HOA Consumer Resources and Lessons Learned

Posted in: Damascus MD

Residents of Homeowner Associations should note that the Maryland Homeowners Association (MHA) is an advocate for better consumer legislation and protections.  MHA lobbies for "open meetings" and access to HOA business records for the average consumer.  Many residents of HOAs have learned the hard way the real truth about being governed by an HOA Board of Directors.  MHA has received numerous complaints from HOA residents about being denied access to their HOA business records, minutes of meetings, and right to attend and speak at meetings.  Checkout the MHA website at



Surprised  Most residents of Homeowner Associations don't realize that the Montgomery County (MC) Maryland adminsters a Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC) where residents can file "official" complaints against their HOA Board of Directors over violating the Maryland Homeowners Association  Act and/or their own HOA governing documents. 

The CCOC is located in the MC Office of Consumer Protection in Rockville, MD.

Locally in Damascus, The Preakness Drive Homeowners Association had three residents file CCOC complaints against its Board of Directors in August 2008.  The complaints ranged from allegedly violating state laws to the HOA governing documents.  In one complaint, the resident alleges unfair and unequal application of the HOA property management restrictions.  In yet another, the complainant alleges that the HOA President, Lillian Dangerfield, did not or would not disclose the current Board member names and contact information.

At the September 2008 Preakness Dr Homeowners Association Board meeting, residents witnessed an outsider interrupt and speak over them as they tried to engage the Board of Directors over community issues.

In the past, residents have won CCOC settlement agreements with the Preakness Board regarding the conduct of meetings and access to them and the minutes.

During the past year, the whole HOA Architectural Change Committee (ACC) resigned, and at least one board member did likewise.  Resignation letters included the alleged failure of the Board to support ACC issues.

Also, within the past year, residents learned that the past President John Devine, a Lockheed Martin employee, had coordinated and signed legal document granting an easement right of way to a non-HOA resident to connect a sewer line from a building lot on Ridge Road.  Affected nearby residents complained at several HOA meetings that they have experienced excessive stormwater flooding their properties which they attribute in part from the new construction on this lot.  They acknowledged that they had not received any formal notification about the easement grant or that they were ever asked for input.  Devine had confirmed he did not use legal representation in discharging the easement right instrument.

Checkout the CCOC at


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