RECENT LEGISLATION IN MARYLAND CONCERNING REAL ESTATE


2014 Pending Legislation

Chapter 603 –Foreclosure of Liens.

•  This legislation expands the types of damages to include interest, reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees directly related to filing of the lien (up to the amount of the delinquent assessment), which a condominium association or homeowners association may recovered in an action to foreclose a lien for delinquent assessments.
•  The damages secured by the lien may not include fines or attorney’s fees or costs related to recovering the fines.
•  This legislation became effective on October 1, 2014.

Chapter 592 – Statute of Limitations for Certain Specialties and Motion for Certain Deficiency Judgments.

•  This legislation, among other things, limits the time for a secured party to file a deficiency judgment to within three (3) years after the final ratification of the auditor’s report.  This is applicable only to the foreclosure of residential property that was owner-occupied at the time an order to docket or complaint to foreclose was filed.
•  Further, this legislation limits a secured party or a party in interest remedy for breach of a covenant obtained in a deed of trust, mortgage or promissory note that secures or is secured by owner-occupied residential property.
•  This legislation became effective on July 1, 2014.

Chapter 441 – Prince George’s County – Deferred Water and Sewer Charges Homeowner Disclosure Act of 2014.

•  This legislation requires registered home builders in Prince George’s County to include certain information in the initial contract of sale for residential real property which is subject to private water and sewer facilities charges.  The home builder must disclose:
›  The existence of the deferred private water and sewer assessments,
›  The amount of the annual assessment,
›  The approximate number of payments remaining on the assessment,
›  The amount remaining on the assessment, including interest,
›  The name and address of the person or entity most recently responsible for collection of the assessment,
›  The interest rate on the assessment,
›  The estimated payoff amount of the assessment, and
›  A statement that payoff of the assessment is allowed without prepayment penalty.
•  Any deferred water and sewer assessment is limited to recovery over a twenty (20) year period.
•  In addition, this legislation establishes penalties for non-compliance by the home builder.
•  This legislation became effective on October 1, 2014.
Chapter 49 – Civil Actions – Personal Injury or Death Caused by Dog – Rebuttable Presumption.

•  This legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that an owner of a dog knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities if evidence is produced that the dog caused personal injury or death.
•  Further, in an action against a person other than the owner of a dog for damage for personal injury or death cause by the dog, the common law of liability that existed prior to April 1, 2012, shall be applicable.
•  This legislation abrogates the holding of the Court of Appeals in Tracey v. Solesky, 427 Md. 627 (2012).

2015 Pending Legislation

House Bill 1007 – Resale Certificates.

•  Condominium – this legislation created a limit on the amount a Council of Unit Owners may charge for preparing the information required to be disclosed in a resale certificate to the lessor of: (a) Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00), or (b) the actual cost to the Council of Unit Owners.
•  Homeowners Associations – this legislation creates an affirmative obligation of a homeowners association, the management agent of the association or any other authorized officer or agent of the association, to provide the information required to be disclosed pursuant to §11B-106 of the Homeowners Association Act upon the resale of a lot or the initial sale of a lot in a development containing fewer then twelve (12) homes.  The information must be provided within twenty (20) days of the request by the lot owner and the fee which may be charged is limited to the lessor of (a) Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00), or (b) the actual cost to the Council of Unit Owners.
•  If passed, the law will become effective on October 1, 2015.

House Bill 1183/Senate Bill 649 – Contracts of Sale for New Homes.

•  This legislation changes §14-117(j-1) of the Real Property Article and provides that the contract for the sale of a new home is contingent on the buyer obtaining a written commitment for a loan secured by the property and further, requires that the contract state the maximum loan interest rate the purchaser is obligated to accept.
•  The previous legislation gave the option of including language in the contract affirmatively stating that the sale is not contingent on the buyer obtaining a written commitment for a loan secured by the property.
•  If passed, the law will become effective on October 1, 2015.

House Bill 292 – Fraudulent Recordings.

•  This legislation makes it a misdemeanor for a person to record a deed or other instrument affecting real property that such person knowns or reasonably should know is: (a) false, (b) contains or is based on a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation, or (c) is not related to a valid existing or potential real estate transaction or interest in real property.
•  For a first offense, the fine shall not exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), and for a second offense, the fine shall not exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).
•  This legislation further creates an obligation of the Clerk of the Court to notify the parties named in a deed or other instrument advising such parties that a document has been recorded in the Land Records for the County or Baltimore City (as applicable), a description of the recorded instrument, instructions for obtaining a copy of the recorded instrument and instructions on obtaining legal assistance if any party believes the recording was fraudulent.
•  If passed, this legislation will become effective on October 1, 2015.

House Bill 1197/Senate Bill 875; and Senate Bill 783 – Foreclosure Sales of Residential Property and Motions for Deficiency Judgments.

•  House Bill 1197, eliminates a secured party’s option to obtain a deficiency judgment or take any other action against the mortgagor or grantor if the proceeds of the sale in an action to foreclose a mortgage or deed of trust on owner-occupied residential property are insufficient.  This applies only to mortgages or deeds of trust recorded after October 1, 2015.
•  Senate Bill 783 reduces the time period for filing a deficiency judgment from three (3) years to two (2) years after the final ratification of an auditor’s report.
•  If passed, House Bill 1197 will become effective on October 15, 2015 but Senate Bill 783 will become effective on July 1, 2015.

Senate Bill 762 (Installation and Use of Electronic Vehicle Recharging Equipment).

•  The legislation affects condominium association and homeowners associations (as well as landlords which is not discussed below).
•  Pursuant to this Bill, no provision of any governing documents for a condominium association or homeowners association may prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation or use of electric vehicle recharging equipment in an owner’s designated parking space (i.e., an assigned parking space, a limited common element parking space or one which is part of the unit or lot).  However, reasonable restrictions are permitted.
•  Further, any request to install electric vehicle recharging equipment shall be reviewed by the governing body in the same manner as an architectural modification request; provided that, any request no denied in writing within sixty (60) days of receipt of the application shall be deemed approved (unless the delay is due to the a reasonable request for additional information).
•  In the event an owner desires to install electric vehicle recharging equipment in the common elements of a condominium or the common areas of a homeowners association, there are a number of provisions which the owner must comply with including, liability for maintenance of the electric vehicle recharging equipment, engaging a licensed contractor to install the equipment and a duty to inform subsequent owners of their obligation to maintain the electric vehicle recharging equipment as well as to provide for its removal.
•  If passed, this legislation will become effective on October 1, 2015.

House Bill 154 – Real Estate Guaranty Fund.

•  The proposed legislation provides that the Consumer Protection Division may issue a proposed order to pay all or part of a claim (or deny the claim), if the claim does not exceed Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($7,500.00).  This is an increase from the previous limit of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).
•  In addition, this legislation provides that the Consumer Protection Division may sue a home builder which does not reimburse the Guaranty Fund for amounts paid on a claim within sixty (60) days after the Division gives notice.  The current time period is thirty (30) days.
•  If passed, the legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2015.

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Please contact any of the community association attorneys in our office if you have any questions.

Rachel M. Hess, Esquire and Winegrad, Hess, Friedman & Levitt, LLC ©2015. All rights reserved.

Winegrad, Hess, Friedman & Levitt, LLC has prepared this document for informational purposes only. It is not guaranteed to be legally accurate or current. This document may not be duplicated, transmitted or used, in whole or in part, to or by any other party without the express written consent of WHFL. Recipients of this document are urged to periodically check the General Assembly’s website (http://mlis.state.md.us) for further updates to legislation. Nothing contained herein shall constitute legal advice and your receipt of this document is not intended to and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please seek legal counsel before taking any action based upon information contained herein.