Q: MD Condo Act 11-125(e): This section's language is based on Investigating "damage" that already exists.
My condo has Noticed all 300 units in our hi-rise that they WILL be coming to "inspect" every unit for leaks and to ensure that we have the required (new rule) water alarms from 11/18-29/22. They are not presuming damage exists in all these units, nor that if damage does exist that it may cause any damage to adjacent units. It is merely to see if we are following a new rule. They tacked onto this trespass a request to complete a confidential form while these unofficial employees and committee representatives watch.
In my reading of 11-125(e) all access is based on whether there is reason to believe that there is current damage that may reasonably affect adjacent units.
Therefore, their Notice is to trespass regardless of my denial of entry. They cite Bylaws and the deed of conveyance both of which conflict with the law and should not allow avoidance of having to follow the law.
They are being extremely heavy handed in this and I feel I desperately need some legal help.
A: Your questions references the Maryland Statute. You don't reference the condo by-laws and rules that specifically govern your unit/development. This is where you will find your answer, I am certain. There may also be a dispute resolution process in the by-laws or rules. You should also review the board meeting minutes for recorded nots of discussions and decisions on this topic.
Mark Oakley agrees with this answer
A: Adding to Mr. Valkenet's fine answer, I would observe that the Condo Board is made up of your fellow condo unit owners, generally acting without pay, for the benefit of everyone. It falls on the Board to address issues that affect all owners, and it can be a very thankless job. I imagine they are acting to comply with either some law regarding water alarms, or some issue with the building that requires installation of the water alarms. It may also be something the insurance company insuring damage loss for the building requires as a precondition to mantaining the insurance on the building. Depending on the age of the building, there may be issues with the common area water lines serving all the units, that require maintenance and monitoring, or risk potentially severe or catastrophic flooding. Uness they take appropriate precautions, they may lose insurance coverage in the event of a failure in the plumbing system. These are just speculative observations, but in my experience, Condo and Homeowner Boards do not generally engage in these types of activities without direction from engineering and safety professionals advising them to act, or at the direction of the insurer providing coverage for the building, or in respnse to new laws and regulations. Yes, you may be a stick-in-the-mud and delay or block their entrance, assuming there is no overriding provision in your Condo documents or the law that requires you to comply, but you may be undermining your own and fellow unit owners' safety and potentially costing your entire building to lose its insurance coverage if the Board cannot meet the insuer's coverage requirements. Did you follow the news regarding the condo building that collapsed in Florida and killed hundreds of residents, largely on account of the delay in performing needed structural repairs after cracks were discovered in the foundation that allowed water penetration? If you are legally required to comply and refuse, then court action to enforce your compliance will result in a potential monetary judgment and lien against your condo for any expenses (legal fees, etc.) the Board incurs in obtaining your compliance. Judgment liens left unpaid can be collected by sale of your unit by judicial auction. Therefore, you should be absolutely certain about your legal position before standing on principle and denying access. Owning a unit in a condo building makes you part of a collective group contract and partnership where every unit owner has obligations to every other unit owner and to the condo community as a whole, and vice versa. Each unit owner is not free to totally go it alone.
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