We are only two weeks into the New Year, but the Maryland General Assembly has been busy. They have already introduced real estate legislation that affect home owners, buyers, renters, and landlords. Surely there will be more real estate legislation proposed through the legislative session. Because these bills have a way to go before they are signed into law, you have an opportunity to voice your opinions to your State Representatives.
If you have a green thumb or you just like gardens, then Senate Bill 62 Real Property –Backyard Gardens–Prohibition on Restrictions should grab your attention. If you live in a single family home or townhouse, the bill provides for your right to have a backyard garden. The bill states “A contract, a deed, a covenant, a restriction, an instrument, a declaration, a rule, a bylaw, a lease agreement, a rental agreement, or any other document may not prohibit a homeowner or tenant from installing or cultivating a backyard garden on single–family property.”
If you’re one of the many military personnel who rent in the area, pay attention to Senate Bill 49 Landlord and Tenant – Military Personnel – Limitation on Liability for Rent. The bill clarifies circumstances where active duty personnel and their spouses have limited liabilities on their leases. The statute previously refers to “change of station orders.” However, the bill clarifies “change of assignment” to include: “Permanent change of station orders; temporary duty orders for a period exceeding 90 days; orders requiring a person to move into quarters located on a military installation; and a release from active duty, including: retirement, separation or discharge under honorable conditions; and demobilization of an activated reservist or a member of the national guard who was serving on active duty orders for at least 180 consecutive days.”
If you live in a Common Ownership Community (co-op, condo or homeowners’ association), consider these three bills (real estate legislation):
House Bill 34 amends the Maryland Homeowners Association Act by allowing a homeowners’ association to charge “a reasonable fee not to exceed $100” to inspect your lot before you sell it. The lot may or may not have a home on it. Your homeowners’ association may require a presale inspection of the exterior of your home as part of the process of preparing resale disclosures and documents. Many HOA’s already conduct an exterior inspection of homes before a sale, alerting the seller and/or the buyer of deficiencies that need to be corrected, so as to ensure the home complies with the association’s rules and covenants.
House Bill 41 requires common ownership communities to register with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. The annual registration is to include the names and contact information of board members and property managers. Although the information may be useful to those who are renting or considering to purchase within a common ownership community, the bill indicates the registry is not a public record.
House Bill 26 amends Real Property section 7-105.2 Notice to record owner of property of proposed foreclosure sale; limitation of action. The statute indicates that the owner of record be notified of a proposed foreclosure sale and/or postponement of a foreclosure sale. The bill, however, requires that condo and homeowners’ associations also be notified within thirty days of a proposed foreclosure sale within the community. And the associations shall be provided notice within fourteen days after a sale has been postponed. Senate Bill 247 is similar requiring the same notifications.
Other real estate legislation so far relates to ground rents and foreclosures:
Ground rents are in the spotlight again. House Bill 44 provides a ground lease registration form required with the ground lease holder’s contact information (name, phone number and even an email address) to be required by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. House Bill 45 requires ground rent to be redeemed at time of property transfer or refinance.
House Bill 200 increases the filing fee of a foreclosure of mortgage or deed of trust from $300 to $500. The fee is to be s distributed to the Housing Counseling and Foreclosure Mediation Fund.
Copyright © Dan Krell
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.