2017-2018 Legislative Session
House Bill 2409: Service Animal Integrity Act
CAI supports this Bill. Introduced on February 2, 2018 by Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams): This Act provides a community association or a landlord who has received a request from a person to make exceptions to the landlord’s policy prohibiting animals or otherwise placing restrictions on animals because the person requires the use of an assistance animal or service animal, the right to request documentation of the disability. CAI successfully pushed an amendment to add association governed communities to the original legislation.
Most recent update: Passed the House unanimously on April 9, 2018. Passed the Senate on October 16, 2018. Signed by Governor Wolf on October 24, 2018.
Senate Bill 1039: Residential Rights to Solar Energy
CAI has not yet taken an official position on this Bill. Introduced on February 9, 2018 by Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester): This legislation would prevent homeowners’ associations from prohibiting the installation of solar panels and solar energy systems on freestanding homes within their communities.
House Bill 1979: Instruments Under Seal
CAI supports this Bill. Introduced on December 21, 2017 by Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin): Unit owners residing in common interest communities (CICs) are required to pay assessments to maintain the common facilities in the community. If a unit owner fails to pay assessments, statute and case law provide associations two remedies: a) a four-year statutory lien and b) a personal collection action. Prior to 2009, associations based their personal collection actions on a four-year statute of limitations, founded upon a breach-of-contract theory. However, in 2009, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that a personal action to collect unpaid community assessments, under certain circumstances, constituted an action under seal, subject to a twenty-year statute of limitations. This new collection remedy has been vitally important in helping struggling communities survive the recession that is still lingering in certain parts of the state. Unfortunately, this important remedy is now in jeopardy as the relevant provision of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5529(b), is subject to a sunset date, set to expire on June 27, 2018. This legislation would remove the sunset provision from state law.
Most recent update: Passed the House unanimously on February 6, 2018. Passed the Senate on June 19, 2018. Signed by Governor Wolf on June 26, 2018.
House Bill 1499: Omnibus Amendments to Title 68
CAI supports this Bill. Introduced on June 6, 2017 by Rep. Mark Keller (R-Cumberland/Perry): These amendments to the statutes governing common interest ownership communities in the Commonwealth are all intended to clarify existing provisions of the Acts and enhance the overall administration and governance of our community associations. As currently proposed, these amendments relate to five (5) specific sections within each of the Acts and three (3) pertain just to the UPCA. Specifically, they address the powers of the association; the conveyance and encumbrance of common elements; the release of liens from real estate to be conveyed to the association; the declarant’s warranty against structural defects; the definition of, and disclosure requirements for, common facilities; and the contents of a recorded declaration. The proposed amendments are designed to be entirely consistent with the statutory scheme already put in place by our Legislature and the consumer protection policies and purposes embodied in the Acts.
Most recent update: Passed the Senate unanimously on October 2, 2018. Passed the House unanimously on October 10, 2018. Signed by Governor Wolf on October 19, 2018.
Senate Bill 843: Community Association Data Transparency
CAI supports this Bill. Introduced on August 11, 2017 by Senator Mario Scavello (R-Monroe): This legislation would amend the Municipalities Planning Code to require County Planning Commissions to include CIOC data in their currently required annual report. Counties would be required to collect, maintain, and make available upon request, information identifying condominium associations, cooperative housing developments, and planned communities located within the boundaries of the County. While it is estimated that 2.8 million PA residents live in a common interest ownership community (CIOC) and that roughly 80 percent of new housing starts since 2000 are CIOCs, the actual number and location of these communities is, by and large, unknown. Senate Bill 855 would mandate the collection of data, including information such as name, physical location, land area, lot size, number of units and location and would aid the State in assessing the impact of legislation specific to CIOCs. To mitigate the impact on County governments, amendments to the original bill would permit the County to make the data available to the public at a cost not to exceed that allowed under the state Right to Know Law and would also permit the posting of the data in electronic form.
House Bill 1336: Political Signs
CAI has not yet taken an official position on this Bill. Introduced on March 15, 2017 by Rep. Maureen Madden (D-Monroe): This legislation would allow the display of political signs up to 30 days before and 48 hours after a general election, superseding homeowners’ association by-laws.
House Bill 595: Homeowners Associations and Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection
CAI supports this Bill. Introduced and Referred to House Urban Affairs Committee on February 23, 2017 by Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe): This legislation assigns the investigation and mediation of certain complaints regarding planned communities, cooperatives, and condominiums under Title 68 (Real Property), to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Most recent update: Passed the Senate unanimously April 17, 2018. Approved by the Governor on May 7, 2018.
House Bill 431: Private Dam Financial Assurance Program and the Private Dam Financial Assurance Fund
CAI Supports this Bill. Introduction and Referred to House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee on February 10, 2017 by Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe): This legislation establishes the Pennsylvania Private Dam Financial Assurance Program and the Private Dam Financial Assurance Fund. Early in 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued new regulations requiring private dam owners to provide a mechanism for financial responsibility over their dams, in the event of a dam breach. The deadline for the financial responsibility tool was January 1, 2016. This new requirement was in addition to new registration and dam project fees in the thousands of dollars. For the many community associations throughout Pennsylvania that own a private dam, this meant that by January 1, 2016, the community needed to have surety or collateral bonds in place. However, it has been found that adequate insurance products are simply not available, requiring community associations in some cases to put up tens of thousands of dollars in bonds. These sums are simply beyond the financial ability of many community associations who depend on their lakes for recreational amenities for owners and visitors alike. House Bill 431 would offer financial assurance for the owners of private dams to meet the financial obligations imposed under the Dam Safety and Encroachment Act.
Most Recent Update: House Bill 431 was included in the 2018 Fiscal Code adopted as part of the 2019 state budget, adopted on June 22, 2018, and will become effective immediately upon the governor’s signature.