With built-in barriers to access of the AG complaint process, HB 595 will NOT help housing consumers. As it is, even if the homeowner gets past the “good standing” and “required ADR” hurdles, the only thing the Bureau of Consumer Protection can do is take certain narrow complaints. They cannot investigate or resolve any of them, nor can the AG/BCP order the HOA to hold an annual meeting or provide access to records.
A bill that started out with good intentions in 2016 was killed in the Legislature, then in 2017, HB 595 was presented, clearly written by and for trade group Community Associations Institute attorneys, who will benefit by offering ADR services to homeowners, condominium, and co-operative associations. Surely our elected Representatives and Senators are not so naive as to believe that ADR offered by CAI attorneys of the HOA industry will be fair and neutral.
Besides, when state laws are broken by the association or its management agent, what’s needed is swift, strong, and consistent enforcement, not mediation or arbitration.
There should be NO negotiation (via ADR) with regard to the association’s obligation to hold fair elections, to conduct open annual membership meetings, or to provide open access to official records of the corporation.
Feature image: State seal of Pennsylvania; image by Henrik on Wikipedia (use permitted with attribution / share alike).
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Pennsylvania House Bill 595 is a clear example of a state legislator pushing a bill that, on the surface, looks like it will help housing consumers, but, in reality, it is either unhelpful or downright harmful.
I call it “window dressing,” and in this case, it completely blocks out the sunshine.
As the new legislative session begins, I have received notice that HB 595, introduced by Rep. Rosemary Brown, has been reintroduced for consideration by the Senate. The amended bill passed unanimously in the PA House in 2017.
HB 595 should NOT be supported as written and amended in 2017.
More specific details of HB 595:
In Pennsylvania, a bill that started out providing broad consumer protection for owners in all types of association-governed communities…
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