Nagle & Zaller, P.C. | Attorneys At Law

A simple guide to community associations in Maryland

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2023 | Community Association Law

“Community association” is a term used to describe residential developments where homeowners collectively share responsibility for the upkeep of their living environment and are bound by a set of governing documents. In Maryland, there are three primary types of community associations: Homeowners Associations (HOAs), Condominiums (Condos) and Co-ops (Cooperatives).

Homeowner associations (HOAs)

HOAs are voluntary organizations created to manage and maintain a residential community. These associations typically collect monthly or annual dues from homeowners to pay for services such as landscaping, snow removal and maintenance of common areas.

HOAs governing documents, known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), outline the rules and regulations for homeowners. The CC&Rs are enforceable by the HOA board of directors, and violations may result in fines or other disciplinary actions.

Condominiums (Condos)

A Condo is a form of property ownership where each unit owner owns his or her individual unit and also has an undivided interest in the common elements of the building, such as hallways, stairwells, clubhouses, et cetera. Typically, an owner is responsible for maintaining everything within his or her walls, and then the Condominium Association takes care of the rest.

Like HOAs, condo associations collect monthly or annual fees from unit owners to cover maintenance costs associated with the upkeep of common areas. Condo association governing documents outline rules and regulations for members, which the condo board enforces.

Co-ops (Cooperatives)

Co-ops, also known as cooperative housing or co-housing, are usually composed of multiple units owned by a single entity. Each unit owner has exclusive rights to his or her own unit and is responsible for paying an occupancy fee that covers maintenance and other costs associated with the property.

Unlike HOAs and Condos, there are no governing documents in a Co-op as each member owns a portion of the entire building instead of just his or her individual unit. The upkeep and maintenance of the property are typically handled by the Co-op board, which sets rules and policies for members. The Community Association Law may also be applicable in case of issues beyond the scope of the Co-op’s governance.

No matter which type of community association you live in or preside over, it is important to become familiar with the governing documents and abide by their rules and regulations. This can be instrumental when disputes arise within the community. Furthermore, staying educated on state and local laws can help ensure that associations are in compliance with all applicable regulations.