We Are Here to Help! Ask Our HOA/Condo Attorneys for Help in the New Year!

Finally it is a new year!  2020 is over, and hopefully brighter days are ahead for you, your families, and your communities.  Whether it was a product of a struggling economy or a certain hesitancy to ask an attorney for help and guidance, in the last year our firm saw a surprising number of requests to finalize an amendment recording when we had not been involved in the underlying discussion regarding whether or not an amendment should be pursued in the first place or the actual amendment language itself.  This is concerning for several reasons.  First, without being involved in … Continue reading

HOA & Condo Holiday and Seasonal Decorations: How to Regulate Without Being a Scrooge!

It is that time of year again. The time when families (especially this year) need a little festive spirit in their lives. As such, many homeowners begin to decorate their homes for the holidays. These decorations can range from a wreath on the door to a Griswold style light show with a ten foot tall inflatable Santa in the front yard. Yikes! Needless to say our firm gets many questions about regulation of holiday and seasonal decorations, especially during the fall and winter months. Can the Association Regulate Exterior Holiday and Seasonal Decorations? As with most homeowner and condominium association questions, the … Continue reading

Rezoning Your Property and Other Land Use Changes: Things to Consider

We often believe that as the owners of property that we can use our land however we desire.  As we understand in the HOA and condominium world; that is not the case when there are restrictive covenants and declarations filed that regulate the use of an owner’s property.  But what if you do not own property that is subject to these types of restrictions?  Can you then use your land however you see fit?  The answer to those questions is most likely, no.  Local municipalities have land use ordinances and regulations in place that dictate a designated “use” that is … Continue reading

NC HOA/Condo Budget Ratification During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we all do business. Homeowners associations and condominium associations are not immune to this new normal. Our firm has blogged extensively how to conduct association business during the COVID-19 crisis in order to promote social distancing and best stay compliant with the ever-changing status of the North Carolina Governor’s executive orders. One question that continues to come up is how to ratify the association’s budget when holding a meeting seems impossible. The budget ratification process is dependent on several factors including when your association was established. For example, the Condominium Act process for … Continue reading

Communicating With HOA/Condo Members In The Age of Coronavirus

Association Boards are not typically groups that like to overshare.  They often can take a “need to know” approach to communicating with association membership.  However in this brave new world we are facing with Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) sharing what actions the Board is taking, or not taking, with regard to the virus is going to be of vital importance to maintaining a well informed and healthy membership. Typically when associations discuss communication, they are referring to those notices required to be provided by governing documents or state statute, such as notices required for annual meetings, collection of assessments, imposing fines for … Continue reading

Can Community Privileges or Services Be Suspended?

We are often asked what can be done when a homeowner is violating the governing documents.  That answer depends on the language of the association’s declaration, and whether or not the association is subject to the North Carolina Planned Community Act or Condominium Act.  Quite frequently, the answer results in a discussion on the association’s ability to issue fines to owners who are in violation.  However, the same North Carolina statutes that grant the ability to issue fines also grant the association the ability to suspend community privileges or services. As with issuing fines, an owner’s community privileges or services … Continue reading

Regulation of Display of American and North Carolina Flags in HOA & Condominium Associations

Happy Fourth of July!  It is the time of year when our firm gets many questions regarding the display of United States and North Carolina flags in their community associations.  Summer is a popular time of year for sun, sand, BBQ cookouts, and for display of patriotism!  In our experience, we have found that most associations encourage the patriotic display of the United States and North Carolina flags, however reasonable restrictions on flag displays are common in community association governing documents. Both the North Carolina Planned Community and Condominium Acts limit the way in which associations restrict the display of … 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

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

Rules and Regulations: Staying in Your Lane and Avoiding Potential Hazards.

As part of our community association practice I am often asked by clients to review their rules and regulations.  While this may seem like a rather simple task, it many times is made more complicated by Board confusion over what they have authority to control through the rules and regulations.  Put simply HOA and condominium associations can create reasonable rules and regulations to govern common areas.   Meaning, as long as the rules and regulations are reasonable and not in conflict with the Declaration, of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“Declaration”), the Board of Directors can adopt rules and regulations concerning the … Continue reading

Fining For Violations-Proper Process is Key

Our clients often ask us what can be done about homeowners who are clearly violating the Association’s governing documents.  Both the North Carolina Planned Community and Condominium Acts (“Acts”) have mirror provisions and procedures for the imposition of fines.  Imposing fines often causes a great amount of heartburn for Boards as they are tasked with enforcing the Association’s governing documents against a neighbor.  While it can be an uncomfortable position to be in, our advice is that if the Board is not willing to enforce their governing documents, the documents might as well not exist. Furthermore, if Associations ignore violations … Continue reading

Enforcement: Might a Local Ordinance Help Your Community Association?

What can an HOA or condominium association do when activity is occurring within the community that appears to be objectionable, but which is not specifically addressed in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions or other association governing documents? The clear answer, if the association wants enforcement power, is to amend the governing documents by following the proper procedure. Vague restrictions are difficult to enforce, and we always recommend amending governing documents to make restrictions as clear as possible. Unfortunately, as most association members are aware, the amendment process can take some time. What if the objectionable activity needs to … Continue reading

Communities for Those 55 Years of Age or Older

Recently we have been approached by multiple associations inquiring about making their housing community one that is restricted to those residents that are 55 years of age or older.   The ability and requirements for establishing or becoming a housing community for those 55 years of age or older is governed by the federal Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA).  The Act applies to homeowners associations and condominium associations that wish to impose this type of age requirement.  HOPA is an exemption to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which prohibits discrimination in housing-related transactions based on race, color, religion, sex, national … Continue reading

Purchasing a Dental Practice? Things to Consider

Whether you are a recent Dental School graduate, will be graduating in the near future, or have been working for some time in another practice, the decision to purchase an established dental practice may be your biggest career decision. It is important that you do your homework and assemble a competent team of advisors, such as an experienced CPA and attorney, to help make sure that you have a successful transition into owning your own business.  The following is a list of items to consider in the purchase process: Finding the Practice: Before you ever approach your attorney about purchasing … Continue reading

Pet Patrol: Can Homeowners Associations and Condominiums Restrict or Prevent Pets in a Community?

We all love our pets, and most consider them part of our families. However, homeowners may be surprised to learn that their Association may be able to restrict the number, type, or breed of pet allowed in their community.  With certain limitations, the presence of pets or other animals may even be prevented altogether.  While some, including myself, may choose not to live in a planned community with these type of restrictions, there may be perfectly good reasons for their implementation, including prevention of pet waste on common areas, damage to Association property, and increased liability. In order to restrict … Continue reading