And the Lawn’s Done.” What made the story so compelling was that it had all the elements of a blockbuster film: a simple scenario with a relatable protagonist who overcame significant challenges in her desire to do good.   Read the article………………………..
  • LANCASTER NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC. v. LANCASTER TOWNHOMES ASSOCIATION, INC. (MD)
    This is an appeal from the dismissal of a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief by the Circuit Court for Charles County. In September 2019, Appellee, Lancaster Townhomes Association, Inc., (“LTA”) constructed a fence within its community without seeking prior approval from the Westlake Village Planning and Design Review Board (“PDRB”). An adjacent community, Appellant, Lancaster Neighborhood Association, Inc., (“LNA”) filed a Complaint in the circuit court, requesting the court order LTA to remove the fence.   Read the opinion (PDF)……………………………..
  • Understanding the roles of the HOA board in Maryland
    If you live in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA), you are probably familiar with the board. They may have told you to pay fees, abide by the set laws in that community and so on. To understand why this is the case or why they have such powers, you need to know the people who make HOA what it is.    Read the article………………………..
  • 2022 Maryland Legislative Update
    The 2022 legislative session has produced several changes to the Maryland laws applicable to community associations. This article provides a brief summary of these community association related bills recently passed by the Maryland General Assembly. Please note: All new laws set forth below will take effect on October 1, 2022.   Read the article………………………..
  • Statewide Reserve Studies and Funding Required Effective October 1, 2022 (MD)
    Building on the requirements put into place for Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties over the last couple of years, the Maryland legislature passed additional legislation requiring reserve studies and full reserve funding for ALL homeowners associations, condominium associations and cooperative associations (collectively, “Community Associations”) in all counties statewide.  Read the article………………………..
  • Lawmakers push for more regulation (MD)
    There have recently been cases of financial irregularities with Maryland HOAs, and one lawmaker is pushing for more regulation. He is seeking more protection for consumers. The aim is to train community managers to know the rules in order to make decisions that benefit the homeowners as well as the HOA.   Read the article………………………..
  • Master policies at condos only cover exterior
    Condominium associations provide master policy insurance coverage, but a master policy usually covers only the building’s exterior and common areas.  To have coverage for what is inside your condo unit, an H06 insurance policy is usually recommended and, in most cases, required, especially if there is a mortgage on the property.   Read the article………………………..
  • All Condos and HOAs Are Now Required To Undertake Regular Reserve Studies (MD)
    As previously reported, during the 2022 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed new legislation requiring all condominiums, homeowner associations, and housing cooperatives to undertake regular reserve studies of common area components.   Read the article………………………..
  • All Condos and HOAs Are Now Be Required To Undertake Regular Reserve Studies (MD)
    As previously reported, during the 2022 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed new legislation requiring all condominiums, homeowner associations, and housing cooperatives to undertake regular reserve studies of common area components. The Governor did not sign the bill, but it became law under Art. II, Sec. 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution, which provides that a bill send to the Governor becomes law if the Governor does not veto the bill with 30 days of its presentment.   Read the article………………………
  • Case Law Breakdown: The Interested Director in Maryland
    The opinion issued by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently in the case of Cherington Condominium v. Kenney delved into issues relating to the Business Judgment Rule.  Read the article…………………..
  • HB 107 –Reserve Studies and Funding Becomes Law! (MD)
    The bill requires the governing body of certain cooperative housing corporations, condominiums, or homeowners associations to have a reserve study conducted of the common areas and update the study every fivey ears. It also imposes certainannual budget requirements related to cooperative housing corporation, condominium, or homeowners association     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maryland law affects the decisions of HOA boards
    The homeowners’ association (HOA) establishes and enforces the rules and responsibilities of homeowners within a neighborhood. However, Maryland’s laws control the actions that all community associations take. The legislation determines how associations are formed, the rights of each member and the extent of their powers over other people.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 2022 Maryland Community Association Legislative Update
    The 2022 Maryland General Assembly was an active session for the community association industry. Four bills of particular significance to Maryland’s more than 6,800 common interest communities will become law.  These bills will take effect on October 1, 2022.   Read the article………………………..
  • If You Play the Business Judgment Card, I’ll Play the Interested Director Card (MD)
    In Cherington Condo. v. Kenney, No. 157, Sept. Term, 2021, 2022 WL 959967 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Mar. 31, 2022), the Board of the Cherington Condominium Association in Montgomery County voted to require that all residents pay for the maintenance of outdoor spaces around the townhouse units.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Just Because a Resident Has a Disability, an Accommodation May Not Be Reasonable
    The parties to this suit both reside in a condominium association. Each party owns a unit, and each has parking spaces. The dispute is over the fact that when the Grudziecki parks their car in their parking spot, even within the lines, it is difficult, if not impossible, to access the ramp to the garage entrance and elevator area from the left side.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • PARK SUTTON CONDOMINIUM, INC. and BARKAN MANAGEMENT, LLC v. DORA C. JOHNS (MD)
    In the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Dora C. Johns, appellee, brought an action against Park Sutton Condominium, Inc. and Barkan Management, LLC, appellants, for breach of contract, negligence, nuisance, trespass, fraud, and negligent representation. Appellants answered her Complaint and filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which was granted as to the nuisance and trespass issues, as well as the breach of contract issue for appellant Barkan.   Read the opinion (PDF)
  • Resolving HOA disputes in Maryland
    Living in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA) in Maryland can be wonderful – until there is a dispute. Then, it can feel like living in a dictatorship. If you are having trouble resolving an HOA dispute, don’t worry – you are not alone. Here’s the ultimate guide to resolving HOA disputes, covering everything from what to do when you first encounter a problem to resolving it amicably.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Disagreements with your condo or homeowners association in Maryland
    You live in a homeowners association (“HOA”) or a condominium (“condo”) and you want to build a shed or put up Halloween decorations outside your unit. So, you build that shed or you put up orange lights and a pumpkin on your balcony. The next thing you know, the HOA or condo board has sent you a notice of violation to immediately remove that shed or the decorations.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • How to resolve HOA disputes (MD)
    Disputes involving HOAs, also known as homeowners’ associations, in Maryland are more common than you realize. No matter what type of community you manage, it’s likely that some people may not get along or object to something happening within your borders. Because of this possibility, you should have a strategy to deal with HOA disputes.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Comparative Hardship in Covenant Disputes (MD)
    In court, disputes over covenants in HOAs and condos are typically governed by the rules of equity. What this means is that courts are more inclined to consider fairness to the parties and certain outside factors than they otherwise would be in a straight breach-of-contract action. What this does not mean is that the law and the terms of the covenant go out the window and the court just tries to make things easier on everyone. The law still applies; outside considerations are just permitted as a factor.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maryland Legislative Update 2021
    There are seven new laws that were passed during the 2021 Maryland Legislative Session that directly impact community associations in Maryland. All of the new laws are effective October 1, 2021, with the exception of the new law pertaining to virtual meetings which became effective on June 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maryland Legislative Update 2021
    There are seven new laws that were passed during the 2021 Maryland Legislative Session that directly impact community associations in Maryland. All of the new laws are effective October 1, 2021, with the exception of the new law pertaining to virtual meetings which became effective on June 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What HOAs need to know about construction defects in Maryland
    It can be hard to tell what maintenance issues are the responsibility of the individual homeowner to fix and what’s the homeowner association’s responsibility. Construction defects are one of the gray areas where responsibility isn’t automatically known.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maryland – Right to Compost for HOAs and Condos
    The right to engage in composting is often prohibited or highly restricted for those living within homeowners’ associations (HOAs) or condominiums. Maryland House Bill 248, which became law on May 30th, 2021 without the Governor’s signature, clarifies rights and restrictions on composting regulations in condominiums and HOAs throughout Maryland. The new law, sponsored by Delegate Emily Shetty (District 18), allows condominium and HOA unit owners to subscribe to food scrap collection services and HOA lot owners to compost at home. It will take effect on October 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Condo Collapse Is a Lesson For Everyone
    The tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers Condominium in Surfside Florida, and the horrific consequences to residents and their families, will, no doubt, continue to be the subject of multiple news reports and long-term investigations. And it will be some time before we learn the true cause of the disaster, and how it might have been prevented.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The responsibilities of HOAs to homeowners (MD)
    If you live in Maryland and you are on the board of a homeowner association, you have certain responsibilities to homeowners and to the community at large. It is important to follow the association’s procedures carefully. Failing to do so or to hold all homeowners to the same standards can jeopardize an association’s ability to maintain the rules and function effectively.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Four things your HOA isn’t allowed to do (MD)
    If you own a Maryland residence, you might be part of a homeowner’s association. Many neighborhoods form these associations to ensure that all members follow a specified set of rules. By following these rules, you get to enjoy the amenities offered by your homeowner’s association. With that said, there are times when an HOA might overstep its boundaries. Here’s a list of things that they are not allowed to do.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Mediation, Arbitration & Litigation: A Comparison for Community Associations
    When community associations become embroiled in legal disputes, there are three main methods of resolution: mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Mediation is a non-binding process where a neutral third party attempts to assist the parties in reaching a voluntary resolution of their dispute. In contrast, litigation and arbitration are both binding proceedings where a private arbitrator, judge, or jury decide how the dispute is to be resolved.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Maryland HOA Common Area Warranty
    In Maryland there is an implied warranty on the construction of the common areas within a homeowners association (‘HOA”) community. The warranty is codified at Section 11B-110 of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act (“MD HOA Act”), and provides that “there shall be an implied warranty to the homeowners association” that the improvements to the common areas are:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maryland Raises Insurance Deductible Unit Owner Responsibility to $10,000
    The Maryland Legislative Action Committee won a great victory for condominiums throughout Maryland in 2020 with the passage of House Bill 108 and Senate Bill 175. Sponsored by Del. Dana Stein (D-Dist 11) and Sen. Chris West (R-Dist 42), these bills served to raise the maximum amount of the master insurance policy deductible that a unit owner may be held responsible for from $5,000 to $10,000, keeping pace with the increasing deductibles that condominiums are facing.    Read the article……………………………………….
  • Short-Term Rentals Such as AirBNBs in Your Community (MD)
    This month we are discussing short-term rentals and the impact they may have on your community as well as some of the recent laws enacted regulating the same. This newsletter also explores ways in which a community association can protect itself from the negative impacts of short-term rentals.   Read the article…………………………………
  • 4 steps for collecting delinquent HOA fees
    Homebuyers looking at property in your community may have many questions, and some of those questions may relate to the cost and operations of the community association. A well-prepared inquirer may request information about the reputation and financial standing of the HOA or COA as well as the amount of annual fees. Experience as a member of the association board has probably taught you that the more information you supply, the less likely new owners will misunderstand or violate the rules of your community.    Read the article…………………………………….
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