Real Estate Report

(Oct. 5, 2018) Maryland Realtors recently released a report on 2018 Maryland legislation that took effect on Oct. 1 relating to the real estate industry.

A sampling of the new laws is below. A more complete list can be viewed at www.mdrealtor.org.

HB 305/SB 158 – Homestead Property Tax Credit Program — Eligibility Awareness

Directs the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) to identify homeowners who may be eligible for the Homestead Property Tax Credit Program and provide them information about how to apply with each assessment notice.

HB 923 – Environment – Water and Sewer Service

Enables local governments and water authorities to create assistance programs (e.g. payment plans and donation plans) for individuals struggling to pay water and sewer bills. Authorizes the local government and the water utilities to disconnect service when a property is determined to be vacant or unfit for human habitation.

HB 279 – Housing and Community Development – Homebuyer Education Requirements

Provides additional flexibility for individuals who are required to take a homebuyer class as a requirement for financing.

The bill permits loan recipients to take an online HUD-approved homebuyer education program for a loan associated with a HUD-approved product. The legislation would also allow a homebuyer education program certificate approved in one county to be used in another county.

HB 575 – Condominiums – Suspension of Use of Common Elements

Authorizes the council of unit owners to “suspend the use of parking or recreational facility common elements by a unit owner that is more than 60 days delinquent in paying assessments.”

To be effective, a council of unit owners must add this authority to their bylaws by a 60 percent vote of the unit owners.

HB 1073/SB 468 – Landlord and Tenant – Residential Leases – Water and Sewer

Requires landlords of one to two dwelling units to provide to the tenant a copy of the water or sewer bill unless the tenant pays the bills directly to the utility providers.

If the tenant pays the water and sewer fee directly to the landlord, the lease must state that the tenant is responsible for paying these fees.

HB 810/SB 728 – Public Safety – Battery Operated Smoke Alarms

Prohibits the sale of a battery-operated smoke alarm unless it is a sealed, tamper resistant unit with long-life batteries.

Authorizes W-Fi connected smoke alarms linked to alarm systems and authorizes the fire marshal to designate other systems as compliant.

Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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