Each year several of our HOA/condo attorneys attend the annual community association Law Seminar presented by the College of Community Association Lawyers and the Community Associations Institute. The Law Seminar has excellent HOA/condo speakers and programs, and this year was no exception. There were some 20 education sessions, including discussions of Fair Housing Act developments, the explosion of assistance animal issues in community associations, protecting association names and websites, dealing with hoarders, and the fiduciary obligations of board members.
A goal for attorneys who attend the Law Seminar is to come back with a better feel for trends that will likely affect our clients here in the Carolinas. Some “hot topics” talked about this year included:
- A state legislative move towards backyard agriculture in HOAs, including allowing gardens and chickens, despite what the governing documents may provide.
- Due to drought issues, some states are adopting “environmentally friendly” laws that either prevent associations from enforcing outdoor “appearance” provisions that require lawns to be maintained or may permit owners to remove grass and install artificial turf.
- The continuing trend towards solar energy, with some state legislatures allowing owners to demand solar panels anywhere, even on common elements, or to install “passive solar drying devices” (clotheslines), regardless of the association’s documents.
- Some states have made illegal the intentional misrepresentation of a service animal (including North Carolina) in places of public accommodation, but that language does not at currently extend to community associations.
- Many associations are cracking down on “hotel-like” overnight rentals by Airbnb and other online platforms, even if they permit longer term leases of units. (If such language is of interest, we have successfully assisted several associations with amendments to their documents.)
- Lawsuits by owners against associations for secondhand smoke, whether from the common elements or units, is on the upswing, and that has led to a rise in amendments to governing documents to prohibit smoking. (If such language is of interest, we have successfully assisted several associations with amendments to their documents.)
Give our Charlotte or Greensboro offices a call if you have questions or if any of these issues are of concern to your community.
We’re excited to announce our new, larger Charlotte office! Note our new Charlotte address: 1927 South Tryon St., Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28203. The Charlotte phone number at 704-970-1593 remains the same.
This has been a busy and exciting year for our firm, so here are some updates and recent recognitions:
- Our Greensboro office expanded to take over neighboring office space (but has kept the same address).
- Four attorneys joined our firm this past year to assist with HOA/condo and real estate matters: Harmony Taylor, Brad Jones, Chris Rivers and Jason Pruett. For more information on any of our lawyers, visit our firm attorney page.
- Darlene Ansley, our wonderful firm receptionist for the past 18 years, was recognized as an “Unsung Legal Hero” by NC Lawyer’s Weekly in December. The award recognizes law firm employees who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty for clients and their community.
- Attorney Michael Taliercio was elected 2018 Treasurer of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers, which consists of attorneys who spend part of their practice assisting with meeting and parliamentary procedure issues.
- Attorney Barbara Morgenstern was elected 2018 President of the N.C. Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer, which consists of attorneys who practice family law, including divorce, child custody and support, and equitable distribution.
- Attorney Theodora Vaporis, who heads up our estates department and assists with wills and trusts, estate planning, probate, and estate litigation, was profiled in the O. Henry Magazine.
- Attorneys Steve Black and Harmony Taylor were re-elected to CAI-North Carolina’s Legislative Action Committee, which speaks on behalf of legislative and regulatory matters affecting community associations.
- Attorneys Carole Albright, Ashley Bennington, Keith Black and Barbara Morgenstern, all Board Certified Specialists in Family Law, were profiled in the N.C. State Bar Journal on the importance and benefits of legal specialization.
- Attorneys Barbara Morgenstern and Jim Slaughter were named to Best Lawyers. Morgenstern was recognized for Family Law and Family Law Mediation, and Slaughter for Real Estate Law and Community Association Law.
- Our firm was the first in North Carolina on the Best Lawyers list for Community Association Law (homeowner and condominium associations).
- Business North Carolina Magazine named several firm attorneys to its “Legal Elite” list. Carole Albright and Barbara Morgenstern were recognized for Family Law, Jon Raymer for Real Estate, and Jim Slaughter for Business/Business Litigation and Real Estate.
- Attorneys Barbara Morgenstern and Jim Slaughter were recognized as 2018 Super Lawyers–Morgenstern in the practice of family law, and Slaughter in the practice of real estate, including homeowner and condominium associations.
- Last, but not least–our firm’s kickball team made it to the City League semifinals!
We look forward to another exciting and busy year! Let us know how we can be of help.