What’s Special about Special Assessments?

The term for owner payments to a homeowner or condominium association in North Carolina is “assessments.“ That’s because the term “dues” doesn’t appear in any statute. Instead, “assessment“ is used to describe the payment that owners of an HOA lot or a condominium unit make to the association to pay for common costs of the community, such as real property taxes, insurance premiums, or other expenses to maintain, improve, or benefit the common property. General assessments are the topic of other blogs—this article is specific to special assessments. However, the phrase “special assessment“ also doesn’t appear in any statute. As … Continue reading

Assistance Animal Chart

The differences between service animals, therapy animals, and emotional assistance animals in HOAs and condominiums can get confusing, even to those of us that deal with them all the time. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) has created this attractive and helpful chart to distinguish between such animals! To download the chart, visit CAI’s Guide to Assistance Animals

Dealing with Owners Who Bully or Harass

Recently on a national HOA/condo list serve, a community association professional lamented that civility has fallen in HOAs and condos and asked about how to deal with homeowners who regularly bully or harass. Based on numerous instances, our firm’s attorneys would agree that there has been an increase in the number of “in your face” owners, whether that behavior is directed at other owners, directors, or the community manager. While there was a discussion online of “changing the community’s rules,” such language would not generally fly in North Carolina or South Carolina due to case law and statutes (but might … Continue reading

The Basics of Title Insurance

Purchasing a home is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences in one’s life. It can also be a very confusing process for first-time homebuyers or for people that do not deal in real estate transactions often. One of the more confusing aspects of a real estate purchase is the importance of title insurance. Prior to sitting at the closing table, very few buyers have ever heard of, let alone understand, the concept of title insurance. Title insurance can protect the buyer and the lender, if a home loan is required for purchase, from undue loss caused by a … Continue reading

Removal of an Officer vs. Removal of a Board Member of a Community Association

Removal issues are almost always sensitive and highly charged emotional issues. It is important that the board of directors follows the required process correctly and seeks legal guidance when necessary. If your board directors has questions regarding removal of an officer or removal of a board member, please contact one of our community association attorneys here at Black Slaughter and Black, P.A. There is often confusion regarding the difference between removal of an officer and removal of a board member in a North Carolina or South Carolina Community Association. In most cases the sitting board of directors has the authority … Continue reading

Best Lawyers Recognition 2020

Black, Slaughter & Black and two of its attorneys have been named to the 2020 US News Best Lawyers in America. Jim Slaughter has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practices of Community Association Law and Real Estate Law. Keith Black has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practice of Family Law. Black, Slaughter & Black is again the only firm in North Carolina with a listing of “Community Association Law.”

Community Associations and Registered Agents

All North Carolina nonprofit corporations are required to maintain a registered office and registered agent pursuant to § N.C.G.S. 55A-5-01. However, many board members, and some association managers, may not fully understand the purpose and duties of the registered agent. The registered agent’s sole duty is to keep the nonprofit corporation apprised of any notices, processes or demands served on the agent on behalf of the entity. For example, property taxes may be owed on property owned by the association and the local tax department may need to submit bills to the association. Local government does not keep up with … Continue reading

Should an Announcement of Election Results Include Votes by Candidate?

This question was recently asked on a national HOA/condo list serve: “In a board of directors election, should the vote totals by candidate be released to the membership?” Without question, the answer of how election results are announced could vary by state, depending on state statutes. If a statute provides a specific process for elections, that process should be followed. Similarly, if the organization has clear provisions in its governing documents, such as the bylaws, follow that process. However, for associations that follow Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, either due to state law or the governing documents, there is … Continue reading

The Current State Of Solar Laws For Homeowners Associations In North Carolina – 2019 UPDATE

For years North Carolina has followed the national trend of promoting and encouraging green technology and cleaner and more efficient ways of producing energy.  For homeowners associations, the trend has been for state legislatures to create laws allowing installation of solar collectors, regardless of what the HOA may say.  Some states have required HOAs to allow installation under all circumstances, while other states have limited an HOA’s ability to deny an application to install a solar collector to certain specific instances.  For an overview of the current solar laws in North Carolina and how they impact your homeowners association, take … Continue reading

Hurry Up and Wait – What If My Closing Is Delayed?

            A typical real estate transaction is complicated and has many moving parts. In plainest terms, many parties have to come together, ready and willing to move forward at one time, for a real estate transaction to close. Nearly every aspect of real estate transactions has increased in complexity, and despite advances in technology, delays are still common.             When a delay arises, one of the first questions asked is: “What are my rights?” Some may wonder if a delay is a breach of the contract. More often than not, a delay is not necessarily a breach of the contract, … Continue reading

New Firm Facebook Page

Black, Slaughter & Black has a new Facebook page where you can keep up with firm activities, read recent blogs, and find out where attorneys are speaking (and includes a photo from this morning’s Piedmont Education Breakfast where Steve Black spoke on Declaration Amendments: Pandora’s Box)? The new page can be found at www.facebook.com/BlackSlaughterBlack. We ask that you follow it, like it, and share it!

Maintenance, Repair and Replacement in HOAs & Condos (Including Hurricane and Casualty)

Prior to Hurricane Dorian our firm again sent out emergency contact information (emails and cell phone numbers) for all our community association attorneys. The thought behind doing this before significant storms is that in the event of HOA or condo damage, immediate advice may be needed on who is responsible for making and/or paying for necessary repairs. (And, yes, we have gotten calls in the middle of the night about water pouring into a unit or a tree through the roof.) Even in quiet times, issues related to maintenance, repair and replacement are some of the more difficult ones we … Continue reading

Could Your Last Will and Testament be Ambiguous?

New North Carolina Court of Appeals Case The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a new opinion today in the area of Estate Administration in the case of Brawley v. Sherrill. In this case, the Will provided for an estate to pass equally to Zoe’s two children but if either of the children predeceased Zoe that either his or her share shall go to Zoe’s grandchildren. One of Zoe’s children, a son, predeceased her so the question presented to the Court was does the deceased child’s share go to his children or to all of Zoe’s grandchildren and not just the … Continue reading

Recent South Carolina Solar Law and What it Means for Your HOA

A South Carolina solar bill that was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster in May this year might have impacts on your homeowners association by increasing the number of property owners looking to install some sort of solar technology on their property.  Since most HOAs have architectural approval procedures for changes to properties, that means that more and more solar applications are going to be submitted for approval. Solar panels, solar shingles, and other solar collectors are increasingly popular options in homeowners associations.  It is no secret that our country, our states, and our local governments are all looking … Continue reading

Recent HOA Case a Good Reminder in North Carolina & South Carolina

At Black, Slaughter & Black we keep track of legal trends and recent case law that impacts our HOA and condo clients.  Although it is a case out of Virginia, the decision in Sainani v. Belmont Glen Homeowners Association, Inc. highlights three important themes that HOAs in North Carolina and South Carolina should be aware of:  (1) there is a difference between rules and regulations and restrictive covenants, (2) the specific wording in covenants matters, and (3) HOA and condo boards must create restrictions that are clear and unambiguous. First, there is a distinct difference between rules and regulations that … Continue reading

FHA Issues New Condominium Approval Rules

Yesterday, August 14, 2019, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued significant policy revisions to its condominium approval process. In addition to changes to the condominium project approval policy, the new policy provides a “single-unit approval process” for individual condominium units to be eligible for FHA mortgage insurance, even if the condominium project is not FHA approved. In addition, the new guidelines extend the recertification for approved projects from 2 to 3 years and will allow more mixed-use projects to be eligible for FHA insurance. Here are a few more specifics as to changes to FHA’s Single Family Handbook: Single-Unit Approval … Continue reading

Who’s Responsible for HOA/Condo Assessments When a Homeowner Dies?

In North Carolina when a homeowner dies, his or her real property passes immediately to the heirs under a Will or if there is no Will, under the Intestate Succession Statute. This means that as soon as the homeowner dies there is immediately, by operation of law, a new owner. The real property is not a probate asset and therefore does not pass as such. Except for limited exceptions, this means that typically the “estate” is not the new owner. The question then arises, who is responsible for paying the community association assessments/dues? Since the heirs inherited the property immediately … Continue reading

2018 Community Association Fact Book Released

The Foundation for Community Association Research has just released its Community Association Fact Book 2018, which is full of HOA/condo data and statistics. The purpose of the work is to provide “research-based information to all community association stakeholders–homeowners, board members, management professionals as well as attorneys, accountants, developers, mortgage lenders, federal agencies, public officials and others–all who work with the Foundation and CAI to build better communities.” If you haven’t reviewed the Fact Book before, the information is fascinating. Both national and state-by-state information can be found. For instance, in 1970, there were 10,000 community associations in the U.S. Today … Continue reading