MARYLAND CONDOMINIUM ATTORNEYS
Representing Condos, HOAs and Co-Ops in Maryland and DC
COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LAW PRACTICE
The Maryland condominium attorneys and HOA lawyers at Cowie & Mott provide legal representation and advice to condominium associations and homeowners associations throughout the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia. Our Maryland condominium attorneys have extensive experience representing community associations and provide legal services to condominium associations on a daily basis. In addition to providing legal advise, contract negotiation, written opinion and other general counsel services, our law firm is known for its ability litigate, arbitrate, mediate and settle legal matters of all levels of complexity on behalf of condominiums and homeowners association. The Maryland condominium attorneys and lawyers at Cowie & Mott are sought after by board members and their property managers for sound legal advise. Cowie & Mott represents community associations of all types and sizes, including high-rise condominiums, mid-rise condominiums, townhouse condominiums, “two over two” condominiums, cooperative housing communities, single family homeowners associations and mixed use condominiums.
Note Regarding Community Association Terminology:
In Maryland, a condominium association is also referred to as a “council of unit owners” and a homeowners association is sometimes referred to as an “HOA.” In Washington DC, a condominium association is also referred to as a “unit owners’ association.” Cooperative housing communities are sometimes referred to as “Co-ops” or “cooperatives.” Condominiums, HOAs and Co-ops are collectively referred to as “community associations” or “common interest communities.”
The term “developer” is frequently used herein to describe the person or entity that creates a community association. “Developer” is the terminology used by the Maryland Condominium Act for this purpose. However, a developer is referred to as a “declarant” in both the Maryland Homeowners Association Act and the District of Columbia Condominium Act.
The terms “board of directors” or “board” and its “members” or “board members” are terms that refers to the governing body of a community association and the individuals who make up the governing body. This is the terminology used by the Maryland Condominium Act. However, it should be noted that the “board of directors” is also referred to as the “governing body” in the Maryland Homeowners Association Act and the “executive board” in the District of Columbia Condominium Act.
Cowie & Mott’s Maryland condominiums attorneys and lawyers are active in the community association industry. We are members of the Chesapeake Region and Washington Metro Chapters of the Community Associations Institute (‘CAI”) as well as the Delmarva Condominium Managers Association, Property Management Association and the Maryland Multi-Family Housing Association. T. Allen Mott and Nicholas D. Cowie have each been representing condominiums for over 25 years. Mr. Mott is the Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Associations Institute Chesapeake Region Chapter. Mr. Mott is a Maryland condominium lawyer known for handling and settling many complex cases on behalf of condominium associations. Mr. Cowie actively promotes the rights of condominium and homeowners associations and his work in the Maryland legislature and Maryland appellate courts has greatly strengthend the rights of community associations and their homeowner members. He regularly drafts, testifies and leads or participates in efforts to pass legislation, including laws that have extend condominium and HOA warranty periods for construction defects (see Warranty Reform Legislation Article) and laws that govern the transition process by which developers of newly created condominiums and HOAs transfer control of association governance to the purchasing homeowners (see Developer Transition Article). Maryland condominium lawyer Nicholas D. Cowie also developed the legal rationale and arguments in the cases of Antigua Condominium and Bentley Place Condominium that have shaped Maryland law in favor of condominiums associations and their unit owner members. Mr. Cowie regularly authors articles in CAI publications regarding issues unique to condominium associations and HOA’s and he is the author of the Maryland Condominium Construction Defect Law Blog as well as the instructor of the CAI course entitled “Resolving Construction Defect Disputes with Developers.”
DEVELOPER TRANSITION LAWS
New Community Associations
“Developer transition,” refers to the process by which the governance of a condominium or homeowners association is transferred from developer to homeowner control (i.e., the “unit owners” in a condominium and “lot owners” in the case of an HOA). It is important for community association boards of directors and their property managers to be aware of the legal obligations that apply to both developer and the initial homeowner-controlled board of directors once control over the association is transferred. Follow the links below for an overview of the legal requirements that govern the transition process and a helpful “transition checklist” for newly elected homeowner-controlled boards that have assumed control over their association from the developer:
Developer Transition – Legal Requirements and Transition Checklist
Our Maryland condominium law attorneys have years of experience representing condominium associations and homeowners associations in the transition process. Cowie & Mott, P. A. provides free legal consultation for transitioning association boards of directors so they can commence governing the their communities in an informed manner without waiving important rights or failing to fulfill important obligations to their communities and members.
ASSOCIATION BUSINESS LAW
Community associations are business organizations created to conducting the affairs of the community. The association’s responsibilities include collecting assessment, establishing budgets, and expending monies necessary to conduct the association’s business, including the operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of community common elements and common areas. Like many businesses, condominium and homeowners associations have a boards of directors and officers who are responsible for association business. The board members and officers must act in the best interest of the community and are responsible to their unit owners or lot owner members just like corporate board members and officers of a business are responsible to their shareholders. Unlike most businesses, however, the association’s members of the board of directors and officers are volunteers and have statutory immunity from liability for their actions that are taken in good faith. As volunteers, boards hire management companies, vendors, accountants and lawyers to assist them in complying with applicable laws and generally carrying out the affairs of the association on behalf the community and its members. The Maryland condominium lawyers and HOA attorneys at Cowie & Mott represent community associations with their business law matters. We provide legal advise on matters involving the operation and maintenance of condominiums and homeowners associations. Our Maryland condominium attorneys and lawyers negotiate contracts that protect the rights of the association and its members. Our lawyers collect assessments, enforce contracts with vendors, defend against litigation, assist with insurance claims, and handle compliance with applicable laws.
ASSOCIATION GOVERNANCE LAW
Community associations are governing bodies that have authority to make and enforce the rules, obligation and restriction that come with living in a common ownership community. The association’s board of directors is charged with complying with the association’s declaration and bylaws and all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations in overseeing the governance of the community. These responsibilities include following the procedures set forth in the governing documents pertaining to decision making, holding meetings of the board and open meetings of association members, voting, keeping minutes and preparing board resolutions. The board members and officers must also deal with and resolve disputes regarding violations of community rules and regulations, violation of restrictions and covenants pertaining to use of units and common areas, proposed architectural changes, etc. The Maryland condominium attorneys at Cowie & Mott represent and provide legal advise to condominium associations and HOAs on matters involving governance by interpreting the governing documents, attending annual meetings, preparing official correspondence, drafting board resolutions, amending governing documents, and enforcing rules and regulations.
ASSOCIATION LITIGATION, MEDIATION & ARBITRATION
The Maryland condominium lawyers and litigation attorneys at Cowie & Mott provide full litigation, mediation and arbitration services to condominiums and HOAs. We have a wealth knowledge and experience regarding legal disputes involving common interest communities. Most legal disputes we handle on behalf of condominium and homeowners associations are settled before litigation is ever filed. The Maryland condominium attorneys and lawyers at Cowie & Mott are able to resolve most disputes by direct discussion, negotiation and written communication. However, if litigation, arbitration or mediation becomes necessary, the experienced condominium litigation attorneys and lawyers at the law firm of Cowie & Mott have extensive experience and a track record that other attorneys and parties respect. We have successfully litigated and defended condominiums in many complex litigation matters and resolve community association legal disputes on a regular basis. Our law firm is known for litigating, mediating and ultimately settling cases on behalf of community associations. In fact, our Maryland condominium lawyers and HOA attorneys work toward resolving community association legal disputes on an almost daily basis and are familiar with the unique issues that arise in the context of representing condominiums and HOAs and have developed strategies and techniques over the years to handle those issues. Nicholas D. Cowie and T. Allen Mott have over 50 years combined experience representing condominiums and homeowner associations in legal matters and litigation disputes. We have been involved in some of the largest cases that have shaped Maryland condominium law. Mr. Cowie served as trial counsel in the case Milton Co. vs. Bentley Place Condominium in which a jury awarded $6.6 million in favor of a condominium association in addition to an award of $500,000 in attorneys fees. More recently, Mr. Mott obtained a $5.6 million jury award in favor of a condominium association. See our Blog Posts: “Cowie & Mott Attorneys Obtain $5.6 million jury award for construction defects” and $5.6 million jury award for condominium association obtained by Cowie & Mott Lawyers.
ASSOCIATION LEGAL SERVICES
The Maryland condominium attorneys and lawyers at Cowie & Mott provide legal advice and representation to community associations and common ownership communities, including the following legal services:
- Contract Review andNnegotiation
- Contract Preparation
- Declaration and Bylaw Amendments
- Rules and Regulation Promulgation
- Collection of Delinquent Assessments
- Lien and Foreclosure Proceedings
- Opinion Letters and Legal Advise
- Interpretation of Governing Documents
- Rules & Regulations Enforcement
- Violation Notices and Hearings
- Drafting Board Resolutions
- Drafting Board Correspondence
- Voting, Proxies, and Special meetings
- Developer Transition Issues
- Construction Defects and Warranty Enforcement
- Condominium Mechanic’s Lien Actions
- Legal Oversight and Documentation of Major Renovation and Repair projects
- Architectural Control
- Property Disputes and Easements
- Statutory Resale Disclosures
- Open Membership Meeting Procedures
- Board of Directors Meetings
- Condo HOA Open Meetings Laws
- Full litigation Services (prosecution and defense)
- Vendor Payment and Performance Disputes
- Developer Warranty Claims
- Resolution of Threatened Lawsuits
- Compliance with Applicable Laws
- Contract Breach and Enforcement
- Compliance with Association Governing Documents
- Legal Advice Regarding Reserve Studies and Transition Studies
- Insurance Matters
- Insurance Claims
- Liability and Risk Avoidance
- Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacement Obligations
- Unit Owner Disputes
- General Condominium Governance
The Maryland condominium attorneys and homeowners association lawyers at Cowie & Mott, P.A. have long-term relationships with accredited professionals that specialize in working with condominium associations. We educate board members and homeowners on matters involving Maryland and Washington DC condominium law and represent the interest of the community association in reviewing and enforcing governing documents, providing legal opinions to board members, negotiating contracts with vendors and service providers and resolving legal disputes. The Maryland condominium attorneys at Cowie & Mott also represents homeowner association communities and cooperatives in matters involving Maryland and Washington DC law.
Contact the Maryland condominium attorneys and HOA Lawyers at Cowie & Mott to discuss your community association law issues in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
MARYLAND CONDOMINIUM ATTORNEYS & HOA LAWYERS
Maryland (excluding suburban DC) and Southern Delaware
Washington, DC and vicinity
MEMBER OF THE
A COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LAW FIRM
Serving Condominiums and Homeowners Associations in Maryland and Washington DC (District of Columbia)