NC Governor Signs Bill Allowing Remote Member Meetings

As a follow-up to last week’s Community Association Legislative Update (Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations), Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 320 (“Modernize Remote Business Access”) yesterday, September 20. The law takes effect effect immediately. NC homeowner and condominium associations (as well as other nonprofit associations) can now choose to hold virtual member meetings or make decisions without a meeting through written or electronic balloting or electronic voting, so long as certain requirements are met. The new law applies to any member meetings noticed as of today. In addition, remote member meetings noticed and held … Continue reading

Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations

NC Community Association Legislative Update – September 15, 2021 Community association (HOA and condo) boards have long been permitted to meet virtually by phone or videoconference, but the ability to hold membership meetings electronically ended with the expiration of the Governor’s Executive Order this spring. Since that time, while members can certainly meet virtually as an informal “town hall” and then vote afterwards by written ballot, it has not been possible to hold virtual membership meetings. And even under the Governor’s prior Executive Order, members could not vote during virtual meetings. That’s all changing with the adoption today of legislation … Continue reading

Throwing Shade—North Carolina / South Carolina Homeowner Right to Sunlight

Once upon a time there was a homeowner with a mountain cottage with a great view.  The homeowner lived for years on this quiet property with a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains.  Suddenly, a neighbor showed up and began building next door.  As part of construction, it became obvious that part of the new neighbor’s home would block the view of the first homeowner.  Although the first homeowner may not be happy about it, without some sort of guarantee that his view will remain unchanged, the first homeowner probably has no way to prevent the construction.  To avoid this … Continue reading

SIMPLE SUMMARY OF THE “FREE” STEP-UP IN BASIS FOR ESTATE ASSETS AND POSSIBLE CHANGES WITH THE PROPOSED AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN

Most of my clients do not have to deal with estate taxes due to the current 11.7-million-dollar exemption per spouse.   Despite this, there are still many important conversations involving taxation that may come up in the initial estate conference at the death of a loved one from deferred income tax with inherited IRAs, fiduciary tax returns, taxation of income earned by irrevocable trusts, and the big one that always comes up and which is the focus of this blog, capital gains taxes.  Capital gains tax is not an estate tax or related to death at all, but it is still … Continue reading

Improve Your Chances Of Winning Your Rezoning Case-Preparation Is Key

I served on the Greensboro Zoning Commission for six years, serving as Chair during my last year, and I lost count of the times that a rezoning application and presentation could have been aided by additional preparation by the applicant or by having a knowledgeable advocate who could persuasively make the case that rezoning a piece of property would provide its highest and best use. Applications can fail if those making the decision on a rezoning are not presented with sufficient information to answer their questions about whether a piece of property should be rezoned, whether that be through the … Continue reading

Miscellaneous Long-Term Care Planning Info and Options

In prior blogs, I have discussed Medicaid options for skilled nursing and the Special Assistance Medicaid program for an assisted living facility. In this blog, I will address some miscellaneous items to ponder when long-term care planning. Assistance for Elderly Veterans First, is your elderly loved one a Veteran? If so, Veteran’s Aid and Attendance may provide a small amount of assistance with long-term care cost. For a wartime veteran that meets the income and asset tests (or for a surviving spouse of a wartime veteran), the VA Aid and Attendance program may help pay for some of the costs … Continue reading

Who is the “Community Spouse” in Long-Term Care Planning and What Can They Expect?

When one of two spouses goes to a long-term care facility and applies for benefits, there is important lingo to be aware of when speaking with an elder law attorney and/or applying for benefits.  The spouse in the long-term care facility is called the “Institutionalized Spouse” and the other spouse is referred to as the “Community Spouse.”  In this blog, I discuss the asset and income allowances for the “Community Spouse.” There is a Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSA) to preserve assets for the community spouse.  This is the amount of countable assets the Community Spouse will not have to … Continue reading

Law Firm Carolinas: New Shareholder, Partners, Offices and Lawyers

Law Firm Carolinas announces the following changes: Harmony Taylor, who is in the Charlotte office and practices community association (HOA and condo) law and civil litigation, has been named a Shareholder. Three attorneys have been named Partners: Joe Thompson, who practices residential and commercial real estate, and David Wilson, who practices North and South Carolina community association (HOA and condo) law, both from the Charlotte office; and Jon Raymer, who practices commercial and residential real estate, from the Greensboro office. There have also been several recent additions to the firm: Nancy Guyton and Hunt Harris have joined the Wilmington office. … Continue reading

Guilford County Mask Mandate-Effective August 13, 2021

As a result of the latest COVID-19 surge and the more contagious Delta variant, Guilford County has issued a mask mandate that becomes effective today, August 13, 2021, at 5:00 P.M.   The mandate will remain in effect until the earlier of: 1) expiration or termination of the Proclamation of a Local Emergency, 2) January 8, 2022 at 5:00 P.M., or 3) modification or revocation by the Guilford County Board of Health. The mandate states: 1:  Individuals must wear Face Coverings when indoors in all businesses, establishments, and public places. 2:  All businesses, establishments, and public places must require that all … Continue reading

Changes to Special Assessment Language in North Carolina Realtor Standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract”

As discussed in previous blogs (see What’s Special about Special Assessments?), HOA/condo special assessments are referenced in the North Carolina standard Offer to Purchase and Contract form. By way of background, the NC Bar Association and NC Association of Realtors® have “Joint Forms” used in residential real estate closings. The standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract” (Standard Form 2-T) is used in most any closing involving a Realtor®. Effective July 1, 2021, there are various changes to the Standard Offer to Purchase and Contract, including the following language regarding special assessments: In Paragraph 1(n), the distinctions between a “proposed” and … Continue reading

Avoiding Legal Landmines: Advice for HOA/Condo Board Members & Managers

Earlier this week, I presented at the CAI-NC 2021 Annual Conference on how associations, board members and managers can “Avoid Legal Land Mines.” I won’t repeat the presentation here, as the entire program can be found at the CAI-NC website. However, here are tips to help keep your association out of court. Our firm does a huge HOA/condo practice in five different offices. As a result, we regularly see every kind of dispute between owners and associations. Not all will end up in court. After all, a violation over a garbage can being left out is likely not worth litigating. … Continue reading

Frequent Asked Questions about Foreclosure Sales

More than ever, people are buying property through foreclosures.  Do you want to buy property at a foreclosure sale, but you have questions about the process?  If so, then this article is for you.  For a general explanation of the foreclosure sale process, take a look at this previous article.  However, some common but more specific questions that people have about the foreclosure sale process are: Where does the sale take place?  Well, by law the notice of sale must contain the location where the sale is going to be conducted. Most sales are noticed to be conducted on the … Continue reading

Safeguarding HOA/Condominium Association Money: Investment considerations and pitfalls

We are often asked by our association clients whether they should invest assessment or reserve funds into the stock market, bonds, money market accounts, CDs, etc.  Let me start by stating that I am neither a financial planner nor an accountant, so my take on investment of association funds will center on the Board’s duties to the association and the underlying principal of why associations collect assessments in the first place. First, in North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations are non-profit corporations. They are set up for specific purposes as outlined in the governing documents, which may include maintenance of … Continue reading

Clarity on the difference between an Assisted Living facility and a Skilled Nursing facility: Special Assistance Eligibility

In this blog, I attempt to give some insight on a critical point of confusion in elder law which is the difference between assisted living and skilled nursing and the governmental programs available for financial assistance in each type of facility.  Despite what you may have been told, traditional long-term care Medicaid does not pay for a stay in an assisted living facility.  However, Special Assistance Medicaid, a subset of the Medicaid program, is another needs-based governmental program that can help pay for care in assisted living facilities.  The rules of the two programs have some similarities but also many stark … Continue reading

Real estate document preparation

Contracts and closing documents are a necessary part of any real estate transaction and there are countless resources on the internet that purport to be able to provide any number of them free or at a very low cost.  More often than not, however, the forms provided are not tailored to the party’s needs.  Oftentimes they omit important terms or language or are overbroad and put at increased risk the parties involved or getting the deal closed at all.  Since it is commonplace that real estate transactions do not always have brokers involved to provide preliminary guidance but the parties … Continue reading

Valuable New Resource on Drafting Community Association Governing Documents

The Community Associations Institute has many valuable resources for anyone who assists community associations. While these materials are often of most interest to professional community managers and HOA/condo owners, there are also many excellent publications for attorneys. A recent digital book, Guiding Principles for Community Association Governing Documents: A Resource for Lawyers, will be of interest to anyone who has to draft original association documents or amendments to those documents. This is no little brochure, but has excellent, detailed advice for getting the wording of documents right. The Task Force that compiled the recommendations was appointed by the College of … Continue reading

If I Ask if Your Will Has “Per Stirpes,” It’s Not a Personal Question

As I recently went through my estate planning 101 routine to a pair of prospective clients , I happened to drop in the phrase “per stirpes.”  I try to avoid legalese in my initial client conferences, but some terms are unconscious and unavoidable for estate practitioners who spend a significant time parsing through complex legal scenarios facing their clients.  One of the prospective clients abruptly interrupted me and said, “Whoa now, I thought we just came to talk about doing a Will.”  In jest, I assured him that he could not catch anything and there was no need to get … Continue reading

Should HOA or Condo Bylaws Be Recorded?

We were recently asked whether bylaws amendments should be filed with the local Register of Deeds. The answer, like many things community association related, depends. Condo bylaws in North Carolina are almost always filed with the Register of Deeds, but not HOA bylaws. The difference is due to initial bylaws for condos being recorded with the declaration, and then amendments need to show up in the public record. If HOA bylaws are filed (but should not be), amendments also need to be unless a later amendment makes clear (as we have sometimes done for associations) that subsequent amendments will not … Continue reading

EEOC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance to Employers

From time to time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), who is tasked with overseeing and administering federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), has issued guidance to employers seeking to smartly balance compliance with federal laws and regulations against the need to keep workers, customers and visitors to their businesses safe. With more businesses re-opening their doors and vaccines readily available, the EEOC released updated guidance to help struggling employers. In particular, the EEOC confirmed that: Employers can require all employees physically entering their workplace … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Williams v Reardon (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act – Part 2)

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has once again determined that restrictive covenants are largely extinguished by operation of the Real Property Marketable Title Act (N.C. Gen. Stat. 47B-1 et seq.) if not included in the chain of title in the preceding thirty years. The decision can be found at C.E. Williams, III et al v. Reardon et al. (Unpublished). Our blog on last month’s Marketable Title Act decision can be found at New NC Appellate Case: C Investments 2, LLC v Auger (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act). This decision leaves one additional case pending for decision in … Continue reading