HARRISBURG – House Bill 595, which would change the way investigations and mediation of complaints are handled in community association across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was unanimously passed by the state House of Representatives on April 19, 2017. The prime sponsor of the legislation is State Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike). The bill, which is supported by CAI's Pennsylvania Legislative Action Committee (PA LAC) would assign additional powers to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in regard to how some community association complaints are handled.
“Because I understand the importance of this issue, I am very pleased that this bill passed the House, and am hopeful it gets approved in the Senate,” Brown said. “My staff and I receive many calls from frustrated residents, and often the only way to get serious issues solved is by entering into potentially costly lawsuits. There needs to be a way to mediate and investigate serious violations, and because the Bureau of Consumer Protection already handles similar complaints, it makes sense for this set of issues to be added to its purview.”
On April 8, CAI participated in an educational seminar at the Middle Smithfield Township Building n the Poconos which was hosted by Rep. Brown. The seminar was for community association elected board members and homeowners to increase education about how to develop stronger methods of conflict management. Nearly 100 residents attended this seminar. In addition to Rep. Brown, speakers included CAI's Executive Director Tony Campisi, Tobey Oxholm, with Just Resolutions, Nicholas Haros, Esq., with Young & Haros, and Eugene Tick, CMCA, manager of Country Club of the Poconos Community Association. Tobey, Nick and Eugene are members of CAI.
Title 68 already allows for complaints regarding financial documents to be filed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection; however, it does not assist with other serious complaints that may be a violation of other portions of Title 68. Examples include meetings, quorums, voting/proxies and other association records. PA LAC initially opposed the broad scope of the legislation when it was originally introduced in 2016, and was successful in convincing Rep. Brown to amend the Bill to narrow the scope of authority to complaints related to association meetings, quorums, voting and proxies, and association records. The legislation passed the House in 2016 but did not see a vote in the State Senate.
PA LAC will be in Harrisburg for the annual CAI Capitol Day on Monday, April 24, 2017 to meet with members of the legislature and discuss legislative priorities for the current legislative session. Click here for a copy of the White Paper outlining PA LAC's positions on various Bills pending in the legislature. For more information, visit our legislative page.