In Delaware, there are certain laws that apply to homeowners and condominium associations. Such communities would do well to understand these Delaware HOA laws to ensure compliance and prevent liability.
According to the HOA laws of Delaware, creating a homeowners association requires the recording of a declaration. This declaration must be executed in the same way as a deed. The association must also record this declaration in every county where the community is located. For more information, read Section 81-201 of the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act
The Delaware Unit Property Act controls the creation, management, authority, and operation of homeowners associations established prior to September 30, 2009. These associations can elect to abide by the Act by recording a declaration under it. But, it is worth noting that associations may also be bound by provisions within the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Community Act, discussed next.
You can find this Act under Title 25 of the Delaware Code. It consists of eight subchapters, namely:
The Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (DUCIOA) controls common interest communities formed after September 30, 2009. This includes planned communities such as homeowners associations, condominiums, subdivisions, and cooperatives.
Also found in Title 25 of the Delaware Code, this Act consists of four subchapters, each one divided further into sections.
The Delaware Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act, found under Title 16 of the Delaware Code, oversees nonprofit associations in the state. Many homeowners associations establish themselves as nonprofits. Therefore, this Act governs these associations when it comes to corporate procedure and structure.
This Act consists of 16 sections, namely:
According to Section 81-324 of the DUCIOA, HOA boards must prepare an association budget every year. Following the adoption of the budget, the board must provide a summary of it to all owners within 30 days. The board must also allow owners to ratify the budget during a meeting, the date of which must be set at least within 14 days but not more than 60 days after issuing the summary.
Members of an HOA community follow rules enforced by the board. But, Section 81-210 of the DUCIOA indicates that the board must notify all owners before adopting or amending a rule. This notification should consist of the following:
Many states require homeowners associations to make certain records available for owners to inspect or review (Section 81-318). If an owner requests copies of association records, the HOA must comply within a reasonable time. Association records homeowner can request include but are not limited to:
Homeowners have a right to examine association records provided they are done during business hours or at a time and location that is convenient to both parties. Additionally, owners must provide 5 days’ written notice of the request consisting of the purpose and the specific documents they wish to copy.
Not all association records are subject to owner examination, though. Any documents that contain confidential, privileged, or sensitive information may be excluded. This includes medical records, contracts under negotiation, litigation documents, etc.
Much like the federal Fair Housing Act, Delaware also has its own Fair Housing laws that offer protection to persons against discrimination based on their race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, familial status, marital status, age, source of income, or disability.
Additionally, the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law works similarly to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under this state law, homeowners associations must not discriminate against persons based on their race, color, national origin, age, creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability in places of public accommodations. This usually affects the common elements of a community that the general public may access.