Bill No.
50-15
Concerning: Common
Ownership
Communities - Commission on
Common Ownership Communities -
Composition - Dispute Resolution
Revised: March
10. 2016
Draft No.
_A__
Introduced:
December 8.
2015
Enacted:
April
5. 2016
Executive: - - - - - - - - -
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
~No=n=e~------
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Council President at the request of the County Executive
AN ACT
to:
make [[mediation]] attempted resolution of certain disputes regarding
common ownership communities by informal negotiation mandatory;
(2)
[[alter the composition of the three member hearing panel]] require members
of the Commission to complete certain training;
(3)
[[alter the composition of the Commission on Common Ownership
Communities to include members of the public;
(4)]] transfer duties assigned to the Office of Consumer Protection to the
Department of Housing and Community Affairs;
[[(5)]](il
provide for certain transition provisions; and
[[(6)]]ill
generally amend County law concerning common ownership
communities.
(1)
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 1OB, Common Ownership Communities
Sections IOB-2, IOB-3, IOB-4, IOB-5, IOB-7A, IOB-9A, IOB-11, IOB-12, IOB-13, IOB-14,
and IOB-19.
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Pouble underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unqffected by bill.
'"}
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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Sec 1. Sections lOB-2, lOB-3, lOB-4, lOB-5, 10B-7A, 10B-9A, lOB-11, lOB-12, lOB-
13, lOB-14, and lOB-19 are amended as follows:
Article 1. Commission on Common Ownership Communities.
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lOB-2. Definitions.
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In
this Chapter, the following words have the following meanings:
[(a)]
Commission
Communities.
means the
Commission on
Common Ownership
[(b)]
Common ownership community
includes:
(1)
a development subject to a declaration enforced by a homeowners'
association, as those terms are used in state law;
(2)
(3)
a residential condominium, as that term is used in state law; and
a cooperative housing project, as that term is used in state law.
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[(c)]
*
*
[Office means the Office of Consumer Protection.]
Department
means
the Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Director
means the Director of the Department of Housing and
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Community Affairs or the Director's designee.
lOB-3. Commission on Common Ownership Communities.
(a)
The County Executive must appoint, subject to confirmation by the
Council, a Commission on Common Ownership Communities. The
Commission consists of 15 voting members.
(1)
[Eight] [[Five]] Eight members should be selected from unit or lot
owners or residents of self-managed and professionally managed
condominiums,
self-managed
and professionally managed
and self-managed
and
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cooperative housing corporations,
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professionally managed homeowners' associations, and may
include members or former members of governing boards.
(2)
[Seven] [[Eive]] Seven members should be selected from persons
who are members of professions associated with common
ownership communities (such as persons involved in housing
development and real estate sales and attorneys who represent
community associations, developers, housing management or
tenants), including at least one person who is a professional
community association manager.
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[[ill
Five members should be selected from the public at large who
would not meet the criteria for selection under subsection (a)(l) or
(a)(2).]]
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(b)
Designees of the County Council (if the Council selects a designee),
Planning Board, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of
Permitting Services, Department of Transportation, [Office of Consumer
Protection,] and Department of Housing and Community Affairs are ex-
officio nonvoting members of the Commission.
(c)
Each voting member serves a 3-year term. Of the members first
appointed, one-third must be appointed for 1-year terms, one-third must
be appointed for 2-year terms, and one-third must be appointed for 3-year
terms. A member must not serve more than 2 consecutive full terms. A
member appointed to fill a vacancy serves the rest of the unexpired term.
Members continue in office until their successors are appointed and
qualified.
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(d)
Prior to participation in any Commission matter. each voting member
must complete:
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ill
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training required of common ownership community board
members under Section IOB-17(h): and
training in the State and local laws on matters · within the
iurisdiction of the Commission provided or otherwise approved by
the County Attorney.
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W
The County Executive, with the consent of the Council, may remove a
voting member of the Commission for neglect of or inability to perform
the duties of the office, misconduct in office, or serious violation of law.
Before the Executive
~emoves
a member, the Executive must give the
member notice of the reason for removal and a fair opportunity to reply.
[[(e)]]ill
Section· 2-148(c) applies oilly· to voting members of the
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Commission.
[[(f)]](g)
The Commission must elect one voting member as chair and
another as vice chair, to serve at the pleasure of the Commission, and may
elect other officers as it determines.
[[(g)]](h)
Voting members of the Commission receive no compensation for
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their services.
[[(h)]]ill
The Commission meets at the call of the chair as often as required
to perform its duties, but at least once each month. A majority of the
voting members are a quorum for the transaction of business, and a
majority of the voting members present at any meeting may take any
official action.
[[(i)]]ill
The Office must provide the Commission with staff, offices and
supplies as are appropriated for it.
[[G)]]!kJ
The Commission must submit an annual report by September 1 to
the County Executive and the County Council summarizing its activities,
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needs, and recommendations, and the extent to which the goals of this
Chapter are being met.
lOB-4. Administrative support.
In
selecting staff to carry out the [Office's] Department's responsibilities under
this Chapter, the Director must consider the recommendations of the
Commission.
lOB-5. Duties of the [Office] Department of [Consumer Protection] Housing and
Community Affairs.
The [Office] Department, in consultation with the Commission, must:
*
lOB-7A. Notification requirements.
*
*
The governing body of a community association must, at least annually,
distribute information in a form reasonably calculated to notify all owners about
the availability of dispute resolution, education, and other services to owners
and residents of common ownership communities through the [Office]
Department_ and the Commission. The governing body may satisfy this
requirement by including with any annual notice or other mailing to all members
of the community association any written materials developed by the [Office]
Department to describe the Commission's services.
Article 2. Dispute Resolution.
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10B-9A. Request for relief from
stay.
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(b)
The special panel must consist of [[3]] three voting members of the
Commission designated by the chair, and must include [at least] at least
one representative of each membership category.
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*
*
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lOB-11.
Mediation; dismissal before hearing.
(a)
The [Office] Director may investigate facts and assemble documents
relevant to a dispute filed with the Commission, and may summarize the
issues in the dispute. The [Office] Director may notify a party if, in [its]
the Director's opinion, a dispute was not properly filed with the
Commission, and may inform each party of the possible sanctions under
Section 10B-13(d).
(b)
If the [Office] Director, after reviewing a dispute, finds that, assuming all
facts alleged by the party [which] that filed the dispute are true, there are
no reasonable grounds to conclude that a violation of applicable law or
any association document has occurred, [it] the Director may so inform
the Commission. The Commission[, in its discretion, may] must dismiss
a dispute if it finds that there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that
a violation of applicable law or any association document has occurred,
or it may order the [Office] Director to investigate further. The
Commission may reconsider the dismissal of a dispute under this
subsection if any party, in a motion to reconsider filed within 30 days
after the dispute is dismissed, shows that:
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(1)
the Commission erroneously interpreted or applied applicable law
or an association document; or
(2)
material issues of fact [which] that are necessary to a fair resolution
of the dispute remain unresolved.
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(c)
[Any party may request mediation.]
If
the Director, after reviewing
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dispute and any investigation, finds reasonable grounds to conclude that
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violation of applicable law or an association document has occurred,
the Director must attempt to resolve the matter through informal
negotiation including.
in
the Director's discretion. mediation. Each
n.ID1Y
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named in the dispute or its representative must attend any mediation
conference scheduled by the Director under this Section unless excused
by the Director.
If
the
i;mtly
that files the dispute refuses or fails to
participate in the mediation, the Director must dismiss the dispute.
If
the
i;mtly
that is the subject of the dispute refuses or fails to participate in the
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mediation, the Director must refer the dispute to the Commission for
resolution. The
Pill1Y
that is the subject of the dispute may not appear at
the hearing, and the hearing panel may award relief to any
i;mtly
that the
facts on the record warrant.
(d)
[If a party requests mediation, the Commission must notify all parties of
the filing and of the mediation session.] Unless otherwise agreed to by
the parties in writing, a mediation conference is informal and nothing said
or done during
£!
mediation conference is admissible in any subsequent
hearing under this article.
(e)
[The Commission must provide a qualified mediator to meet with the
parties within 3 0 days after a party requests mediation to attempt to settle
the dispute.] The Commission must promptly schedule
£!
hearing under
Section lOB-13 if either:
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ill
mediation has not occurred within 90 days
after the Director found reasonable grounds to believe
£!
violation
occurred; or
ill
the Director decides at any time that mediation would be
fruitless. The Director may extend the mediation deadline by mutual
consent of the parties.
[(
f)
If
any party refuses to attend a mediation session, or if mediation does not
successfully resolve the dispute within 10 days after the first mediation
session is held, the Commission must promptly schedule a hearing under
Section 1OB-13 unless a hearing has already been held under Section
lOB-13.]
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lOB-12.
Hearing Panel.
(a)
If
a hearing is scheduled, the chair of the Commission must convene a 3-
member panel to hear the dispute.
(b)
The chair must choose [2]
[[J]]
two members of the panel from the voting
members of the Commission. The persons selected must represent the [2]
[Q]] two different membership groups of the Commission. [The 2
Commission members must designate the third member from a list of
volunteer arbitrators trained or experienced in common ownership
community issues maintained by the Commission. The third member
must chair the panel.
If
a suitable arbitrator is not available, the chair of
the Commission must designate the third panelist from among the voting
members of the Commission, and must designate the chair of the panel.]
[[The chair must designate one panel member to serve as panel chair.]]
The two Commission members must designate the third member from a
list of volunteer arbitrators trained or experienced in common ownership
community issues maintained by the Commission. The third member
must chair the panel. If a suitable arbitrator is not available. the chair of
the Commission must designate the third panelist from among the voting
members of the Commission. and must designate the chair of the panel.
(
c)
(
d)
Each panelist must not have any interest in the dispute to be heard.
Each volunteer arbitrator must not represent any parties in disputes
before other hearing panels convened under this Chapter.
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If
the Commission chair decides that a hearing should be held by a
hearing examiner instead of a hearing panel, the chair, with the approval
of the Commission, may designate the Office of Zoning and
Administrative Hearings to conduct the hearing.
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[[(
e)
]]ill
If
the parties to a dispute agree that the hearing should be held
and the dispute decided by a hearing examiner instead of a hearing
panel, the chair must designate the Office of Zoning and Administrative
Hearings or another hearing examiner to conduct the hearing and issue
a decision.
lOB-13. Administrative hearing.
*
(
d)
*
*
The hearing panel may award costs, including reasonable attorney's fees,
to any party if the other party:
(1)
filed or maintained a frivolous dispute, or filed or maintained a
dispute in bad faith;
(2)
[unreasonably] refused to participate in mediation of a dispute[, or
unreasonably withdrew from ongoing mediation]; or
(3)
substantially delayed or hindered the dispute resolution process
without good cause.
The
h~aring
panel may also require the losing party in a dispute to pay all
or part of the filing fee.
(e)
[the] The hearing panel must apply [[state]] State and County laws and
all relevant caselaw to the facts of the dispute, and may order the payment
of damages and any other relief that the law and the facts warrant. The
decision of the hearing panel is binding on the parties, subject to judicial
review under Section 2A-11.
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*
(i)
*
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The Commission, acting through the [Office] Department and the County
Attorney, may enforce a decision of the hearing panel by taldng any
appropriate legal action.
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*
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lOB-14.
Settlement of disputes; assistance
to
parties.
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(b)
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The [Office] Director may inform any party who has settled a dispute by
mediation, or any party who prevails in a hearing held under Section 1OB-
13, about how the agreement or decision can be enforced.
*
lOB-19.
Enforcement.
(a)
(b)
*
*
The [Commission] Department may enforce this Article by legal action.
In
addition to any action by the [Commission] Department and any other
action authorized by law, including the filing of a dispute under Article
· 2, any person may file an action:
(1)
for injunctive relief to enforce this Article or correct any violation
of
it[[,]]~
and
(2)
to recover damages for a loss sustained as a result of a violation of
this Article.
Sec. 2. Effective Date.
Sections 1OB-11 (c), (d), and (e), as amended by this Act. which [[mandate
mediation]] require attempted informal resolution of disputes, including mediation.
[[applies]]
~
to all disputes filed with the Commission after this Act takes effect as
provided in Charter Section 112.
Sec. 3. Transition.
[[The first three vacancies of members selected under Section 10B-3(a)(l) and
the first two vacancies of members selected under Section 10B-3(a)(2) must be filled
by members selected under Section 10B-3(a)(3).]] Current members of the
Commission must complete the training required under Section 10B-3(d) within 90
days after this Act takes effect.
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Approved:
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N~?:!:J:tent,
Approved:
County Council
Date
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Isiah Leggett, County Executive
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Date
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
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Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
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