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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 20, 2014 12:03 PM
From: Senator Mike Folmer
To: All Senate members
Subject: Transparency Amendment to Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA)
 
Shortly, I plan to introduce an amendment to the Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA) to create more transparency for Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) in the Commonwealth.

HOAs are important entities that provide for the maintenance of shared space within a community, settle disputes among neighbors, and establish statutes that protect property values. HOA agreements require a balance between individual liberty and community harmony. At present, that balance seems to favor HOAs due to a lack of transparency and clarity under current law. For example:
  • HOAs are not allowed to draft amendments to the original declarations in contracts without a meeting of homeowners in the community plus 67% approval. But presently, HOAs can announce a meeting 10 days in advance by letter and establish a quorum with just 10-20% of the homeowners in attendance. This enables HOAs to create new penalties, fines, and increased dues payments, with limited input from unit owners in the community
  • Bylaws establish the means by which HOAs operate, i.e.: how and when executive board representatives are elected, how meetings are scheduled, where records are kept, etc. However, current law gives HOAs the power to “provide for any other matters the association deems necessary and proper.” This lack of clarity can create problems.

My proposed legislation would:

  • Establish quorums at 50% of unit owners (instead of the current 20%)
  • Restrict “necessary and appropriate” actions of HOAs without the consent of the community
  • Limit the ability to create bylaws to circumvent meeting requirements and collect new revenues
  • Strengthen meeting publication: first notice 30-60 days before meetings plus a 2nd notice 7-10 days before meetings (current law allows one notice 10 days before a meeting)
  • Clarify the provision stating that HOA or unit owners’ attorneys’ fees are required to be paid only if they lose (i.e., not up front if they go to trial as is sometimes – erroneously – claimed by HOAs under current law)

Thank you for your consideration.



Introduced as SB1302