As we enter the 2021-2022 legislative session, the Pennsylvania Legislative Action Committee has been diligently following legislation that has been recently introduced, or that it anticipates will be introduced or re-introduced in this session.
COVID-19 Legislation. Legislation has been introduced in the Senate and is anticipated to be introduced in the House which would provide certain limitations of liability and immunities with respect to COVID-19 exposure. The PA CAI LAC has been in communication with the bills’ sponsors, in efforts to ensure that the legislation will extend such limitations and immunities to common interest communities in providing services to their members.
Community Data Transparency. HB 731 was re-introduced in similar form as in previous legislative sessions, and, if enacted, would amend the Municipalities Planning Code to require County Planning Commissions to include data on common interest communities in their annual report, which data would include information such as the association name, physical location, land area, lot size, number of units and location for associations located within the boundaries of the county. The data would then be available to legislators and to the public. CAI supports Bill 731.
Individual Water Metering. HB 377 was recently introduced and if enacted would require that each residential dwelling unit include a separate water meter. The LAC recognizes that such a requirement would potentially place a tremendous burden upon impacted community associations, and is working with the bill’s sponsor to address ways to mitigate this burden.
Tax Equity Legislation. The LAC anticipates that another bill will be reintroduced during the current session which would seek to reduce the burden for what amounts to “double taxation” for unit owners in community associations, as these homeowners are often required to pay annual assessments to their association for the upkeep and maintenance of commonly owned facilities such as streets, water and sewer facilities, trash removal and similar services, while at the same time paying taxes to the municipality for similar facilities and services that other homeowners in the same municipality receive. CAI supports this anticipated legislation.
Proposed Legislation. The members of the LAC are currently following other proposals which are anticipated to be introduced during the current session, and are working with their sponsors to ensure that the proposed legislation is introduced in a form most beneficial to community associations. One such proposal will introduce sweeping reforms to voting procedures within community associations. Another measure would increase the disclosure requirements at the time of closing of units within a community association. Also proposed is legislation that would commission a study of community associations, similar to studies performed in past years. Additional information will be provided regarding each of these proposals as they progress through the legislative process.
Virtual Advocacy Summit. If you have an interest in influencing such legislative efforts, PA LAC invites you to join them for the annual Advocacy Summit on April 15, to be held virtually this year. Attendees will be meeting virtually with state legislators and their staff in an effort to educate them on the important issues and to advocate for legislation supported by the LAC. We hope you are able to participate in the interesting and rewarding event. Advance registration is required, which can be completed at this link. Act soon, as spaces are limited, and filling up quickly. After you register, you will be grouped with other participants to meet with your legislators and their staffs. If you have never participated before, this is your year! You can attend virtually and you don’t even need to wear pants!
Legislative update authored by Diane Wohlfarth, Esq.,
Papernick & Gefsky, LLC, PA LAC Delgate