Introducing Condo Corner

October 11th, 2013

Welcome to Condo Corner. This is the first of a series of articles designed to help condo owners build a happy and successful community. How many of us in Town Center know we live in 3 Common Ownership Communities (COCs), each with its own set of covenants? They are the Columbia Association, the Town Center Association and our condominium association. For most of us, the most important association for our personal financial health and happiness is the one we send our monthly condo fees to, our own condo association.

COC developments were established with the belief that people could buy housing cheaper by sharing some common spaces and Columbia is a good example of the success of this concept. In addition to your own governing documents, there is a body of federal, state and local law that guides how condominiums are to be governed. The COC governance model also assumes that everyone in a community is willing to share in making their condo community a success. The aim of this and following articles is to describe the practices that foster the openness and transparency that are the hallmarks of a truly wonderful community. Not only are these practices reflected in condo governing documents but also many regulations are part of federal, state and local law.

One example can be found in Title 11-109 (6) of the Maryland Condominium Act (MCA). To promote openness and transparency, this section states that all board meetings must be open, and the time and place announced in advance to all owners. That means no decisions may be made by teleconference or e-mail voting, or in unannounced meetings. The intent of this law is that all condo owners have the right to listen in to any discussion involving the security of their home. The only times a closed meeting may be held are listed in MCA Title 11-109.1. Most of these exceptions relate to discussion of personnel and legal matters. Other than that, any time a decision is made to spend your money, you have the right to be there as well as have these decisions reflected in the Minutes of the meeting. This law is also part of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act.

The Maryland General Assembly has a new web site. To access the Maryland Condominium Act on this new site go to the Maryland General Assembly web site, selecting the “Statutes” tab and then the “LexisNexis” button in the bottom left corner of the “Statutes” page. Agree to the terms presented, select “Real Property” and then click on “Title 11-Maryland Condominium Act.”

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(The information contained herein is for the general information of the reader and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek competent legal counsel regarding any legal issue.)