HOA fines result in proposed compost legislation

Food Waste Bin

By Ken McEntee

Homeowners association fines over a resident’s food scrap bucket have led to proposed changes in Maryland law, according to the sponsor of a bill before the state legislature.

HB 248, sponsored by Del. Emily Shetty, would prohibit condominiums and homeowners associations from unreasonably restricting a property owner from contracting for the collection of compostable materials or composting food scraps within certain requirements.

“A constituent contacted me a few months ago to let me know that their HOA (homeowners association) was restricting him from placing a sealed, food scrap collection bucket on his patio that was no larger than the size of a large paint bucket,” Shetty said. “They have now begun to fine him for engaging in composting that is otherwise legal and not harming any of the surrounding properties. I was proud to work with him and other composting advocates to craft this legislation to help address this issue and encourage a greater adoption of composting.”

Shetty said she hopes that the House of Delegates will pass the bill in the coming days, after which she would present it to the state senate.

The bill was introduced to the house on March 2 and passed on second reading. Three readings are required for adoption.

The legislation would prohibit a recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a condominium or a homeowners association from:

  • Prohibiting or unreasonably restricting a unit owner from contracting with a private entity to collect organic waste materials for composting; and
  • Prohibiting or unreasonably restricting a lot owner from composting organic waste materials for the lot owner’s personal or household use as long as the lot owner owns or has the right to exclusive use of the composting area and observes all local and state laws, ordinances and regulations that pertain to composting.

Amendments to Shetty’s original bill changed “restricting or prohibiting” to “prohibiting or unreasonably restricting.”


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