Ocean City Today
https://oceancitytoday.villagesoup.com/p/1668861

Court ruling affects condo amenity use

Reader's Forum
Jul 13, 2017

 

 

printed 07/14/17

 

Editor,

There are about 25,000 condominium units in Ocean City. Some of these unit owners may have had their use of condominium property significantly diminished by a June 23, 2017 opinion of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

In a seminal opinion written by an activist judge from Montgomery County, Maryland, the court ruled in a case called Elvaton Towne Condominium v. Rose that if the condominium legal documents permit it, an owner’s use of a condominium common element can be temporarily suspended under certain situation.

In the Elvaton decision, the court determined that the condominium legal documents can authorize the condominium board of directors to temporarily suspend the owner’s use of a condominium’s parking lot or swimming pool for not paying fees that are due.

On the surface, the Court’s decision seems reasonable. Unfortunately, the decision applies to many common elements if the unit owner has not paid required fees. For example, under the court decision, if properly authorized, the board of directors can suspend the owner’s use of an elevator in a high-rise building, turn off condominium-supplied cable or internet service or prohibit the use of onsite condominium storage lockers, outside showers, trash or mail boxes until all fees are up-to-date.

Prior to the June 23 decision, the accepted method to make sure all condominium owners paid required fees was for the board to place a court-ordered lien against the unit that would have to be paid before the unit could be sold.

The Maryland legislature needs to take prompt action to overturn this draconian ruling of the Maryland appeals court.

Joseph Potter

Ocean City

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