NC Community Association Legislative Update – April 23, 2019

It must be spring in North Carolina—both flowers and legislative proposals that would impact HOAs and condos are springing up! For those of you who attended the NC-CAI Community Association Legal Workshop in Wilmington this past week, you heard my law partner Steve Black comment on several pending community-association bills. When I spoke at the NC-CAI Community Association Law Evening in Greenville the NEXT NIGHT, 3 more proposals had been filed! Now there are at least 12 legislative proposal that would impact North Carolina’s HOAs and condos. The increased filing is due to several legislative deadlines this month. Tuesday, April … Continue reading

Curto v. A Country Place Condominium Association, Inc.

Sometimes, community associations tries to accommodate religious preferences and ends up discriminating on another basis. That is what happened in Curto v A Country Place Condominium Association, Inc., according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a New Jersey condominium case handed down yesterday. In this case, the condominium had a large Orthodox Jewish population whose religious practices prohibited men and women from swimming together in the condominium pool. The association, wishing to find a way for both men and women to use the pool, came up with a schedule that provided certain hours for men … Continue reading

Assigning Service Contracts in North Carolina

Most people assume that when they hire someone to perform a service for them, that person will deliver the service. This is not always true. In many circumstances, one party can assign its service obligations to another party. By statute, North Carolina allows one party to delegate- or assign- its obligations to perform some service under a contract to another party unless the contract prohibits assignment, or unless the non-assigning party has some substantial interest in having the originally obligated party perform the work themselves.  The idea is that assignment allows individuals and companies necessary flexibility to sell valuable contractual … Continue reading

Common Misconceptions for HOA or Condo Board Members

Do you serve on the Board of Directors of a Community Association?  If so, here are some common misconceptions that can cause problems for many boards— Meeting Minutes. Does your board keep minutes of its meetings?  If not, then your board should.  Second, your board meeting minutes should be a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said.  There is no need to record everything that is said.  Instead, simply record actions that were taken by the board (i.e. approved budget, approved new landscaping contract, etc.) Quorum.  Quorum is the minimum required number of directors that … Continue reading

Are Homeowners Associations and Condominium Associations Subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act?

We frequently get asked what special steps must be taken by associations to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) In many cases our association clients are not subject to the ADA but it depends heavily on who they allow to use the common area and amenities.  The most common trigger that makes the ADA apply to associations is when the association’s common area and amenities are used with some degree of frequency by the general public that are not members of the association.  For example, if the association allows nonmembers to use the association’s pool for a … Continue reading

What Happens to Your Retirement Benefits When You Divorce?

Although every retirement plan has its own rules, generally all of your assets and debts are added up and divided. North Carolina is a “no fault” property state so in most cases, all marital assets and debts will be divided equally. If you or your husband or wife has retirement benefits but one has more or is receiving more assets from other sources such as real property or bank accounts, a rollover from one spouse to the other can be used to equalize the spouses’ assets. The rollover is a non-taxable transfer and practically the non-participant spouse gets an account … Continue reading

Everything You Need to Know to Win Your Custody Case

Most of the rules you learned in kindergarten apply in child custody cases: for example: 1) be kind to others; 2) if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all; 3) be respectful and 4) share your toys. Child custody cases are emotionally charged and it is normal to want to show the court you are a great parent and your spouse is a terrible parent if you are trying to win primary physical custody of your children. But, judges are looking for the parent who puts his or her children first and who is not fighting for … Continue reading

Do You Have to Share Your Pension When You Divorce?

If you are fortunate enough to have a pension through a present or previous employer, some or all of it may be marital property subject to division upon separation and divorce from your spouse if you worked for the company offering the pension during your marriage. A pension plan is a type of annuity that will pay the employee a monthly benefit upon retirement. If the employee separates from his or her spouse prior to retiring, the non-employee spouse may want to be compensated for half the value of the pension because it is subject to a division pursuant to … Continue reading

Real Property and Medicaid Estate Recovery

When a person age 55 or older is the recipient of Medicaid, Medicaid tracks all of the money spent on the person’s behalf. While a Medicaid recipient can hold on to his or her home while alive, at the recipient’s death, Medicaid will place a lien on the recipient’s estate. This is known as Estate Recovery. The lien is typically placed on the Medicaid recipient’s home which then must be sold to pay back Medicaid. Clearly this disrupts many people’s plan of passing their real property down to their loved ones. There are some exceptions—times when Medicaid does not place … Continue reading

Property Surveys in Residential Real Estate Transactions

A property survey is typically obtained by a prospective purchaser of real property, either with or without a home currently constructed on it, during the due diligence period.  The surveyor will provide a sketch of the land that includes its legal boundaries, any discrepancies identified that may be present in public record documents and one or more of a number of items of note that could be present in connection with any specific piece of real estate (location of building(s), right(s) of way, easement(s), encroachment(s), monument(s), setback lines, any possible violation of applicable covenants, and many others).  There is typically … Continue reading

Collection Minefields & Helpful Tips

I recently spoke on the topic of Collection Minefields at the last two NC Community Association Institute (CAI) Law Days.  Both sessions were very well attended and the participants came with many great and pointed questions.  That tells me that both Board members and mangers are acutely aware that collecting unpaid assessments is a vital part of running a successful community association.  Unfortunately, while we would hope all owners would dutifully pay their assessments, very few associations are lucky enough to escape the reality of having pursue their neighbors for delinquencies. There are many different types of minefields that can … Continue reading

Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina & South Carolina – Part Two

(Blog co-authored by Harmony Taylor & David Wilson. This is a continuation of the earlier blog, “Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina or South Carolina.”) We are often asked by board members for HOA and condominium associations to review their community’s documents and “update” them or “make them more modern.”  While there is no one-size fits all solution for any community association, we have noticed that some amendments are a good idea for most communities.  Over the next few articles, David Wilson and Harmony Taylor will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend … Continue reading

Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina & South Carolina – Part Two

(Blog co-authored by David Wilson & Harmony Taylor. This is a continuation of the earlier blog, “Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina or South Carolina.”) We are often asked by board members for HOA and condominium associations to review their community’s documents and “update” them or “make them more modern.”  While there is no one-size fits all solution for any community association, we have noticed that some amendments are a good idea for most communities.  Over the next few articles, David Wilson and Harmony Taylor will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend … Continue reading

Community Association Foreclosures and Squatters

Despite what some may believe, association boards almost never want to foreclose on a condo, townhome or single family home in their community. When they do go through the time and expense of foreclosing, and are forced to purchase the property through foreclosure, it is incredibly frustrating to go to change the locks on a home only to find it already occupied by a stranger. It can appear that someone- not the former owner- showed up in the dead of night, gained access through some means, and moved in- even going so far as to fully furnish the home, hook … Continue reading

Jim Slaughter Recognized for Pro Bono Service

Attorney Jim Slaughter was recently recognized by the Greensboro Bar Association for his pro bono work by being named to the Herb Falk Society. The Herb Falk Society honors Bar members who have performed 75 hours or more of pro bono service hours during the year, which includes free or reduced legal services to clients and activities to improve the legal profession. This is Jim’s 7th year of recognition. His is pictured here with Judge Teresa Vincent, 2019 President of the Greensboro Bar Association.

Annual Report Reminder

Entities conducting business within the State of North Carolina are required, with only a few exceptions, to file an Annual Report with the North Carolina Secretary of State every year by April 15th and to pay the accompanying fee with their submission. It is an easy task to overlook, but one that business owners or officers should take care not to miss!  While an entity caught sleeping will not likely be dissolved immediately, failure to file Annual Reports will eventually result in its administrative dissolution, thus leaving individual owners exposed to personal liability for debts and other wrongs that might … Continue reading

Change in the Law – North Carolina Year’s Allowance

As of January 2019 the Year’s Allowance in North Carolina has been adjusted. For a surviving spouse there is an increase in the statutory allowance from $30,000.00 to $60,000.00. The Spousal Allowance is intended as a type of stop-gap; a means of meeting the immediate needs of the surviving spouse when he or she is widowed and presumably assets may be tied up during the estate administration. The $60,000.00 Spousal Allowance is authorized by statute to provide for necessities. It may only be paid from the personal property of the Decedent and not from real property. With the exception of … Continue reading

Don’t Screw Up Your Architectural Committee and Approval Process

In a decision issued today (March 19, 2019), the North Carolina Court of Appeals examined the issue of proper architectural committees and their decisions. Makar vs. Mimosa Bay Homeowners Association is an “unpublished” opinion from the NC Court of Appeals. That means that the decision is not controlling legal authority and should not be cited in other cases. However, even unpublished opinions give a sense of the Court’s thinking as to specific issues and how subsequent courts may rule. In short, the decision in Makar follows other recent appellate decisions that associations should act properly, follow corporate formalities, and do … Continue reading

Committee of the Whole

“Committee of the Whole” is a type of committee described in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)(see RONR Section 52). While not commonly used, some large assemblies and legislative bodies follow the process. Without question, the procedure is an odd one. The normal presiding officer leaves the chair and a chairman of the committee is appointed. Members can speak in debate on the main question or amendment as often as they can get the floor. Only certain motions are in order. The committee is intended to adopt a report to be made to the assembly and then votes … Continue reading

Community Association Law Day 2019 – Charlotte, NC

Law Day is one of the NC Community Associations Institute’s most popular programs. Attendees include HOA/condo board members, community leaders, and community managers. Speakers include many of the best community association professionals in the state. Black, Slaughter & Black attorneys will be presenting on the following topics at the 2019 Community Association Law Day on Friday, March 22: Who’s Going to Fix My Property? HOA/Condo Maintenance, Repair & Casualty (Including Major Weather Events) – Jim Slaughter Assessment Collection Minefields – David Wilson & Adam Marshall How to Avoid Litigation in the First Place – Jim Slaughter (and Hope Carmichael) The … Continue reading