RD607 - Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman - Annual Report 2018-2019

Executive Summary:

*This report was replaced in its entirety by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation on December 6, 2019.

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, 2018, through November 25, 2019.

As was the case in prior years, the Office worked with numerous associations this year that had failed to adopt a complaint procedure as required by the Common Interest Community Ombudsman Regulations (“Regulations"). In addition, a substantial number of associations had adopted a complaint procedure but failed to carry it out as required under their own complaint procedure and the Regulations. This year more than in the past, the Office expended an enormous amount of time counseling associations and complainants in order to obtain compliance with the Regulations and to find an amicable resolution.

While the Office is typically able to resolve complaints and Notices of Final Adverse Decision (“NFADs") by obtaining compliance, several instances this past year resulted in the Ombudsman forwarding complaints within the Agency for investigation and enforcement. The few complaints that were not resolved were related to the association complaint procedure and a failure by the association to properly adhere to the Regulations that govern them.

We continue to see many complaints related to owners who wish to examine or obtain copies of the books and records of their association. This is a continuing area of difficulty for associations and, as was noted last year, there is really no good reason for associations to continue to fail to provide the access that owners are requesting.

Our continuing pattern of resolving complaints rather than referring them for investigation or enforcement is a testament to the work that the Office strives to perform. Resolution of complaints, education about common interest community law, and working closely with associations and owners all contribute to the reasonable closure of complaints and NFADS after obtaining compliance.