Revision: Dec. 20, 2017, 11:56 a.m.
SB 414-FN - AS INTRODUCED
SENATE BILL 414-FN
AN ACT establishing a condominium dispute resolution board.
SPONSORS: Sen. Birdsell, Dist 19; Rep. LeBrun, Hills. 32; Rep. Almy, Graf. 13; Rep. Webb, Rock. 6
This bill establishes a condominium dispute resolution board.
The bill is a request of the committee to study laws relating to condominium and homeowners’ associations, established in RSA 356-B:70.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
Condominium Dispute Resolution Board
356-B:71 Board Established; Members; Terms; Chairperson.
I. There is hereby created a condominium dispute resolution board consisting of 9 members. The members of the board shall be:
(a) Two members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(b) Three members, appointed by the governor, who are resident owners of condominiums in New Hampshire and from 3 different senate districts. Members appointed under this subparagraph shall not be members of their respective condominium board.
(c) Two members, appointed by the governor, who are members of a condominium association board in New Hampshire, and from 2 different senate districts, from a list of 3 persons nominated by the New England chapter of the Community Associations Institute.
(d) One member, appointed by the governor, who represents a condominium association management company, from a list of 3 persons nominated by the New England chapter of the Community Associations Institute.
(e) One member of the New Hampshire Bar Association, appointed by the president of the association.
II. No more than 3 members of the board shall be involved professionally and/or financially in the condominium industry.
III. Nonlegislative members of the board shall serve 3-year terms and until a successor is appointed, except that the initial appointments shall be staggered: 2 members shall be appointed to one-year terms, 2 members shall be appointed to 2-year terms, and 3 members shall be appointed to 3-year terms. Legislative members shall serve terms coterminous with their term in office.
IV. The chairperson shall be chosen from among the members at the initial organizational meeting and shall serve at the pleasure of the members of the board.
V. If there is a vacancy on the board, the provisions of RSA 21:33-a and 21:34 shall apply to all members.
VI. If any member of the board misses 3 consecutive meetings, without cause, the board shall inform the appointing authority in writing and the appointing authority shall appoint a new member to the board within 60 days from the receipt of the written notification.
VII. The board shall hold meetings every 90 days and may meet more frequently as deemed necessary by the board.
356-B:72 Quorum; Disqualification of Members; Compensation.
I. A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum to conduct hearings, and a vote of at least 4 members present and voting in favor shall be required to adopt and approve any matter under consideration.
II. As a board member, one may disqualify oneself relative to any matter before the board, or if the board votes that any member has or may have a conflict of interest in any matter before the board, that member shall be disqualified to sit as a board member on the particular matter. The board may hear the matter if it has a quorum. If the board does not have a quorum, the governor shall appoint an additional public member to hear the particular matter pending before the board.
III. The legislative members of the board shall receive mileage at the legislative rate. The remaining members shall receive mileage at the state employee rate.
356-B:73 Jurisdiction; Procedure.
I. The board shall hear and determine matters involving condominium association actions and condominium unit owner complaints related to: failure to follow association declaration and bylaws; failure to follow proper voting procedures as defined in RSA 356-B:39; any other actions not in compliance with condominium instruments or the laws of the state of New Hampshire. Any matters relating to time share interests shall not be under the jurisdiction of the board.
II. Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude the right of the board to use the services of a mediator to resolve a dispute.
III.(a) Any condominium unit owner may petition the board by filing a complaint with the board and paying a $250 filing fee which shall be used to defray the costs of the board. Prior to filing a complaint, the petitioner shall provide 10 days notice to the opposite party of intent to file. After review of the claim and a decision by the board that the matter has merit and is not frivolous, the board shall schedule a hearing. If the board finds the claim to be frivolous or without merit, it shall dismiss the complaint and explain in writing to the petitioner its reasons for dismissing the complaint.
(b) The board shall serve notice, in writing, of the time and place of the hearing upon all appropriate parties at least 20 days prior to the date of the hearing. Both parties to the complaint may be represented by counsel.
(c) All hearings held by the board shall be held pursuant to RSA 541-A:31 through RSA 541-A:36 unless such proceedings are specifically inconsistent with the provisions of this subdivision. All hearings of the board shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 91-A. The board shall not be bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence but may admit all testimony having a reasonable probative value. It may exclude evidence which, in the opinion of the board, is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.
356-B:74 Decisions; Judicial Review and Enforcement.
I. When the board makes its decision, an order shall be made in writing and shall include findings of facts. The findings of facts shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings. The parties shall be notified by mail of any decision or order.
II. A decision of the board may be appealed, by either party, by requesting a rehearing and appeal pursuant to RSA 541.
III. If no timely appeal is taken pursuant to paragraph II, the decision of the board shall become final.
356-B:75 Meetings and Records. The board shall hold meetings in Concord, New Hampshire or in any other location deemed appropriate by the board. The records of the board shall be maintained at the office of professional licensure and certification.
356-B:76 Administrative and Business Processing Functions. All administrative, clerical, and business processing functions of the condominium dispute resolution board shall be provided by the office of professional licensure and certification, established in RSA 310-A:1-a.
356-B:77 Legal Assistance Provided by the Department of Justice. The civil bureau of the department of justice shall act as counsel for the condominium dispute resolution board, and assist in judicial filings and actions as necessary.
356-B:78 Notification and Cooperation Required. The board shall notify the consumer protection and antitrust bureau, department of justice, that the board may accept and act on written complaints properly forwarded to it by such bureau relative to condominium association actions and condominium unit owner complaints.
356-B:79 Rulemaking. The board, under the direction of the bureau chief of the consumer protection and antitrust bureau, shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A relative to the administration of this subdivision.
356-B:80 Annual Report. The board shall submit to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, the senate president, the chairpersons of the house and senate committees overseeing commerce matters, and the committee to study laws relating to condominium and homeowners’ associations, established in RSA 356-B:70, not later than March 31 of each year, a report of its activities during the preceding calendar year. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the number of complaints received, by category according to RSA 356-B:73, and the number and percent of complaints accepted and rejected. The report may also include recommendations for improvements, including rule or statutory changes.
SB 414-FN- FISCAL NOTE
FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State [ ] County [ ] Local [ ] None
Estimated Increase / (Decrease)
[ X ] General [ ] Education [ ] Highway [ ] Other
This bill establishes a Condominium Dispute Resolution Board with administrative support from the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC) and legal assistance from the Department of Justice Civil Bureau. Any condominium unit owner may petition the Board by filing a complaint and paying a $250 filing fee to be used to defray the costs of the Board. The OPLC states it will require a full-time Program Specialist I, LG 19 to support the administration of the Board. The salary and benefits for this position are $65,000 in FY 2019, $68,000 in FY 2020, $71,000 in FY 2021 and $75,000 in FY 2022. Board members will be reimbursed for travel but the cost of that reimbursement and the number of complaint filings (at $250 each) are indeterminable.
The Department of Justice estimates the rulemaking process will require approximately 300 hours of attorney work over one year and legal counsel on an ongoing basis will require approximately 4 hours per month plus an additional 4 hours per hearing. It is unknown how many hearings may take place.
Office of Professional Licensure and Certification and Department of Justice