HOA, condo, co-op Legislative highlights (June 2017)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

California

CA SB 407 has been placed on the calendar for a third reading in the Assembly, with amendments to clarify that a common interest community’s governing documents may not prohibit a member’s right to “peacefully assembly and freely communicate” on association property for various political purposes, to include campaigns for public office as well as matters relating to association elections.

SB 407 proposes that a member can enforce those rights by filing a complaint in civil or small claims court, and the court could impose a $500 penalty on the association or its management agent. Specifically:

A member or resident of a common interest development who is prevented by the association or its agents from engaging in any of the activities described in this section may bring a civil or small claims court action to enjoin the enforcement of a governing document, including a bylaw and operating rule, that violates this section. The court may assess a civil penalty of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation.

The latest version of the bill can be seen here:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billVersionsCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB407&cversion=20170SB40796AMD

See also:

Previous article on CA SB 407

 

Colorado

CO HB 1279 has been signed by Governor Hickenlooper, following several years of fierce political debate over how to reform the state’s laws with regard to construction defect lawsuits brought by condo associations.

Proponents of the bill, including builders of condominiums, several Mayors, and affordable housing advocates, hope that the amended statute will spur new construction of condominiums.

Law may help stagnant condo market

http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/law-may-help-stagnant-condo-market

Under the new law, non-developer owners of condominium units must be given the opportunity to vote whether or not their association should engage in construction defect litigation.

Despite the legislative compromise excluding votes of the developer and affiliated parties, critics of HB 1279 remain concerned that the Legislature has simply erected unnecessary barriers to an association’s right to judicial due process, while taking no action to prevent defective construction in the first place. The matter is particularly controversial in light of a recent court decision that allows developers of association-governed communities to write non-amendable clauses into governing documents, requiring Arbitration to settle all construction defect claims. 

Previous articles on CO HB 1279 here and here.

 

Florida

Bills signed by Governor Rick Scott:

HB 1237 

Makes several amendments and additions to statue 718, providing for criminal penalties for specific acts of misconduct, including altering or falsifying election ballots, and failure to provide access to association records in connection with covering up criminal activity. See previous update with links to detailed summaries here.

A similar piece of Legislation, SB 653, which was redundant in light of HB 1237 and SB 1520, was vetoed by the Governor.

SB 1520

Amends condo statute 718, and provides that, in order to move forward with a condo termination, at least 80% of unit owners must vote in favor, and less than 5% of unit owners can object to the termination proposal. If the termination is rejected by at least 5% of unit owners, the association must wait 24 months before making another attempt at termination.

SB 398

Finally, a law that limits fees that can be charged by associations and their management agents for an estoppel letter. An estoppel letter is the official pre-sale disclosure document that specifies obligations of the buyer for assessments, fees, outstanding liens on the property, or responsibility for correcting any current violations of covenants and restrictions. Following several years of fierce opposition by Community Associations Institute (CAI), and strong support by the FL Chapter of National Association of Realtors (NAR), estoppel fees are now capped at $250 for a unit with no outstanding delinquency, and $400 for a unit with assessment delinquencies. An additional 3-day rush fee of $100 may be charged. Prior to passage of this amendment, the sky was the limit on estoppel fees.

 

Illinois

HB 3755 a bill that would have put condo owners on a more even playing field with their associations in the courtroom stalled in committee. The bill would have provided that unit owners could recover attorney fees if they prevail in a civil proceeding against their condo association. Current law allows a condo association to seek recovery of attorney fees from a unit owner, if the association prevails in court, but a unit owner is not able to ask the court to award attorney fees under any circumstances.

Sponsors of HB 3755 plan to try against next legislative session.

For more detail, see previous article here.

 

Maryland

Signed by Governor Larry Hogan

SB809

Provides that condo and homeowners associations must provide advance notice of sale of common area or common element to association members.

Governor Hogan Signs Law To Require Notice To Homeowners Of Sales Of A Common Element Or Common Area

https://www.marylandcondolaw.com/governor-hogan-signs-law-to-require-notice-to-homeowners-of-sales-of-a-common-element-or-common-area/

 

Minnesota

HF1538

Amends current condo statute to require a vote of approval of a majority of owners before the association can commence construction defect litigation. Non-declarant / non-developer unit owners and affiliates are excluded from voting with regard to a construction defect claim. The board of directors will be required, beginning August 1, 2017, to create a preventive maintenance plan and provide a copy of the plan to all association members. The condo association must exhaust either the developer’s home warranty dispute resolution process or mediation before any civil complaint can be filed with regard to unresolved construction defect claims.

Minnesota amends its construction defect laws

http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-amends-its-construction-defect-laws/425945933/

 

 

Oregon

Signed by Governor Kate Brown

HB2111

Prohibits provisions in homeowners associations governing documents that would prevent a homeowner from installation of rooftop or exterior solar panels.

Legislature says homeowners associations can’t bar rooftop solar 

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/05/31/legislature-says-homeowners-associations-cant-bar.html

However, the new law has the usual HOA caveat – an association can include a provision that does allows for rules and standards related to “size, placement or aesthetic requirements” of solar installations.

 

 

Texas

Two bills were proposed that would have increased consumer rights of homeowners. Both bills died during the Legislative session. The bills were:

SB 1609

Would have prohibited HOAs from limiting size and placement of religious displays on private property.

HB 923

Would have required “reasonable” limitations on fines imposed by property owners associations (POAs or HOAs), and full disclosure of a list of applicable fines to all homeowners.

 

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