Richards Layton & Finger
 

Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman Created

August 18, 2014

On August 12, 2014, Governor Markell signed into law House Bill No. 308, as amended, which creates the Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman and the Common Interest Community Advisory Council. These new posts are designed to help communities minimize disputes arising from misinformation or misunderstandings by providing information to both associations and owners about rights and responsibilities. The common interest communities that are the subject of the legislation are those that are governed by the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act.

The Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman will assist common interest communities in understanding their rights and responsibilities and in resolving disputes without recourse to the judicial system. Additionally, the Ombudsman’s Office will gather information about common interest communities in order to determine the necessity for any legislative action.

The Council will assist the Ombudsman with the review of existing common interest communities and making recommendations to the Ombudsman for changes in law or rules of court procedure to improve the governance and operations of communities. The Council will consist of representatives, from various constituencies, including a representative appointed by the Home Builders Association of Delaware and a representative appointed by the Community Associations Institute.

Although the legislation became effective when signed, the Act states that the Ombudsman has no duty to accept complaints or provide services before February 1, 2015, thereby giving the office an opportunity to be organized.

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