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The Top Things To Know About Maryland HOA Governance

Posted by IKO Community Management on March 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM

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A lot of Maryland homeowners and condo unit owners are unaware of their full rights within the community. Many don’t know exactly how much control the HOA has over the neighborhood, and IKO is here to clarify everything.

The HOA board has control of nearly everything within existing HOA laws and in compliance with state and federal regulations. For example, Montgomery County offers a resource manual from the Commission on Common Ownership Communities. It clarifies the following general governance policies for its county-wide HOA communities: 

  • How to handle board, annual, and special meetings
  • Hiring and firing employees within the association
  • Stormwater management
  • Financial procedures, including reserve replacement and assessment collection
  • Developer transition protocol
  • Mediation efforts
  • Insurance 

Other Maryland communities have specific language about governing common areas, controlling contracts with property management companies, and so on. Because every state community has individual Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), consult your neighborhood documents for specific HOA governance information.

Condo owners and homeowners have similar rights. Under Title 11 of the Maryland Condominium Act that’s approved by the Maryland General Assembly, rights of condo unit owners include the following, as outlined by the Maryland Homeowners Advocacy Alliance:

  • Right to distribute written information relative to the condominium
  • Right to receive upon a written request most records of the condominium
  • Right to review and comment on the proposed annual budget
  • Right to be notified of any alleged rule violation
  • Right to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses at a hearing
  • Right to be notified of proposed rules, that an open meeting be called and the rule passed by a majority of the board if it has the delegated power
  • Right to disapprove of any rule within 15 days of approval
  • Right to nominate one’s self or any other person to be a member of the board
  • Right to attend and speak at meetings of the board and committees*
  • Right to use common areas
  • Right to assemble for the purpose of considering condominium matters
  • Right to be informed of increases in excess of 15 percent of budgeted amounts
  • Right to petition the circuit court for a receiver to manage the affairs of the condo if no quorum on the board of directors
  • Right to have all association officers, managing agents or employees indemnified
  • Right to review of Maryland Condominium Act violations by the Division of Consumer Protection

Under Title 11B of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act that’s approved by the Maryland General Assembly, rights of Maryland homeowners under an HOA include the following, as outlined by the Maryland Homeowners Advocacy Alliance:

  • Right to distribute written information relative to the HOA
  • Right to receive upon a written request most records
  • Right to attend and speak on any matter at meetings*
  • Right to notice of all HOA meetings
  • Right to assemble
  • Right to have all association officers, managing agents, or employees indemnified
  • Right to an open meeting discussing the proposed budget and also in the case of budget increases in excess of 15 percent of budgeted amounts
  • Right to petition the circuit court for a receiver to manage the affairs of the HOA if no quorum on the board
  • Right to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) enforcement of election provisions in HOA documents
  • Right to review of Maryland Homeowners Association Act violations by the Division of Consumer Protection, OAG

As of 2013, condo unit owners and HOA-regulated homeowners have the following identical rights in the Maryland Contract Lien Act:

  • Right to not be subject to foreclosure due to only fines and/or attorney fees
  • Right to be charged legal fees that do not exceed the amount of the money owed in case of a foreclosure

It’s important to remember that this is a summary by a reputable organization. Additional rights of condo unit owners and homeowners are dependent upon your local and community bylaws and CC&Rs. For example, click here to view the Montgomery County Code.

*All meetings must be open with a few exceptions. If closed, the reason must be in the next minutes.

Clarify with a variety of resources before discussing a change in governance in your HOA community. Understand your rights as a homeowner or condo unit owner, research how to change laws using the Homeowners Protection Bureau of Maryland. The national organization offers local links to the Maryland Attorney General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Maryland, the Housing Authority, and more.

For more information about HOA governance, download IKO Community Management’s Guide To HOA Elections:

Click Here For Your Guide

Topics: Homeowners, community