Operating a homeowners' association (HOA) in Maryland is no easy task. These organizations have a responsibility to comply with the relevant federal and state homeowner association laws, so the first step to fulfilling a management role within an HOA is familiarizing yourself with the relevant Maryland HOA laws.

However, with so many laws to navigate and complex legal jargon that's hard to understand, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. We understand your difficulties, which is why we have taken it upon ourselves to create this informative guide to help you better understand the federal, state, and local laws that govern homeowners' associations in Maryland.

In this article, we will provide an in-depth look at some of the most important acts that regulate community associations in Maryland, discuss the roles and responsibilities of an HOA, and more. Let's get started!

What Is a Homeowners' Association?

It's important that you have a good understanding of what a homeowners' association is, so before we get to the laws that affect HOAs, let's first ensure that you understand exactly what this kind of entity is.

Also known as a community or property owners' association, an HOA is an organization designed to manage planned communities. They collect monthly fees known as assessments or dues to help fund their initiatives and are generally run by a board of directors.

The primary purpose of homeowners' associations is for the benefit of the community and its members. They ensure that shared spaces are maintained well and that certain aesthetic standards are met. This, in turn, promotes higher property values. HOAs have a duty to protect the rights of association members and are required to host regular meetings.

Homeowners' associations are regulated by their own governing documents. These HOA documents stipulate the organization's rules and regulations. Although each association often differs in the documents they choose to implement, the most common include the following:

  • Bylaws
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R)

It's important to remember that HOAs have a responsibility to enforce the rules and regulations laid out in these documents.

Maryland Homeowner Association Laws

Now that you understand what a homeowners' association is, let's get into the applicable laws. It would be impossible to mention every statute that applies to HOAs in Maryland, so we will cover the most important. Here is a general overview of some of the most important laws and statutes that pertain to community associations:

Maryland Homeowners' Association Act

Common interest communities are governed by the Maryland Homeowners' Association Act. It covers the creation, authority, operation, and management of homeowners' associations in Maryland. This act can be found under 11B of the Maryland Code and contains 35 sections.

The minimum standards for protecting homeowners, voting standards, charges, meetings, late fees, and more are addressed in these documents. It's important that homeowners' associations remain compliant with these laws to prevent disputes, legal action, and other penalties.

Maryland Condominium Act

Condominium associations in Maryland are subject to the Maryland Condominium Act. New changes in the legislature will require multi-family homes or attached units to have homeowners insurance that covers individual units in addition to common elements.

Maryland Contract Lien Act

The Maryland Contract Lien Act allows for the placement of a lien on a property as a result of a violation of a contract and authorizes homeowners and condominium associations to impose a foreclosure to obtain unpaid fees from homeowners who refuse to pay their dues. 

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act

While homeowners' associations in Maryland are governed by the federal FDCPA, the state also has an additional legislature that regulates the collection of debt at the state level.

This act forbids debt collectors from engaging in abusive, dishonest, or unjust activities when trying to recover a debt, as defined in § 14-202.

Victims of abusive debt collection activities may lodge a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Board, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In addition, victims have the legal capacity to bring a lawsuit against a debt collector in state or federal district court within a year of the infringement under this act. 

Maryland Discrimination in Housing Law

Similarly, Maryland law also enforces laws against housing discrimination to enforce the federal Fair Housing Act. It prohibits the discrimination of homeowners based on their color, race, familial status, disability, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, or gender identity.

Maryland Non-stock Corporations Act

The majority of HOAs in Maryland are considered non-stock corporations that are incorporated in compliance with Maryland law. To determine the corporate status of a Maryland HOA, you can go to the Maryland Corporations Commission and search for the official name of the organization.

In Maryland, these corporations are regulated by the Non-stock Corporation Act in terms of their processes and their organizational framework.

Local Laws

In addition to state and federal laws, homeowners' associations may also be subject to local laws. The Common Ownership Communities laws govern condominium associations, HOAs, and cooperative housing corporations in Montgomery County. Therefore, it's important to familiarize yourself with all the laws that apply in your area to ensure that you are compliant.

HOA Rights and Responsibilities

The primary goal of the neighborhood association is to protect the value of homes and maintain the development's shared features. To obtain funds, the HOA might levy periodical assessments on members to cover the expense of neighborhood maintenance.

It is compulsory to join the association in Maryland if a home is located in an area that is managed by a homeowners' association. When an individual buys a home in an HOA-controlled neighborhood, they automatically become a member of the organization and are bound by the rules and bylaws contained in the association's governing documents.

In addition, homeowners' associations have the power to approve or deny architectural alterations to members' properties, whether in the form of home improvements or renovations. This is to ensure consistency in the community in terms of aesthetics. Homeowners' associations are also responsible for enforcing the rules set out by their governing documents and must ensure that they comply with federal, state, and local laws.

Fines for Late Payments and Violations

Homeowners' associations in Maryland may penalize residents for failing to pay their dues on time. Late fees may be assessed up to 15 days following the missed payment. 

Fines for late payments are set at $15 or one-tenth of the sum of the overdue amount, whichever is higher. Keep in mind that HOAs are not permitted to fine a homeowner for a late payment more than once.

Maryland condominium or homeowners' associations may also impose fines on homeowners for violations. Suppose the association has placed a ban on a certain color of exterior paint, and a resident uses that color on their property. In that case, the HOA may levy a fine, as defined in its governing documents.

However, it's important to note that HOAs are not permitted to impose unreasonable limitations on homeowners for the following:

  • Conducting organic waste material composting
  • Utilizing the dwelling as a family childcare facility
  • Raising the US national flag as long as it is done in accordance with the federal flag display law
  • Putting up a solar collector system
  • Utilizing "low-impact landscaping" methods to save water and reduce pollution
  • Installing a portable basketball hoop
  • Setting up antennas and satellite dishes
  • Putting in charging stations for an electric vehicle

It's important to remember that HOAs in Maryland may include provisions in the association documents to specify how these elements may be displayed to maintain the aesthetics of the community.

Foreclosing on a Home

A homeowners' association in Maryland has the authority to impose foreclosure on a property inside its community for unpaid fees. When a homeowner fails to pay their dues, the association will place a lien on the home. If a lien is not addressed, the HOA has the authority to foreclose on the property.

Keep in mind that there is no state law that governs an HOA's ability to remove a homeowner or renter. The HOA's governing documents will contain more information about these procedures.

How to Join and Leave Homeowners' Associations in Maryland

There are two types of HOAs in Maryland. In some areas, joining the association is mandatory for residents. This means that if an individual purchases a home in the area, they will be obligated to join the association, and they may only leave if they sell their property or request that their home be removed from the association.

Voluntary HOAs, on the other hand, do not impose membership on residents. Homeowners are free to join and leave the association as they please. When purchasing a home in an area governed by an HOA, it's important that the new homeowner seek to learn more about the association.

Dissolving a Maryland HOA

In some cases, residents may decide that it would be best to dissolve the association. This could be for a number of reasons. Inefficiency could be one of them. Regardless of the reason, the procedure for dissolving an HOA may be laid out in the organization's governing documents. If it is not, the majority of HOA members must vote to dissolve the association.

When a majority vote is obtained, the board members must execute any business requirements, such as debt payments and asset disposal. Finally, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation will need to receive Articles of Dissolution for the HOA to be considered dissolved.

Dealing with Complaints

Complaints are a part of the job description as a manager, executive, or board member of an HOA, and knowing how to deal with complaints is important. It's important to note that members may approach a number of different departments or organizations to lodge a complaint against a homeowners' association, and the one they go to will depend on the nature of the complaint.

They may also file a lawsuit against the association, and the matter can be taken to state or federal district court.

Unfair HOA fee collection may be handled by one of the following:

When a resident has been discriminated against, they may approach one of the following for assistance:

To learn more about how to handle homeowner complaints, you can check out this article.

About DoorLoop's HOA Tools

Managing a homeowners' association can be challenging. The law requires that proper records are maintained and that members are informed about meetings, late fees, and more within specified time frames.

Without the proper tools to help you, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, DoorLoop has been designed to ensure that you have everything you need to remain compliant and complete your tasks more efficiently.

Whether you require a comprehensive set of accounting features, a communication portal that lets you liaise with vendors and members, and storage space to maintain proper records, you can count on DoorLoop!

It also allows you to collect and track assessments, manage schedules for routine and special maintenance, keep records of violations, and generate reports with ease. The benefits don't stop there, either! DoorLoop is competitively priced, and considering the features you get, the software offers great value for money.

To learn more about our innovative software or book a free demo to try it out for yourself, contact us today!

The Bottom Line

Remaining compliant with Maryland HOA laws, rules, and regulations requires a comprehensive understanding of them. Now that you have read this guide, you're well on your way to ensuring that your HOA meets these standards. However, if you find that maintaining records, communicating with members, and managing tasks is time-consuming, then you need DoorLoop.

With powerful features and an easy-to-use interface, you can streamline your operations and ensure that you have everything you need for success. You can remain compliant and make your life much easier thanks to innovative tools designed specifically to help you do the things you need to do.

To learn more or schedule a free demo, get in touch with us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can HOAs enter a member's private residence in Maryland?

Unfortunately, there are no state laws that specify whether or not a homeowners' association is permitted to enter one of its member's homes. The organization's governing documents will include rules stating whether, when, and how an HOA may enter a homeowner's property.

This is most often done to conduct maintenance on a common area or in the event of an emergency. Property owners' associations must ensure that they provide homeowners with sufficient notice before entering their homes. A reasonable notice period would be two weeks for non-emergencies and two to three days for emergency entry.

2. What is property management software?

HOA property management software is a platform developed to help the managers, board members, and executives of an HOA manage all facets of their communities more successfully.

The truth is that HOAs are in charge of the upkeep of common spaces, enforcement of community regulations, collection of dues, and communication with members. Property management software automates these processes and improves the organization's overall operational efficiency.

It also reduces the administrative load on HOA board members while also improving transparency, communication, and general community participation. It is a must-have tool for associations of all sizes, assisting them in effectively overseeing their neighborhoods and ensuring that day-to-day operations run smoothly.

If you are looking for reliable property management software that offers world-class support, powerful features, and incredible ease of use, then why not give DoorLoop a try?

3. Where can I find HOA regulations in Maryland?

Each homeowners' association has the option to allow the general public access to its governing documents. One exception is if the person requesting the documents is also the topic of the records. If the association chooses not to disclose its governing documents to the general public, they will only be made available to members.

All relevant documents submitted to the Maryland Secretary of State are open to the public. You can search the database here to find governing documents of HOAs registered with the Maryland Secretary of State online. Keep in mind that some materials are open to the public, while others need a fee-based request via the website.

4. What does a homeowners' association in Maryland have the power to do?

Community associations in Maryland have the authority to receive funds in the form of monthly assessments to fund their activities. They are also allowed to impose reasonable fines for the violation of its bylaws and may place a lien on a delinquent homeowner and ultimately foreclose on their home due to outstanding liens. 

Furthermore, a HOA's governing documents might offer additional authority, such as membership limitations, restrictions on parking, and more.

5. What is the average Maryland HOA monthly fee?

The amount charged will differ from one homeowners' association to another. However, according to, homeowners in Maryland pay an average of $4,810 in fees annually. Keep in mind that this excludes special assessments, late fees, and charges for violations.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!