Following the release of a report evaluating the Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities, the Montgomery County Council in Maryland enacted legislation that requires training and certification for board members of common ownership communities. Under Montgomery County law, a common ownership community (COC) is a homeowners' association (HOA), a residential condominium, or a cooperative housing community. A condominium with no residential units is not subject to this new training requirement. It is unclear whether training is mandatory for a residential shelf condominium—a residential condominium where all units are offered for rent by a single owner.

Required Training for Board Members

The council passed legislation that requires all members of a board of directors of a COC to complete a mandatory training program on board member responsibilities, which must occur within 90 days of being elected or appointed. This applies to all COCsthere is no exclusion for developer-appointed board members.

The new law became effective on January 1, 2016.

Board members appointed or elected after January 1, 2016, are required to complete the training within 90 days after being appointed or elected for a new term.

Board members appointed or elected before January 1, 2016, are exempt under a grandfather provision, unless reappointed or reelected after January 1, 2016, to a new term.

If an individual serves on the board of more than one COC and completes the mandatory training, each COC can report that the individual has completed the training.

Every COC in Montgomery County is required to certify annually that its board members have complied with the training requirements.

The commission has launched a new training program, Community Governance Fundamentals, which provides the mandatory training program online. Once the training is complete, the board member submits the completion certificate to the COC for its annual compliance report.

The attorneys in Ballard Spahr’s Mixed-Use Development and Condominiums Practice represent clients in all aspects of transactions and disputes involving mixed-use and mixed-ownership communities and developments nationwide. This includes extensive experience advising clients on compliance with applicable state, county, and local laws and regulations in Maryland.

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