The mayor and city council of Gaithersburg are considering signing on to a county service that provides dispute resolution and informational services directly to homeowners’ associations.
The Commission on Common Ownership Communities, operated by Montgomery County, would help members and boards of homeowners’ associations and condominium associations by providing information and resolving disputes. The current organization in Gaithersburg is the city’s Neighborhood Services Division, which enforces city codes, according to the council’s agenda.
At a work session Monday evening, city council member Cathy Drzyzgula said that in the current situation, homeowners’ association members often ask the city to solve disputes when the association’s board can’t resolve them.
Ryan Spiegel, the council’s vice president, said he brought the issue to the city council’s attention to create some balance between homeowners’ association members and boards.
“It is difficult sometimes ... for an individual homeowner to have the right leverage,” Spiegel said.
According to city documents, the commission would be funded by annual registration fees charged to community associations. Each residence would pay $3 per year for the service.
Craig Wilson, president of Vanguard Management Associates Inc., offers community management services through his company, but said he would support the city if it were to bring the commission in.
“This would be a very large benefit for associations in the city,” Wilson said.
Robert Utley, a Gaithersburg resident and homeowners’ association member, agreed.
“If we could, let’s get on board,” he said. With the commission, it would be easier to speed up the dispute resolution process and “have some action taken that benefits everybody,” he said.
Mayor Sidney Katz said the city council will explore the option and consider a survey of association members and boards. If the city moves forward with the plan, a public hearing will be held to discuss the commission.