What an HOA “Transfer Fee” Is—And What It Is Not

The term “transfer fee” is used in North Carolina incorrectly all the time. Misuse is common even among professionals. Recently I’ve heard both real estate brokers and real estate attorneys refer to items as “transfer fees” that were not. Since there is a statute that regulates and can even prohibit improper transfer fees, it’s important to use the correct term. Let’s start with a bit of background. Since 2010 North Carolina state statute has defined a transfer fee as a “fee or charge payable upon the transfer of an interest in real property . . . regardless of whether the … Continue reading

E-recording in North and South Carolina

E-recording of legal documents in local registries, while not exactly new (first one recorded in 2000 in Salt Lake County, Utah), has become much more widespread in use in recent years both by jurisdictions accepting this method of recording as well as local attorneys utilizing the same.  There are currently 1856 jurisdictions accepting e-recordings and growing.  North Carolina and South Carolina each participate though not at 100% for either state.  North Carolina has 81 out of 100 counties currently with ability to e-record and South Carolina has 19 out of 46.  The participating counties are mostly skewed to the more … Continue reading

Planning for the Future of Your Community Through Reserve Funding

As properties within homeowners and condominium associations age, inevitably maintenance expenses will begin to pile up. Roofs will need to be replaced, deteriorating roads will need to be repaired, and siding may need to be replaced. These are examples of major expenses that do not occur every day, but can often otherwise be anticipated. Planning ahead for these expenditures can be key to the financial health of your association. So how do homeowners and condominium associations pay for these major projects? One method is through reserve funding. This is an amount of the collected assessments that are set aside to … Continue reading

Details on the 2019 National Community Association Law Seminar!

As past President of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), I try to provide details each year on the national Community Association Law Seminar. Without question, the Law Seminar is the premiere HOA and condo legal program held each year. This year’s Law Seminar is the 40th annual and will be held January 23-26, 2019, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, LA. While the Law Seminar is mostly attended by attorneys, it’s not limited to attorneys. Other participants include insurance professionals, community association managers, other industry leaders who wish to learn about HOA/condo law trends and practices. For … Continue reading

Short-Term Rentals: New Municipal Regulations & HOAs/Condos

The convenience and cost of Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway and other platforms have made short-term rentals (sometimes called “STRs” or “STVRs” for “short-term vacation rentals”) a booming business. Airbnb said earlier this year that it has over 640,000 hosts and 4 million listings! That said, short-term rentals can bring concerns. For one, too many rentals may change the nature of a community. Some traditional owner-occupied homeowner and condominium associations have found themselves awash in short-term renters. While there is nothing inherently negative about short-term renters, some communities have found that short-term rentals can lead to additional administrative costs, such as determining … Continue reading

Decking the Halls in Your Homeowner’s Association

The fall and winter holiday months are the perfect time to show your holiday spirit. Regardless of which occasion is your favorite, this time of year draws homeowners to the holiday aisles filled with décor of all kinds.  In fact, a recent study revealed that the value of United States imports of Christmas lights alone totaled $463.2 million in 2017.[1] It looks like everyone is eager to spread the holiday cheer. But, before you turn your home into a scene straight out of Christmas with the Kranks, you should make sure your homeowner’s association doesn’t have any prohibitions on the … Continue reading

Trusts in Real Estate Transactions

Trusts have become a more common real estate holding tool, as people take a more aggressive approach to their estate planning. Trusts can be great tools for maintaining the privacy of personal finances and avoiding lengthy probate proceedings. Moving real property in and out of trust is typically no more complicated than recording a properly executed deed to or from the trustee of the trust. Selling property held in trust requires a bit more paperwork, but a skilled attorney should be able to easily guide clients through the additional documents required. For many years, the standard practice in transactions involving … Continue reading

Is There An HOA and Do I Care? Not All Restrictions Are Equal

One duty of a real estate closing attorney is to research the history of title to a tract of real estate and, as a part of that title search, determine what restrictions, if any, are attached to property being purchased.  Restrictions are generally attached either through the agreement of several property owners to be bound by certain restraints, or by a single owner seeking to subdivide property and to have all subdivided lots be under a common subdivision scheme.  In either event, restrictions in North Carolina have to be recorded in the county register of deeds where the real property … Continue reading

Avoiding an Un-Jolly End to the Holiday Fun: What Property Owners and Hosts Need to Know about Premises and Host Liability

The holiday season is a special time of year filled with visitors, get-togethers and mingling.  Most of us are already looking ahead to the joys of family and friends visiting, carolers, parties and yummy food aplenty.  Regrettably, the festivities of the season also open the door or create ripe opportunities for potential for liability.   Property owners and hosts need not, however, turn themselves into Scrooge; rather, personal liability can be avoided or greatly reduced simply by keeping in mind these potential issues and obligations: Premises Liability: North Carolina property owners may be held liable for injuries occurring on their property … Continue reading

Be Careful Driving, Especially This Thanksgiving Weekend

Between November 21 and November 25, North Carolina state troopers in North Carolina will be placed every 20 miles along I-40 in an effort to encourage safe travel. The “Thanksgiving I-40 Challenge” is a joint operation with seven other states along the Interstate 40 corridor. While it is always important to exercise safe driving, here are a couple of important reminders, especially during this holiday season. Here are a few reminders as you get behind the wheel: Expect increased traffic and delays, so allocate additional time for traveling to your destination so that you do not feel the need to … Continue reading

You’ve Been Served! But, What Does That Mean?

We’ve all seen a movie where someone is handed a piece of paper and told, “You’ve been served.” But, what exactly does that mean? In North Carolina, lawsuits are started when a complaint is filed and a summons is issued. Before the lawsuit can be heard by a Judge or Magistrate, the person sued must be properly notified of the pending lawsuit. That’s the simple explanation of “service.” However, the process of serving someone with the paperwork is more complicated than just merely saying that the lawsuit exists. Our rules provide different methods of service, which can also vary depending … Continue reading

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

(Blog co-authored by Harmony Taylor & David Wilson) 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 of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend to the associations that we represent. Whether you are a single family, townhome or condominium … Continue reading

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

(Blog co-authored by David Wilson & Harmony Taylor) 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 of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend to the associations that we represent. Whether you are a single family, townhome or condominium … Continue reading

Can an affidavit “fix” an error within a document recorded in North Carolina?

Real estate attorneys are occasionally faced with questions from clients and lenders about correcting typographical or other errors appearing in a recorded document.  It is often suggested that simply filing an affidavit should be sufficient to correct the document, but such affidavits are not always capable of accomplishing the intended result.  North Carolina recently revised its statutes regarding corrective affidavits, and this brief overview is intended to highlight distinctions between the various affidavits currently available. Affidavits for Minor Typographical Errors In the event a recorded instrument contains a “nonmaterial” or other minor error, an affidavit may be recorded to provide … Continue reading

Firm News/Update – Nov. 2018

Attorney Deployment Attorney William Sefcik, who is an Army First Lieutenant, has been deployed to Active Duty overseas in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Until he returns safely to our firm, please keep William and his family in your thoughts.   Theodora Vaporis Recognized as “Best Estate Planning Attorney” Congratulations to my law partner Theodora Vaporis, who was recognized this month by the News & Record as “Best Estate Planning Attorney” in Guilford‘s Best 2018! Theodora heads our firm’s Estates Department and helps with issues related to wills and trusts, including estate planning, powers of attorney, guardianship, estate administration/probate, and … Continue reading

Cease and Desist

If you have been involved as a manager or board member of a community association for any significant period of time-, you have likely come across a difficult owner or tenant who insists on using ineffective communication strategies. Maybe they send you daily or hourly emails demanding information, or post these demands to social media. Perhaps they telephone excessively, wanting to discuss board positions outside of meetings. In some circumstances, they may even contact association vendors directly, and demand action or information to which they have no right. In a perfect world you would respond to legitimate requests for information … Continue reading

Attend Community Association Law Day – Friday, October 19

Would you like to learn about North Carolina HOA and condominium law changes and trends? Then plan to attend the NC Community Association Law Day on Friday, October 19 in Raleigh! Law Day is always a popular program organized by the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. Attendees include planned community and condo board members, community leaders, and community managers. Speakers include many of the most experienced community association professionals in the state. Law Day Details The 2018 Community Association Law Day will be held on Friday, October 19. This year’s program will be in Raleigh at the … Continue reading

Intestacy in North Carolina or Dying Without a Will

I understand that 75% of North Carolinians die without a Will. This is called dying Intestate. If you die without a Will, then the Intestate laws of the state of North Carolina determine the distribution of your assets. As discussed in a Blog Post, dated February 15, 2013, a common misconception is that if a married person dies without a Will, the assets pass automatically to the surviving spouse. This is not entirely true. Under current law, this is what happens:   If The Person Who Dies is Married: Real Property If survived by one child or a descendant of … Continue reading

Who gets children’s 529 accounts and divorce?

Most couples decide to keep a 529 college savings plan as the children’s funds and used for college expenses. If there is no such agreement, the court will include any 529 college savings plan in the marital assets, to be divided or distributed to one party. Most likely, the court will assign savings to one parent or the other to manage the funds for the children and not reduce their share of the marital assets.  Although, the Court could choose either parent to manage the funds, it is likely that the court would choose the party most interested in the … Continue reading

Should you move out?

Are you considering separating from your husband or wife and not sure whether you should move out of the house? There are several things to consider in deciding on whether you should move out of the house prior to a written agreement with your spouse. Do you have children? Are you financially able to afford another place to live? Might you have alimony obligation to your spouse? Did you get a house prior to your marriage? These are just a few of the questions you want answer before your move. Call one of the attorneys at Black, Slaughter and Black … Continue reading