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CCOC Decision Summary

#557-O, Benziger v. Westbard Mews Condominium (January 30, 2003) (Panel: Van Grack, Subin, Cihak)

The homeowner (HO) filed a complaint alleging that the condominium association (CA) had modified a longstanding policy of repairing all fences by shifting that burden to the unit owners without giving the unit owners advance notice of the meeting at which this policy would be discussed.She also alleged that the CA was holding closed meetings in violation of the law.

After holding a hearing and receiving evidence from both sides, the panel concluded that the CA board did not hold closed meetings for reasons not permitted by Section 11-109.1 of the Maryland Condominium Act but did fail to give notice and keep proper records for closed meetings as required by the law.

However, the panel also ruled that the CA was not giving reasonable notice of the board meetings."Reasonable notice must take into account that owners are likely to have personal, family and employment obligations they will attempt to reschedule to enable attending the governing body meeting if they desire to do so."

The panel ordered the CA to establish a schedule for board meetings that showed the dates, times, and locations of those meetings and to give a copy of the schedule to the membership.For special meetings, the panel ordered the CA to follow the procedures specified in its bylaws and give the members notice of the time and place of the special meeting unless it qualifies as a closed meeting under the law.Finally the panel ordered the CA to provide sufficient funds in its budget so that it could mail proper notices of its annual meetings to every member, and to mail a copy of its Decision to every homeowner.

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