The homeowner (HO) filed a complaint challenging an assessment that raised the charges to owners of detached houses more than it raised the charges to owners of townhomes and "back-to-back" units in the community; she also claimed that the increase in assessments to house owners was improper because it funded maintenance of common areas serving only the townhouses and "back-to-back" units. The homeowner association (HO) responded that the increased assessments were for a general reserve fund serving all the common elements.
The evidence at the hearing showed that the 1991 budget included increases is assessments to the owners of detached houses that were proportionately higher than the increases charged to owners of other types of units. The stated reason for the difference was that for the first time the HOA was charging the house owners for a share of the funds needed for the reserves covering the general common elements such as roads and sidewalks. The HO also produced evidence that all of the reserved parking in the community was restricted to use only by the residents of the townhouses and the "back-to-back" units.
The hearing panel noted that the Declaration provided for annual maintenance assessments and specified that each owner must pay a proportionate share of the amount required to meet the annual expenses of the HOA, including the costs of maintaining the common areas and the cost of funding all reserves. The Declaration did not contain any provision limiting how the reserve assessments could be charged against the different types of units in the community. The panel held that the HOA acted properly under the Declaration when it adopted the new schedule of assessments.
The HO also claimed at the hearing that the HOA had violated the "automatic stay" restriction of Section 10B-9(e) of the Montgomery County Code by collecting the disputed assessments while the case was pending. The panel found that the HOA took not action to compel payment of the assessments and took no action against those who did not pay the assessments, it only notified the owners of their individual assessments and collected the funds from those who paid them. The panel held that the HOA did not violate the law.
The panel ordered that the complaint be dismissed.