Starting January 3, 2017, it will be easier for condominium and homeowners’ associations to record amendments to their declarations, CCRs or other governing documents. Senate Bill 1282 amends the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act and the Pennsylvania Uniform Planned Communities Act. The amendment provides that counties may not charge a “per parcel” fee to index and record condominium or homeowners’ association amendments.
Whenever an association amends its declaration or CCRs, these amendments need to be recorded in the county Recorder of Deeds Office. In about one-third of the counties in Pennsylvania, the Recorder of Deeds Office charges an extra fee for each lot or unit in that community. Today, these fees range from $10.00 to $20.00 per unit. Locally, Chester, Dauphin, York and Berks Counties all charge $10.00 per unit. In some communities, this means that a simple two or three page amendment to the declaration costs thousands of dollars to the association.
Senate Bill 1282 was passed through a five year effort of the Community Associations Institute. This will aid associations by lowering their costs. It will also allow associations to make smaller amendments to their governing documents. In some cases, I have seen associations make four or five changes to their documents all at once. One reason is so that the association is not charged the thousand dollars for each of the amendments. Unfortunately, the more changes that are made in the governing documents, the harder it is to get the required number of votes to approve the amendment. This new Bill will allow associations to make small changes, thereby “fine tuning” their declaration. This will be easier for Boards to accomplish, and easier for community residents to live with.
Remember, this law goes into effect on January 3, 2017. If your association is in one of the counties mentioned above, it would be a good idea to wait to start on any amendments until that time.