2018 Legislative Win with the help of PBA and BIA!
Uniform Condominium Act, the Uniform Planned Community Act, and the Real Estate Cooperative Act
House Bill 1499 (Rep. M. Keller R- Perry): HB 1499, Act 84 of 2018, approved 10/19/18, amends portions of Title 68 (Real and Personal Property, within the Uniform Condominium Act, the Uniform Planned Community Act, and the Real Estate Cooperative Act to:
- Clarify in stature the right of a board to suspend a units owner’s access to common elements, voting rights and the right to serve on the board if they are delinquent in assessments for violations of the governing documents of the community;
- Ensure that the existing requirement of declarant turnover of control to a board is satisfied without any undue delay or prejudice to the interests of the unit owners;
- Clarify that the procedures and voting requirements relating to the conveyance or encumbrance of common elements also apply in the case of tax sale or involuntary transfer, and that the interest in the common elements subject to the declaration prior to a conveyance or encumbrance are still subject to the declaration following the conveyance or encumbrance;
- Establish that a declarant’s obligation to release the real estate from liens before the conveyance the real estate to the association includes unpaid real estate taxes on that real estate; and
- Establish that an association’s right to pursue action under a declarant warranty against structural defects only begins at the time of termination of the declarant’s control.
HB 1499 also amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) regarding only planned communities to:
- Expand the definition of “common facilities” to include tenants frequently used in community governing documents such as “common area” or “open space”;
- Clarify that provisions in the Uniform Planned Community Act relating to the contents of a recorded declaration and the declarant’s special rights are in effect and enforceable even if not expressly stated in the community documents; and
- Clarify that the declarant’s right to designate portions of a planned community as a “common facility” must be disclosed within the declaration of the community.
Prior to Act 84, Title 68 set up a framework from which a condominium, planned community or cooperative may organize and create governing documents. Title 68 outlines requirements for the creation, alteration and management of these types of communities.
House Bill 1499 was amended with two PBA Amendments:
- First, to clarify that the stature of limitations will not begin (for commonly held elements only) until the commonly held property is transferred to the board elected by the unit owners. The original language allowed for the statute of limitations on warranty provisions for commonly held property to delay the start of the six year limitation period for as long as seven years until the board elected by the owners take over; and
- Second, codifies the “Notice of Termination” instructions into statute eliminating the confusion between the current regulation requirement for a “signature” and the NOT instructions stating notice in the Declaration fulfills the obligation when closing out an NPDES permit.
The BIA is working tirelessly to provide you with the best possible environment in which to do business!
2016/2017 GA Successes
House Bill 409 (Sponsored by Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Westmorland)), amends the Uniform Construction Code Act (RAC Fix it.) Bill fixes the underlying problems with the Department’s interpretation of Act 1 of 2011, which required the RAC to only review the “latest triennial revisions” of the new ICC Model Codes – This change is absolutely necessary to allow the RAC to review and adopt ICC Model Code provisions in the future. Companion Senate Bill 269 pending.
- Fixes the underlying problems with the PA UCC Act which required the RAC to only review the “latest triennial revisions” of the new codes – This change is absolutely necessary to allow the RAC to review and adopt ICC Model Code provisions in the future
- Allows for modifications of code provisions – Pennsylvania should not be required to simple adopt or reject code provisions. Allowing for modifications will enable the RAC to make sensible decisions on code updates while taking Pennsylvania’s unique circumstances into consideration. The ability to modify provisions will move Pennsylvania away from a “take it or leave it” approach to code adoption;
- Requires a 120-day public comment period on code provisions and gives the RAC two years to study and review new model codes prior to adoption. This change ensures the regulated community will be able to have significant input on new code adoptions; and
- Creates a Pennsylvania Specific UCC Book - Builders must stay up-to-date on all adopted code sections in Pennsylvania. Currently, achieving this compliance requires industry professionals to purchase and reference numerous different code books. Providing for the purchase of one single set of Pennsylvania-specific code books, and making all codes publically available online, is a necessary step toward helping builders, contractors and consumers achieve building code compliance in a practical manner.
Senate Resolution 385
Directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study to analyze and identify which environmental laws and regulations of this Commonwealth have more stringent standards than Federal law requires. Adopted 10/18/16 (27-21) - Report is due to the Senate in 18-months.
Senate Bill 1282 (Act 162 of 2016) Clarifies the manner in which a county Recorders of Deeds Office may charge fees for the recording of amendments to declarations of condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities. Counties throughout the state have been charging separate indexing fees for each lot when amendments to a community association governing documents are recorded. Many of our builders see fees totaling thousands of dollars of additional costs. This makes the passage of simple, but necessary, changes to governing documents cost-prohibitive for many planned communities. This legislation will prohibit per lot indexing fees, bringing fees to a reasonable and affordable level.
House Bill 1437 (Act 133 of 2016) Creates “Temporary Access ”certificates that will allow a sale of property to move forward, but require that substantial code violations be corrected prior to the new owner inhabiting the property. It will also require that all other code violations be corrected within a certain time frame, with financial and other penalties left in place for failure to comply.
2015 GA Successes
Act 31 – Permit Extension Clarification – Amended the Development Permit Extension Act to specifically included condominium and planned community Declarations within the tolling provisions. In addition, provisions suspending the expiration dates of certain approvals obtained by developers and property owners have been clarified as to how the period of suspension will be calculated when the extension period terminated.Act 59 – Union Intimidation Act – Successfully closed loop holes in Pennsylvania's criminal code to declare harassment, stalking, and deadly threats to be prohibited activities when perpetrated by a party engaged in a labor dispute. Act 59 ensures that Pennsylvania workers are safer and more secure at the workplace and in their communities.
Act 37 & Act 38 – Clarifies that that the creation of planned communities and condominium associations out of existing land or facilities will not require municipal approval unless and until new structures or buildings are constructed within the association or community. Act 42 – Amended the Municipalities Planning Code to allow municipalities to appoint up to three residents of the municipality as alternate members of the municipality’s planning commission. PA House Bill 635—Providing the RAC with flexibility to make appropriate decisions regarding PA Building Codes Federal, House Bill 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act and Senate Bill, 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, preventing the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act that could result in millions of acres of private property to be regulated as wetlands.
We will continue to work with key members of the local, state and national government to promote our industry’s issues so that the quality housing and renovation construction we perform can continue to benefit our county.
Current GA Priorities
- Defend Against Adverse Implementation of Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy/Defend against Excessive Proposed TMDL Regulations –EPA
- Defend Against Excessive Municipal Construction Codes
- Defend against excessive Erosion/Sediment Control/Storm water Management Regulations
- Defend against proposed legislation to modify the state’s farmland preservation program
- Defend against municipal fee abuse
- PennDOT Task Force/Pilot Program