Pennsylvania Legislation

The Pennsylvania Legislative Action Committee (LAC) has reviewed and taken the following positions on Bills currently pending.  Click here to read our 2017 Community Associations Day at the Capitol White Paper.

Click here for a list of all Bills in Pennsylvania currently being tracked as relevant to community associations.

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2017-2018 Legislative Session

•      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.

House Co-Sponsor Memo

Read the text of the Bill   //  View Roll Call Votes  

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 Co-Sponsor Memo

Read the text of the Bill   //  View Roll Call Votes  

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 House by a vote of 186 to 0 on April 19, 2017. Pending in the Senate.

House Co-Sponsor Memo

Read the text of the Bill   //  View Roll Call Votes

 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.   

House Co-Sponsor Memo

Read the text of the Bill   //   View Roll Call Votes 

2015-2016 Legislative Session

Unless otherwise noted, the Bills listed below died with the expiration of the 2015-2016 legislative session on November 30, 2016.

House Bill 1774: Homeowners Associations and Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

CAI supports this Bill as amended. Introduced and Referred to House Urban Affairs Committee on January 5, 2016 by Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe): This legislation assigns the investigation and mediation of complaints regarding planned communities, cooperatives, and condominiums under Title 68 (Real Property), to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  CAI has submitted an amendment to narrow the scope of the Bill. CAI's Legislative Action Committee will support the Bill with this amended language.

Most Recent Updates:
September 27, 2016 - Voted out of Senate Urban Affairs Committee by a vote of 10-0.
June 23, 2016 - Third consideration and final passage in the House

House Co-Sponsor Memo

Read the text of the Bill   //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

Senate Bill 666: Voting & Proxies

CAI Supports this Bill with amendments. Introduced and referred to the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee on March 31, 2015 by Senator Mike Folmer (R-Lancaster): Pending adoption of a CAI authored amendment, this legislation amends the Pennsylvania Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA), the Real Estate Cooperative Act and the Uniform Condominium Act (UCA) under Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to provide for the use of paper ballot, absentee ballot, electronic ballot, Internet-based ballot and other appropriate methods expressly permitted by the association by persons entitled to cast votes under sections 3310, 4310 and 5310 of the statutes.

Most Recent Updates:
July 1, 2016 - Passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0.

Read the text of the Bill   //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

House Bill 1101 & Senate Bill 1282:  Recorder of Deeds Fees

CAI Supports this Bill. House Bill 1101 was introduced and referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee on May 4, 2015 by Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks). Senate Bill 1282 was introduced and referred to the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee on June 2, 2016 by Senator Scott Wagner (R-York): Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act (UCA), and the Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA) , all amendments to a declaration must be recorded.  Unfortunately, what has historically been an administrative act at minimal expense, has become a large financial burden.  A number of counties have implemented a requirement to index each amendment against each parcel number in the condominium or planned community.  And, for indexing amendments against each parcel number, these counties have adopted a “per parcel” fee. CAI has compiled the following examples of skyrocketing fees for recording a change to an association declaration:

County Association Declaration Changes   Recording Fee
Bucks Villages of Flowers Mill Three page amendment $6,822
Chester  Orchard Valley HOA Changes to conform with state law $1,862
Dauphin Meadows of Hanover Changes to sub associations $8,300
Montgomery Blue Bell Country Club CA Six page amendment $8,731
Montgomery  Morgandale Condo Three page amendment to regulations  

 

Click here for a more complete list of the above examples with additional details.

Many other counties around the Commonwealth have adopted similar fees. Such fees are not only absurdly high, they bear no relation to the work required to record documents.  Moreover, as recording is a legal requirement, such fees could prevent associations from complying with the UCA or the UPCA.  Additionally, in some instances Declaration amendments are required to comply with Federal law requirements, as in the case with FHA or FNMA regulations. CAI supports adoption of House Bill 1101 and Senate Bill 1282 which would bring filing fees down to reasonable levels.

List of Pennsylvania Counties that are charging per parcel fees as of December, 2014.

Most Recent Updates:
June 30, 2016 - Senate Bill 1282 passed the by a vote of 48-2.
September 21, 2016 - Senate Bill 1282 was voted out of the Urban Affairs Committee by vote of 19-2.
October 26, 2016 - Senate Bill 1282 passed the House by a vote of 177-13 and a concurring vote in the Senate 29-18.
November 4, 2016: Signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf. Act 162 of 2016 takes effect on January 3, 2017.

House Co-Sponsor Memo 18020

Read the text of Bill 1101  //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

Senate Co-Sponsor Memo 20304

Read the text of Bill 1282  //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

Senate Bill 855:  Common Interest Ownership Community Data Transparency

CAI Supports this Bill. Introduced and referred to the Senate Urban Affairs Committee on May 29, 2015 by Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe): Senate Bill 855 would improve community planning through the inclusion of data on planned communities in county reports. The legislation follows a study by the Joint State Government Commission of the impact of planned communities, formally known as Common Interest Ownership Communities (CIOCs), on the Commonwealth and its local governments. The study uncovered an absolute lack of readily available and transparent government information on CIOCs across Pennsylvania. While it is estimated that 2.8 million Pennsylvania residents are in a CIOC and that roughly 80 percent of new housing starts since 2000 are CIOCs, the actual number and location of these communities is unknown. Senator Scavello’s legislation would amend the Municipalities Planning Code to require County Planning Commissions to include CIOC data in their currently required annual report. The tracked information, already in county-controlled databases, would include:

  • CIOC name, physical locations, land area, lot size and number of units.
  • The presence of a mixed use development; and to the extent available,
  • Infrastructure, including sanitary sewer, water and storm water systems.
  • Dedication of roadways including roads built to specification.
  • Common infrastructure and recreation facilities.

Senate Co-Sponsor Memo 16299

Read the text of the Bill   //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

House Bill 1712: 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 November 30, 2015 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 1712 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 Updates:
February 8, 2016 - Third consideration and final passage in the House

House Co-Sponsor Memo

Read the text of the Bill   //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes  

House Bill 1340: Leasing Restrictions & Lien for Assessments

CAI Supports this Bill. Introduced and referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee on Monday, June 15, 2015 by Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia): This legislation amends the Pennsylvania Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA) and the Uniform Condominium Act (UCA) under Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to ensure that community associations are not affected negatively by a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision and new federal mortgage underwriting guidelines. Details of the legislation include:

Amendments to Section 3219 (d) and Section 5219 (d) of the Title 68 Acts – Amendment of Declaration

 As a result of current mortgage underwriting guidelines, a condominium might be ineligible for mortgage financing if the number of rental units in the community exceed fifty (50%) percent.  A community association that is declared ineligible for financing suffers dramatically from decreasing values of the units and a chilling effect on sales. Therefore, to preserve such eligibility status, many condominium associations have adopted, or are in the process of considering, amendments to their governing declarations to limit the number of rental units to below fifty (50%) percent. Amendments to declarations governing condominiums and planned communities are authorized under the Acts upon an affirmative vote of sixty-seven (67%) percent of the unit owners.  However, unanimous consent is required under the Acts if, among other things, the amendment changes the “use to which the unit is restricted.” Most practitioners agree that an amendment limiting  the number of rental units permitted in a community association does not change “the use” of a unit as the unit has been, and will remain, used for residential purposes.  However, to avoid any confusion on this issue and insure that associations will be able to comply with federal underwriting standards, the Acts must be amended.  These amendments would make it clear that the term “uses to which any unit is restricted” does not include the leasing of units.

 Amendments to Section 3315 (d) and Section 5315 (e) of the Title 68 Acts – Lien for Assessments

 Condominium and homeowner associations rely on unit owner assessments to pay for various obligations imposed on them by their governing documents and the Acts.   In most cases, these obligations entail not only maintenance and repair of unit components such as roofs and siding, but also infrastructure components, including roads, storm water management and utility systems.   Continued payment of assessments as well as the ability to collect them, is therefore, vital to these communities. To assure continuous funding of community associations via unit owner assessments, the above-noted sections of the Acts impose upon each unit a “lien for assessments”.  This statutory lien serves as an effective mechanism to promote the payment of assessments and as appropriate security in the event of a serious delinquency.  However, most often, associations seek to recover unpaid assessments by obtaining a personal judgment against the delinquent unit owner(s) rather than foreclosing on the statutory lien.  Such a collection procedure is much less expensive than a foreclosure action and enables the homeowner to retain ownership of his or her home. In 2014, the US Court of Appeals held that a personal judgment obtained by a community association does not preserve the statutory lien.  This means that unless associations file lien foreclosure actions within three years of a delinquency, the lien for assessments is extinguished.  As a result, associations will be required to resort to much more drastic, aggressive, and expensive foreclosure proceedings to assure continued financial viability.  In turn, collections of unpaid assessments will become substantially more expensive and time-consuming, with the increased costs being passed on to homeowners. The proposed amendments to Section 3315(d) of the UCA and Section 5315(e) of the UPCA will solve the serious problem caused by the decision and enable associations and their members to resolve assessment delinquencies without putting ownership of homes at risk through foreclosure proceedings intended to protect the association’s lien position.

Most Recent Updates:
June 26, 2015 - Reported out of House Urban Affairs Committee
June 30, 2015 - Third consideration and final passage in the House
April 6, 2016 - Third consideration and final passage in the Senate
April 20, 2016 - Signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf

House Co-Sponsor Memo 18490

Read the text of the Bill   //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

Senate Bills 687 (Planned Communities) & 688 (Condos): Shaffer v. Zoning Hearing Board of Chanceford Township Supreme Court Decision

CAI Supports these Bills. Introduced and referred to the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee by Sen. Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh): In the court case of Shaffer v.  Zoning Hearing Board of Chanceford Township, the township objected to the creation of a planned community and conveyance of parcels among family members.  The township took the position, which was adopted by the county court and affirmed by the Commonwealth Court, that the creation of a planned community fell within the definition of land development under the Municipalities Planning Code.  The PA Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Commonwealth Court without an opinion. CAI is advocating for this legislation which will make it clear that the creation of condominium associations and planned communities out of existing land or facilities does not require municipal approval unless and until new structures or buildings are constructed within the association or planned community.  This legislation will eliminate the unnecessary conflict of legal statutes to which condo associations and planned communities are now exposed and remove a potential impediment to the viability of residential and commercial associations and communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Most Recent Updates:
April 22, 2015 - Reported out of the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee
June 16, 2015 - Third consideration and final passage in the Senate
June 26, 2015 - Reported out of the House Urban Affairs Committee
June 29, 2015 - Third consideration and final passage in the House
July 10, 2015 - Signed into Law by Governor Tom Wolf

Senate Co-Sponsor Memo 17470

Read the text of the Bill 687  //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes

Read the text of the Bill 688  //   Bill History   //     View Roll Call Votes