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

North Carolina Small Estate Administration

“Small Estate Administration “may be an option for small estates, both testate (with a Will) or intestate (without a will).  For eligible estates this allows the heirs to receive the property to which they are entitled under the Will or the Intestate laws of North Carolina with an abbreviated proceeding known as “Collection by Affidavit.” It is simpler, easier and a less expensive method. In order to qualify for this proceeding, the North Carolina estate must be valued at less than $20,000.00 ($30,000.00 if the sole heir is the surviving spouse). Thirty (30) days must have passed since the date … Continue reading

When is the best time for beneficiaries to Inherit?

Often times when I discuss drafting a Will for a client, we talk about whether the client’s children that are the beneficiaries should inherit outright or in trust. For many clients, if the child is over 21 or 25, the assumption is that the adult child should inherit outright. But is that really the best idea? So many factors should be considered in determining what is right for your estate plan and your beneficiaries. Once a person inherits, the money is his or hers and is subject to his or her creditors, divorce and other personal liabilities. While many want … Continue reading

Important Considerations before Buying a Timeshare

Are you thinking about buying a timeshare?  Undoubtedly, having a week or more reserved in a tropical destination for a vacation every year can be appealing.  However, there are a few things that you should consider before buying a timeshare – First, owning a week at a timeshare is similar to owning a condominium unit, in that you will owe ongoing (monthly or annual) assessments for maintenance to the timeshare association.  These maintenance assessments are in addition to the actual purchase price of the timeshare unit.  So, you need to be prepared to pay assessments to the timeshare association the … Continue reading

News: HOA Radio Program & Fact Book

HOA/Condo Radio Call-In Program Thursday, August 23 I’ll be a guest on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at noon on WHQR Public Radio in Wilmington for CoastLine: HOAs in the Cape Fear Region. The program, which begins at noon, will include call-in questions about “how to navigate the rules, including what to do when you have a grievance.” If you’re interested, the program can be heard on the radio (91.3), streaming, or by podcast. For more information, visit http://www.whqr.org/post/thursday-coastline-hoas-cape-fear-region (Follow-up: For anyone interested, the recorded program can be found at http://www.whqr.org/post/coastline-hoa-disputes-could-be-decreased-through-owner-education) 2017 Community Association Fact Book NOW LIVE The Foundation for … Continue reading