Friday, March 29, 2013

ACM Offices Close Early for Holiday

ACM's offices will be closing at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2013 for the holiday weekend. Should you have an emergency, please call (410) 997-7767 and follow the prompts for emergency services.
We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend!
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ACM Thanks Everyone Involved in Collections Seminars!

 
 
 
Both sessions of ACM's "Going Green: Delinquents to Dollars....Pearls of Wisdom from the Experts" are complete! Thank you to all of our participants! And a big thank you to the panel of attorney's for our second session hosted last Friday, pictured above from left to right: Ursula K. Burgess -- Rees Broome, P.C., Mike Neall -- Michael S. Neall & Associates, P. C., Kathleen M. Elmore and Ellen W. Throop -- Elmore, Throop & Young, P.C. We are excited to continue offering educational seminars for Board members in the future! Thank you for your support and participation!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Senate Bill 1062 - Condominiums and Homeowners Associations - Attorney's Fees

Position: CALL Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to Ask for Unfavorable Report

Hearing: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CAI's Maryland Legislative Action Committee alerts you to a piece of legislation that has been introduced at the last minute and will be heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Tuesday, March 26. This bill is VERY problematic for Maryland condominiums and homeowner associations (collectively: community associations or CAs) as it will place all in a precarious position with regard to recovering legal fees expended in collection and enforcement matters.

SB1062 would prohibit CAs from demanding or attempting to collect fees which are not "reasonable" in relation to the amount in "controversy" (the amount you are trying to recover) when what is "reasonable" is not determined until much later when presented to a court. A Board of Directors for a CA, typically comprised of non-attorneys, relies on attorneys to assist in collection of delinquent fees or in the enforcement of covenant/rules violations. The CA has no basis to making the "reasonableness" determination for fees incurred but will now be placed in a precarious position well before a matter may be adjudicated.

There is case law already addressing the issue of what a reasonable fee is in relation to the amount in controversy:

Monmouth Meadows Homeowners Ass'n v. Hamilton; 416 MD. 325; 7 A.3rd 1; 2011
  • The amount in controversy is already one of the factors in determining a reasonable fee under Monmouth with regard to a contract provision allowing a charge to a third party as well as under the court rules of professional conduct regarding charge to a client.
Suntrust Bank v. Goldman et al; 201 Md. App. 390; 29 A.3d 724
  • Involving attorney fee provisions in loan documents.
What can you do?

You are encouraged to contact the chairman and members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee (see below) and ask that the "report SB1062 as UNFAVORABLE". Also contact your individual elected representatives in the Maryland General Assembly. Click here to be sent to our action center, where you can find the information to contact your legislators.

Brian Frosh, Chair  -- (410) 841-3124 -- brian.frosh@senate.state.md.us

Lisa Gladden, Vice Chair -- (410) 841-3697 -- lisa.gladden@senate.state.md.us

James Brochin  -- (410) 841-3648 -- jim.brochin@senate.state.md.us

Jennie Forehand -- (410) 841-3134 -- jennie.forehand@senate.state.md.us

Joseph Getty -- (410) 841-3683 -- joseph.getty@senate.state.md.us

Nancy Jacobs -- (410) 841-3158 -- nancy.jacobs@senate.state.md.us

C. Anthony Muse -- (410) 841-3092 -- anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us

Victor Ramirez -- (410) 841-3745 -- victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us

Jamin Raskin -- (410) 841-3634 -- jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us

Christopher Shank -- (410) 841-3903 -- christopher.shank@senate.state.md.us

Norman Stone -- (410) 841-3587 -- norman.stone@senate.state.md.us

Robert Zirkin -- (410) 841-3131 -- bobby.zirkin@senate.state.md.us


A quick and concerted effort is necessary.

Sincerely,

Craig F. Wilson, Jr., CMCA, AMS, PCAM

Vice Chair

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Collections Seminar was a Success!



 
ACM would like to thank everyone involved in making the first session of "Going Green: Delinquents to Dollars....Pearls of Wisdom from the Experts" a huge success - most importantly our Collections Department and the panel of attorneys (pictured above from left to right): Cynthia Hitt-Kent-Law Office of Cynthia Hitt-Kent, LLC, Gregory Alexandrides-The Law Offices of Gregory Alexandrides, LLC, Jason Fisher-Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. and Zinnaeah Johnson-Nagle & Zaller, P.C. Thank you to all the Board members for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend this seminar! We look forward to our second session scheduled for Friday, March 22, 2013!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Howard County Residents - Tree Canopy Program


Howard County provides the Tree Canopy Program to help enhance tree canopy throughout the county - the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. Improving tree canopy provides many benefits to both your community and the environment. In order to learn more and become involved in this program, please visit the link below:

http://www.co.ho.md.us/treecanopy.htm

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BGE Launches Energy-Saving Trees Program

BGE has announced that it has launched the BGE Energy-Saving Trees Program, through the Arbor Day Foundation and Davey Institute, in order to assist customers with reducing energy consumption and meeting energy efficiency goals. To learn more about the available program, click the link below:

http://energysavingtrees.arborday.org/?partnerCode=07113#Start

ACM Collection Seminars Available via Conference Call


"Going Green: Delinquents to Dollars....Pearls of Wisdom from the Experts"


ACM is offering two dates for the Collection Seminar:
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 (6:00-8:00 pm) and Friday, March 22, 2013 (1:00-3:00 pm)
Location: ACM Hanover Office – 7484 Candlewood Road, Suite H, Hanover, Maryland 21076

Representatives from the following firms will be present as follows:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 (6:00-8:00 pm)
  • Law Office of Cynthia Hitt-Kent, LLC
  • Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd
  • The Law Offices of Gregory Alexandrides, LLC
  • Nagle & Zaller, P.C.
Friday, March 22, 2013 (1:00-3:00 pm)
  • Elmore, Throop & Young, P.C.
  • Michael S. Neall & Associates, P. C.
  • Rees Broome, PC
If you are unable to attend either session but are interested in joining a conference call to participate, please RSVP to Amanda Lande by email, alande@communitymanagers.net with your date of interest and we will provide the necessary conference call information. There are still seats available in both sessions if schedules permit you to attend. We hope to see you this week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Updates to Homeowner's "My Corner" Page



Homeowners have asked, and ACM has listened! We have worked with the website provider of www.acmhome.com to update the "My Corner" page to assist with navigation of the website. Under "Quick Links", you will now find buttons to enter a "Maintenance Request", an "Architectural Application" or "View Account." It is our hope that the addition of these buttons will help homeowners find exactly what they are looking for while visiting www.acmhome.com.

ACM is constantly researching ways to make our systems more effective and efficient. Thank you to all of those who have given us their feedback. We greatly appreciate your suggestions and hope that these changes will help when using "The Website for Your Home!".

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go."
~Irish Blessing
 
ACM wishes everyone a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Employee Spotlight

ACM would like to welcome Gary Bopp, the newest member of our Property Management Department! Gary is from Poughkeepsie, New York and has experience in residential and commercial construction and development. In his spare time, Gary enjoys sports and outdoor activities. Welcome, Gary!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Update to Licensing Legislation 2013

Several clients have asked how much will the registration of my community cost? That depends on what version of the legislation passes, if any. Originally both the Senate and House version were identical and both required a fee of $1 per unit per year with a maximum of $250 and a minimum of $25. Since then that has changed.
 
House Bill 576
The House bill as passed keeps the registration process but eliminated the direct fee paid by your community. This bill also removed the cap paid by community managers and company employees which had been set at $200 and $100 respectively. Since the registration of your community remains a task for the new licensing board, we can anticipate that the entire cost, originally estimated to be $2,100,000 over the first four years will be paid by the employees of the management company. However, the Department of Licensing & Regulation believes that cost was understated which necessitated the removal of the caps for management company employees. 
 
Senate Bill 794
The Senate bill currently remains as it was drafted. The Judicial Proceedings Committee has heard testimony, and is reviewing your comments and will vote to pass the bill out of committee most likely with amendments since the Department of Licensing & Regulation is insistent that revenue is insufficient to pay for the legislation, or they will kill the bill and we will attempt some version of the bill again next year.
 
It is our hope that you ask the Senate committee to reject the licensing bureau and instead work to pass legislation that licenses management companies and requires contract language and insurance that protects the funds and records of the community.
 
Thank you for your consideration.

Reminder - Don't Forget to Register for ACM's Collection Seminar!



ACM is pleased to present:

"Going Green: Delinquents to Dollars....Pearls of Wisdom from the Experts"

The seminar will include a panel of esteemed attorneys who specialize in the industry. We will highlight the current best practices and procedures for safeguarding your association against excessive cash shortfalls resulting from delinquencies. As you know, failure to implement and enforce your association's collections policy and escalate accounts when necessary can lead to several issues including lack of cash to maintain your association's common elements and meet obligations which can in turn effect the value of your community.

To accommodate your busy schedules, we are offering two dates:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 (6:00-8:00 pm) and; Friday, March 22, 2013 (1:00-3:00 pm)

Location: ACM Hanover Office – 7484 Candlewood Road, Suite H, Hanover, Maryland 21076

Representatives from the following firms will be present as follows:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 (6:00-8:00 pm)
  • Law Office of Cynthia Hitt-Kent, LLC
  • Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd
  • The Law Offices of Gregory Alexandrides, LLC
  • Nagle & Zaller, P.C.
Friday, March 22, 2013 (1:00-3:00 pm)
  • Elmore, Throop & Young, P.C.
  • Michael S. Neall & Associates, P. C.
  • Rees Broome, PC
Our experienced Collections Manager, Joanne Allen, will also be present to meet you and entertain questions throughout the event. Materials and light refreshments to be provided. Contact Amanda Lande to register at alande@communitymanagers.net with your name, association and desired date for attendance. Due to limited space, RSVPs are required by Friday, March 15, 2013. Please submit questions you would like to hear posed during the session and we will do our best to incorporate them as well. Thank you and we hope you are able to participate!

ACM Asks Maryland Legislature Not to Charge Community Associations

Efforts by American Community Management (ACM) President, Mel Herzberger, to limit the size and scope of the legislation to establish a licensing department for community managers was rejected by the House Environmental Matters Committee and the Maryland House of Delegates passed the licensing bill, further amending HB576 to remove fee limits after the Department of Licensing and Regulation reported the $2,000,000 estimated cost would be insufficient to operate the new department.

Mr. Herzberger believes there is justification to require the use of contracts that specifically set out the obligation of the company to provide services, especially any process entailing the disposition of community funds. There is no doubt that we must hold anyone who has access to client funds accountable, however it appears the bill’s sponsors publicized recent events to pass in the House a very expensive piece of legislation that has failed in each of the last 4 years.

The legislation now moves on to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee where Herzberger hopes that the committee will narrow the scope of the legislation to the services provided by the company and increase the level of protection to the community. Hopefully we can address the issue without inflating management fees and requiring community clients to be penalized for hiring a management firm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daylight Savings Time Begins This Weekend


It's that time again! On Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 2:00 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins. Remember to set those clocks one hour ahead. Spring is on its way!

Friday, March 1, 2013

ACM New Employee Spotlight


ACM would like to extend a warm welcome to Brenda Van Buren, the newest member of our Community Management Department! Brenda has earned the designations of CMCA and AMS and is currently working toward her PCAM designation. She enjoys reading and traveling in her spare time. Welcome, Brenda!