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CCOC Decision Summary

#32-09, East Gate II Homes Ass. v. Basile (March 4, 2010) (Panel: Stevens, Negro, Oxendine)

The HOA filed a complaint against Basile asking for an order requiring her to repair a collapsing retaining wall on her property that ran alongside a pathway in the common areas.  Basile filed an answer in which she claimed that the wall was collapsing due to defects in the common area, namely, tree roots and poor drainage.  In response, the HOA claimed that an examination of the wall showed that it was not built on a proper foundation and its collapse was therefore not the HOA's responsibility.

Shortly before the dispute was to be heard, Basile notified the Panel that she had sold her home and would soon be moving out of the HOA permanently.  The Panel on its own initiative directed the HOA to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  The HOA argued, in response, that the issue of liability for the wall was a live controversy and should be resolved.

After considering the HOA's arguments, the Panel nonetheless decided to dismiss the complaint without prejudice.  The Panel noted that under Sections 10B-8 and 10B-9 of the Montgomery County Code, it only had jurisdiction to decide disputes between "parties" and the word "parties" included only associations, their members, and their residents.  Since Basile was now neither a member nor a resident, having sold her home and moved away, the Commission had no personal jurisdiction over her.  (The Panel stated, however, that its decision did not affect the merits of the underlying dispute concerning responsibility for repairs of the retaining wall.) 

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