Lauren Bunting

Lauren Bunting

(July 17, 2020) Below is a summary of the 2020 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly on items that were passed and put into legislation affecting the real estate industry as it relates to Real Estate Brokerage and Contracts.

All listed are effective Oct. 1, 2020. For the complete list, visit mdrealtor.org.

HB 93/SB 155 – Consumer Protection – Mobile Home Purchasers – Establishes a duty of good faith, restrictions on steering, and notice about foreclosure on mobile home retailers.

HB 116/SB 164 – Home Builder Guaranty Fund – Award Limitations – Increases the aggregate limitation on Home Builder guarantee fund payouts to $500,000 from $300,000. Individual payouts are still limited to $50,000.

HB 241/SB 170 – Real Property – Ground Leases – Past Due Ground Rent – Permits title companies to stop escrowing three years’ worth of ground rent if it was never registered.

HB 481/SB 131 – State Highways – Commercial Signs in Rights–of–Way – Penalties – Although these bills were not identical, both increased the penalties for violations of commercial signs in state right-of-ways.

SB 131 was passed and keeps the current fine at $25, but increases the fine to $100 if the commercial sign is affixed to a state sign, signal or marker.

HB 1077 – Real Property – Deletion of Unlawful Ownership Restrictions – Exemption from Fees and Surcharges – Prior legislation created an easier process to remove illegal covenants affecting race, religious belief or national origin from property records for community groups and homeowners. This legislation eliminates fees associated with recording such documents.

HB 1446/SB 350 – State Real Estate Commission – Continuing Education Requirements – Ethics and Professionalism – Requires a professionalism component as part of the three-hour mandatory Ethics Class. Does not increase the total number of hours required for continuing education.

SB 570 – Real Property – Notice of Easements, Covenants, Restrictions, and Conditions – Recordation –Authorizes a notice of easement, covenants or other property restriction to be recorded in the land records. Because title searches do not examine the entire title of a property, there are times when easements and other property restrictions are missed.

By allowing a notice to be recorded closer to sale, the property restriction is more likely to be discovered by a title search. The bill is not mandatory but allows parties who wish to enforce their rights to record the notice.

– Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Atlantic Shores Sotheby’s International Realty in Ocean City.

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