Q&A on Political Signs in HOAs and Condominium Associations

Political Signs in NC & SC Associations With a month to go before a major political election, questions about political signs are rolling in. Can we do something about political signs on association property? How many signs can an owner have in his yard? Can the association remove signs from a homeowner’s yard? One reason we get so many questions about political signs is that North Carolina has one of the most complicated sign statutes in the country. (South Carolina has no such statute). Adopted in 2005, the NC statute provides different authority for community associations based on when the … Continue reading

North Carolina Digital Asset Law

There is a question of what happens to a person’s “digital assets” upon death. A Digital Asset is an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest. Digital assets and content include but are not limited to individual files such as images, photos, videos, and text files.  It also includes other digital content and databases owned and/or stored either on a devise owned or used by an individual on devices accessed via the Internet or in a Cloud.  Digital Assets also include but are not limited to email accounts, social media profiles (YouTube or Flickr), social networking … Continue reading

Electronic Voting and Electronic Notices for Homeowners Associations and Condominiums

Modern society is moving toward better, faster, and easier methods of communication and transacting business. There was a time when sending a letter was the standard form of communication.  Indeed, “regular mail” and hard-copy printed versions of documents are still the standard in most legal systems in the United States.  However, the trend over the past several years has been to move to faster, more efficient methods of communicating and operating. Unfortunately, legal systems are often the last to join the party. The laws involving homeowners associations and condominiums are no different.  In fact, many associations find themselves stuck with … Continue reading

When Does My North Carolina Child Support Obligation End?

Each parent has a duty to support their minor children. As most of us know, when the parents no longer live together the parent that has the child most of the time has the right to request child support from the other parent. An Order for child support is often entered by the Court requiring that one parent pay the other parent a monthly amount for support of the child or children. So, the question is then raised: When does my obligation to pay child support in North Carolina end? North Carolina General Statute Section 50-13.4 states that the Order terminates automatically when … Continue reading

Amending a Declaration: The Crossings at Sugar Hill Decision

This week’s opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals contained three cases involving community associations. That’s about a record, and further evidence of the growing trend in terms of the number of reported HOA/condo appellate cases. One case, Kimler vs. The Crossings at Sugar Hill Property Owner’s Association, Inc. (August 2, 2016), involves the process for amending a declaration in a homeowners association created prior to 1999. While the case doesn’t provide groundbreaking new law, it does support a position HOA attorneys have argued for several years. In short, the Crossings at Sugar Hill (the “Association”) was created as a … Continue reading

2016 NC Legislative Update: A Taxing Session for HOAs and Condos

For those in the community association industry watching this year’s legislative session, it was fairly quiet. Of the 10 or so legislative proposals specifically dealing with homeowner or condominium associations still alive for the two-year session (see this Legislative Update), only a few bills even received discussion. None were adopted. In that regard, 2016 was uneventful. That said, one significant legislative act NOT specifically related to HOA’s and condos will almost certainly cost community associations money. And may require some community association budgets to be increased. And it has to do with sales taxes. For many years North Carolina has … Continue reading

The Top 10 Reasons to Arbitrate Your Family Law Case

I am stealing one of David Letterman’s acts to tell you why you might want to arbitrate your family law case.  North Carolina is behind the rest of the country in many areas of the law but not in the area of family law arbitration.  In fact, we were the first state to enact the Family Law Arbitration Act (FLAA), G.S. §§ 50-41 et seq., largely due to the efforts of Raleigh attorney, Lynn Burleson, and Wake Forest University Law Professor George Walker.  Other states have subsequently adopted our statutes. What is arbitration?  Arbitration is a proceeding where a private … Continue reading

The Doctrine of Necessaries – The True Meaning of “In Sickness and in Health”

On your wedding day, you and your spouse promised to care for each other “in sickness and in health.” Like most newlyweds, you probably didn’t truly understand what those words would mean. North Carolina recognizes the Doctrine of Necessaries, which provides that a spouse is liable for the other’s necessary expenses incurred during their marriage. This legal responsibility exists even when the spouse did not sign as a guarantor or request that their spouse receive the services. What constitutes a “necessary”? A “necessary” is something which is essential to one spouse’s health and comfort. Most often, this doctrine is applied … Continue reading

Flag Displays in South Carolina Homeowners Associations and Condominiums

At this time of year we often get questions from homeowners, managers, condominium and homeowners association boards about what flags may be displayed and under what circumstances. In South Carolina, both federal law and state law come into play. South Carolina law provides that homeowners associations and condominiums in South Carolina must permit the display of one portable, removable United States flag in a respectful manner, consistent with federal law, on the premises of the property of which he is entitled to use. Federal Law provides that homeowners associations and condominiums “may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter … Continue reading

NC-CAI Chapter June 2016 Update

Since my last update, the North Carolina CAI Chapter has realized some great achievements!   Annual Conference & Expo The 2016 Annual Conference in Greensboro was a huge success! There were more than 225 attendees representing 32 management companies and 5 communities. That’s one of our largest attendance figures ever, and certainly a record for the Triad! Sixty exhibit booths were sold. And a little more than a quarter of this year’s attendees were first-time attendees, which speaks well for the future. Evaluations by conference participants also provided other valuable information. 89% of attendees rated the overall Annual Conference experience … Continue reading

Is Your HOA or Condo Community Manager Covered by the Attorney-Client Privilege?

For attorneys who practice community association law, there has been ongoing discussion at national HOA/condo legal events about whether a community manager is covered by the attorney-client privilege. In general the attorney-client privilege shields communications between an association and its attorney for materials prepared in anticipation of litigation or trial. Such communications usually lose their privilege if made in the presence of a third party. The concern has been that if legal communications that would otherwise be privileged are between the attorney and manager or if a manger is copied on a legal communication to the association, does that waive … Continue reading

Need Help for Bank “Zombie Foreclosures” in Homeowner & Condominium Associations?

A huge problem for HOA and condo associations over the past 5 years has been “zombie foreclosures.” That’s where a bank starts the foreclosure process on a property and the owner moves out, but then the bank doesn’t complete the foreclosure (no state law requires banks to complete foreclosure within a timeframe). We have seen properties where the bank has taken years to complete foreclosure! Because the home is unoccupied, the lot or unit falls into disrepair and the yard goes wild. While the owner is gone, the bank doesn’t yet own the property, so there is no one for … Continue reading

NC-CAI Chapter Update

As 2016 President of the NC Chapter of the Community Associations Institute, I provide an update in each issue of “Serving NC,” the state CAI Chapter newsletter. Look for the new issue, which should arrive this week. However, I wanted to provide my most recent update, which provides information on some of the Chapter’s many activities.  For more details, visit the Chapter website at www.cai-nc.org. Also, mark your calendar and register ASAP for the 2016 NC-CAI Annual Conference and Expo on April 7-8 in Greensboro at the Sheraton Four Seasons. This will be a great event! Julie Adamen of HOA Manager Newsline is the keynote speaker. Learning sessions include excellent … Continue reading

Trash Pickup Changes Harmful to Homeowners in Associations

The City of Charlotte’s next fiscal year draft budget proposes to stop trash service for multifamily units. Such a move would be exceptionally unfair to owners of townhomes and condominium, who pay property taxes like other homeowners. While a Charlotte based dispute might not seem to directly impact you if you don’t live in the city, it does. Cash-strapped municipalities around the country are looking for more ways to push costs for previously provided services from the city to homeowners, often in planned communities or condominium associations. If such reductions in services become the norm in Charlotte, you can be assured they will soon appear elsewhere. Below … Continue reading

Why You Should Join & Support North Carolina’s CAI Chapter

As 2016 President of the CAI North Carolina Chapter, I encourage you to join the Community Associations Institute (CAI) if you are not already a member.   Homeowner and condominium associations have become a major force in our state.  North Carolina’s population recently passed 10 million, making it the 9th largest state.  However, we are the 5th largest state in number of community associations.  That equates to almost 14,000 associations with more than 2 million residents!  With this growth has come an explosion of media coverage and legislative proposals concerning homeowner and condominium associations.  Such changes mean the education, professional … Continue reading

Drone Wars: South Carolina Drone Laws and Your Homeowners Association and Condominium Association

As highlighted in his recent blog post, Jim Slaughter of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A., noted the explosion of drone purchasing and use. This post is designed to supplement Jim’s summary of specific drone-related laws passed in North Carolina by providing an update on specific South Carolina drone-related laws. The recent Christmas season shows that drone purchases are on the rise in South Carolina and nationwide. South Carolina law does not define what type of aircraft would constitute a drone. While most proposed rules and regulations use the terms Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (“UAV”) or Unmanned Aircraft System (“UAS”), South Carolina’s … Continue reading

Drone Use By and In NC Homeowner and Condominium Associations

Drone use is exploding.  Some 700,000 drones were expected to be sold in the United States over the holidays.  2 million drones will likely be sold worldwide in 2016.  As use of drones has become more popular, issues involving drones have become more frequent—drones nearly colliding with airplanes, drones crashing into spectators at sporting events and public places, drones being shot from the sky by annoyed neighbors, lawsuits over drone surveillance, etc. What Is a Drone? Drones, which are also called “unmanned aerial vehicles” (or “UAVs”) or “unmanned aircraft systems” (or “UASs”), are basically model airplanes built with state-of-the-art technology.  … Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution to Review Estate Planning

As you come upon the New Year, it is a good time to consider whether your estate is in proper order. If you had and major changes in your life, such as divorce, the death of a loved one or a move to a different state, you should review the plan you have in place. I would encourage you to review the plan you have in place every three to five years or sooner if you have had a major life change. It may be that all is in order and no changes need to be made; however, you may … Continue reading

HE/SHE JUST WON’T LEAVE…what to do if the marriage is broken and you have children?

Many times when I have met with clients in Greensboro or Charlotte the first question that is asked is “How do I get my Husband or Wife to leave the home because I need to stay there for the children?” Absent proof of “domestic violence” what can be done? If the home is owned by both or really even just one of the parties getting the separation to occur often times is very difficult especially if the “other” party does not want the separation or even if he or she is willing to end the marriage they simply don’t want … Continue reading

Congratulations to Our 4 State Bar Certified Family Law Specialists

Yesterday I congratulated Steve Black for receiving his Board Certification as a Legal Specialist in Real Property Law – Residential Transactions. We have also been informed by the North Carolina State Bar that three of our attorneys, Keith Black, Carole Albright, and Ashley Bennington have been named Board Certified Specialists in Family Law. “Family law” broadly includes divorce litigation; child custody, visitation and child support; equitable distribution; separation agreements; post-separation support and alimony; and family law mediation and arbitration. The NC State Bar began certifying lawyers as legal specialists in 1987. The requirements for legal specialization include being substantially involved in the practice area for at least 5 … Continue reading