RD515 - Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman - Annual Report 2017-2018

Executive Summary:

In 2008, the General Assembly created the Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman (“Office"), and the Common Interest Community Board (“CICB"), at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (“DPOR"). In accordance with statutory requirements, this document reports on the activities of the Office for the period from November 26, 2017, through November 25, 2018.

The Office continues to work closely with associations brought to its attention for failing to adopt an internal complaint procedure. With assistance and guidance, those associations routinely come into compliance with Common Interest Community Ombudsman Regulations (“Regulations") by adopting the complaint procedure required by common interest community law.

The Office forwarded several complaints for investigation or enforcement action this year. These referrals resulted either from repeat violations of common interest community law already addressed in a Determination stemming from a Notice of Final Adverse Decision (“NFAD"), or they were complaints more appropriately dealt with as allegations against a Common Interest Community Manager rather than an association. The Office receives numerous complaints against Common Interest Community Managers but in nearly all instances, the subject matter is actually related to the association and its board of directors, rather than the licensed manager.

The nature of common interest community complaints received by the Office changed significantly during this reporting period, with a substantial majority relating to examining or obtaining copies of an association’s books and records. This is a troubling pattern, as in most cases, this portion of the law is really very straightforward and associations should not have any difficulty adhering to the requirements set forth in the applicable statutes.

Overall, the fact that so few complaints are referred for investigation or enforcement is indicative of the Office’s success in reducing conflict, resolving disputes, and promoting positive outcomes in situations that are often highly adversarial and fraught with controversy.