Commission on Common Ownership Communities
Tips on Filing a Complaint with the Office of Common Ownership Communities
Verify names, addresses, phone numbers before filing:
- Associations should verify the homeowner’s correct mailing address by checking the county tax records online at the Finance Department's website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov and should give phone numbers for the homeowner if known.
- Associations should list all owners of the property involved as Respondents to the complaint.
- Homeowner or unit owners should list the name, address and phone of the board president or of the managing agent.
- Give email addresses, if known.
- Summarize the complaint in the form and give details in an attachment.
- The attachment should describe the problem chronologically, giving dates in order, and should refer to the appropriate documents in order.
- Attach the appropriate documents, highlighting the part relied upon. Attach photographs whenever relevant. You must attach a complete copy of the governing documents. Please avoid staples, binders, and the like.
- Pay special attention to showing in the complaint that:
- the complaint involves an action (or failure to act) of the Board of Directors
- the party filing the complaint has followed whatever dispute resolution procedure the homeowner association has adopted, before filing the complaint . (In other words, show that the party complaining has “exhausted all remedies provided for in the Association documents”. This is required by County law.)
For example: An HOA wants to complain about a homeowner's violation of the architectural rule. The HOA should:
- Narrate clearly and concisely the history of the problem;
- Attach a copy of the specific rule violated;
- Attach a photo of the problem;
- Attach copies of all written notices given to the homeowner about the problem;
- Attach a copy the specific HOA rules for dealing with such problems, to show that it followed its rules and exhausted its remedies.
Remember, if the dispute must go to a hearing, the Complaint and its attachments are the very first thing the hearing panel will read. Make sure they can understand it easily.