As a homeowners’ association (HOA) manager in Maryland, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and regulations that govern HOA operations. Adhering to these laws not only ensures the smooth functioning of the HOA but also helps maintain positive relationships with residents and promotes a harmonious community environment. This article will discuss 10 laws and regulations that every Maryland HOA manager should be familiar with.
HOA Laws and Regulations in Maryland
- Maryland Homeowners Association Act (HOA Act): The HOA Act serves as the cornerstone of Maryland’s HOA governance. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the association and its members, covering areas such as bylaws, assessments, architectural guidelines, board meetings, and enforcement of rules. Understanding this Act is fundamental for effective HOA management.
- Open Meetings Act: Maryland’s Open Meetings Act mandates that HOAs hold open meetings where members have the right to attend and observe. This law ensures transparency in HOA decision-making processes and allows homeowners to stay informed and engaged with the association’s activities and allows them to inspect the minutes of the board meetings.
- Maryland Condominium Act (Condo Act): For HOAs that include condominium units, familiarity with the Maryland Condominium Act is essential. This act covers various aspects of condominium governance, including unit owner rights, common elements, maintenance responsibilities, and financial management.
- Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on protected classes such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. HOA managers must adhere to fair housing guidelines and ensure that their community’s policies and practices do not discriminate against any individual or group.
- Maryland Reserve Study Requirements: Maryland law requires HOAs and housing cooperatives to conduct reserve studies at least once every 5 years. These studies assess the long-term maintenance and replacement needs of common elements within the community. HOA managers must ensure that reserve studies are carried out as required and that sufficient reserve funds are established to meet future obligations.
- Maryland Stormwater Management Act: HOAs in Maryland are subject to stormwater management regulations to control runoff and minimize pollution. Managers should be familiar with these requirements to implement appropriate stormwater management measures within the community.
- Maryland Consumer Protection Act: The Maryland Consumer Protection Act safeguards homeowners from unfair and deceptive trade practices. HOA managers must understand their obligations under this law to ensure that all interactions with homeowners and service providers are conducted ethically and transparently.
- Debt Collection Laws: HOA managers need to be well-versed in Maryland’s debt collection laws when pursuing delinquent assessments or fees. Understanding the proper procedures, notification requirements, and limitations will help managers navigate the collections process effectively and legally.
- Architectural Guidelines and Covenants: HOA communities often have architectural guidelines and covenants in place to maintain aesthetic standards and protect property values. HOA managers should be well-acquainted with these guidelines and ensure their consistent enforcement while handling architectural requests and modifications.
- Maryland Real Property Code: The Maryland Real Property Code governs various aspects of property management, including leases, evictions, liens, and easements. HOA managers should familiarize themselves with the relevant provisions to appropriately address property-related issues and comply with the law.
Compliance with the laws and regulations governing HOAs in Maryland is paramount for effective community management. By being well-versed in the laws and regulations outlined in this article, HOA managers can ensure legal compliance, foster positive homeowner relationships, and create thriving and harmonious communities where residents can enjoy the benefits of shared living.
Minutes Solutions is a professional, third-party minute-taking company that specializes in prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for community associations. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 communities and organizations across North America, including the Community Associations Institute. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help protect community associations and instil confidence in residents, allowing community managers to focus on operational responsibilities.