We need your help. Please read and share this with your fellow board members and any other association board members you may know.
Besides the perpetual snow storms we have been battling this winter, we are now faced with battling a different kind of “storm” brewing in Columbus due to proposed legislation that is totally adverse to the best interests of Ohio’s community associations.
In an apparent misguided attempt to improve community associations based on constituent complaints, Representative Cheryl Grossman (R – former mayor of Grove City) introduced HB 371. Our office thoroughly reviewed HB 371, as did the Ohio Community Associations Institute’s Legislative Action Committee (LAC), which Kaman & Cusimano partner Darcy Good currently chairs, and together we are united in our opposition to this legislation for three main reasons:
1) The worst part about HB 371 is that it subjects you, your fellow volunteer board members and property managers to criminal prosecution for failure to meet certain statutory requirements. It also requires all board meetings be open and abolishes the ability to make decisions without a meeting even with unanimous, written approval. For obvious reasons, these issues alone are reason enough to oppose this legislation.
2) Unfortunately, HB 371 also requires every association to register each year with the Department of Real Estate and provide all the Board members names, addresses and other information, which will be made available to the public. Each association will also be required to pay a “fee” each year, initially set at $3/unit. This fee will be used, in part, to fund the establishment of a dispute resolution commission, consisting of 7 volunteers appointed for 5-year terms to hear and investigate disputes filed by owners upset with the board/property manager. The bill gives the commission significant powers, including the right to subpoena and hold people in contempt, to investigate all claims and make a determination, usurping the board’s authority to do so. We all know that creating such a bureaucracy will require significant funding, resulting in the $3 fee increasing in the future, further adding to the demands of your association’s budget. In other words, this law will require every association to raise their fees.
3) Finally, this legislation requires all management companies and/or individual managers to obtain a real estate broker’s or salesperson license to be able to manage condominium associations with 10 or more units. As you know, we believe professional managers need education, which is why we welcome them to attend the seminars that we host for you and other board members. If you are familiar with real estate licensing, then you know that it bears no relationship to the skills needed to be a community association manager.
If you are interested in reading the legislation, please click here to be linked to our website where we posted a copy showing the new language underlined and the deleted language stricken:
The hearing for Opponent Testimony is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12, 2014, before the House Committee on Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development. Attorney Good will be there to testify on the detrimental impact this legislation will have on the industry based on her 16 years of experience as a community association attorney, 8 years as an owner/board member, and as the current LAC Chair. Additionally, several attorneys from our firm are joining her to meet with individual legislators and personally express our unanimous opposition.
At this time we ask you to join us in our opposition of HB371 by voicing your concerns to members of the House Committee in hopes that we can defeat this legislation in committee, so that it never makes it to the floor of the House for a vote. Since the committee already received a copy of our analysis, please do not forward it to them again. Voicing your opinion in your own words will have the strongest impact.
For a list of the members of the committee, please click here:
We also suggest you contact your district’s representative to let him/her know that you have strong concerns about this legislation. For assistance identifying him/her, please click here:
Finally, please consider copying your comments to Rep. Grossman. Keep in mind she authored this bill and intends to see it passed. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be assured that everyone here at Kaman & Cusimano is committed to defeating this legislation and pledge our time and resources.
Thank you for your time and consideration.