Throwing Shade—North Carolina / South Carolina Homeowner Right to Sunlight

Once upon a time there was a homeowner with a mountain cottage with a great view.  The homeowner lived for years on this quiet property with a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains.  Suddenly, a neighbor showed up and began building next door.  As part of construction, it became obvious that part of the new neighbor’s home would block the view of the first homeowner.  Although the first homeowner may not be happy about it, without some sort of guarantee that his view will remain unchanged, the first homeowner probably has no way to prevent the construction.  To avoid this … Continue reading

New South Carolina Law Creates COVID Immunity for Many HOAs and Condos

On April 28, 2021 the South Carolina Governor signed into law a bill that creates some protection for many homeowners associations and condominium associations from potential coronavirus claims.  The bill (S147) creates broad immunity for health care facilities, government agencies, and legal entities, whether they are regular business entities or nonprofits, regardless of how they are organized (so nonprofit corporations, LLCs, etc.).  These are what the new law calls the “covered entities.”  The law also specifically creates protections for any director, officer, employee, agent, contractor, third‑party worker, or other representative of one of the covered entities.  These are considered to … Continue reading

Whether to Hold In-Person HOA or Condo Meetings in South Carolina

While prior Executive Orders contained clear requirements about how to address COVID-19, the most recent South Carolina Executive Orders leave much to the imagination.  For those familiar with South Carolina and its approach to legal issues, this might not be surprising. In South Carolina, the basic difference for gatherings currently is that, unlike prior Executive Orders that required face coverings and strictly limited gatherings in terms of number of participants, social distancing, and hygiene efforts, the current orders only encourage compliance with these guidelines.  That leaves the board of directors of any HOA / condo with the question of whether … Continue reading

To Open (or Not Open) HOA and Condo Pools in North and South Carolina

One of the most frequent questions we receive is whether it is “OK,” “allowed,” or “legal” for homeowners associations or condominiums to open their pool this spring. Every community is different and boards of directors will have to make the decision to open based on several factors, including the type of community, whether that community has the resources to comply with CDC and local guidelines, and whether it can comply with any state requirements that may apply. Each board of directors must make its decision based on its best business judgment after appropriate due diligence. Just because the state or the … Continue reading

Proposed Solar Bill in South Carolina May Affect Homeowners Associations

As the weather begins to warm and the sun shows its face a little longer each day, many homeowners start to consider the option of installing solar panels on their property to take advantage of those rays. With legislative changes in the past few years, South Carolina has become a more welcoming state for solar companies. As a result, many homeowners associations (both single family communities and townhomes) have started seeing more and more applications from homeowners to install some type of solar panel technology on their property. Up to now there has not been any sort of state law … Continue reading

Special Meetings in NC & SC Homeowners Associations and Condominiums

Community associations (homeowners associations and condominiums) hold several different types of membership meetings.  Most will hold an annual meeting at which typical agenda items are common:  reviewing or ratifying a budget, electing new members to the board of directors, and other regular business.  Sometimes the governing documents for the association will specify the exact date of the meeting and sometimes they will leave it to the discretion of the board of directors.  Another type of membership meeting that often occurs is a special meeting.  To call these meetings “special” is really just a way to distinguish them from regularly scheduled … Continue reading

Some South Carolina Courts Reopen—Sort Of

Like everyone else in South Carolina, I’ve kept an eye on the latest developments from the court system to see when things can return to normal.  On April 30th the Chief Justice for the South Carolina Supreme Court updated the previous March 18th Order relating to foreclosure cases.  Among other things, the new April 30th Order provides that “Master-in-Equity courts statewide shall resume foreclosure hearings, foreclosure sales, issuing writs of assistance and writs of ejectments, and proceed in any other manner regarding foreclosures beginning May 15, 2020.”  What that means for your homeowners association is that certain collections cases that … Continue reading

How South Carolina’s Reopenings May Affect Your Homeowners Association

Whether your community chooses to keep its common areas open or closed is a matter of discretion and all HOA / Condo boards in South Carolina must use their best business judgment to make that determination. Over the past two days South Carolina has reopened some retail establishments, beaches, and state parks.  Although the State has not seen a significant downward trend in coronavirus cases for 14 days (as the White House recommended) Governor McMaster was comfortable reopening, relying instead on professional opinions in South Carolina and the fact that people seem to be complying with social distancing.  A copy … Continue reading

HOAs, Condos, and the South Carolina Stay at Home Order

Effective April 7, 2020, at 5:00 pm, South Carolina will join most other states with statewide “stay at home” orders.  Governor Henry McMaster referred to the order as a “home or work” order that would require people to stay home if they are not at work or tending to essential needs.  A copy of the South Carolina Governor’s full order is here.  The order does not close more businesses than had previously been closed, but did create additional limits on how many customers can be inside a store at any given time.  According to his order, all stores must limit … Continue reading

The Case for Fining in South Carolina HOAs and Condominiums

My community association practice is split between North Carolina and South Carolina.  One of the primary differences between the law in these two states is the fact that North Carolina has a comprehensive HOA statute while South Carolina does not.  I’ve written more than once about the need for a comprehensive HOA statue in South Carolina.  While there are many nuances that make the laws in each state unique, one that I deal with frequently is the enforcement method for covenant violations.  Most covenants authorize “an action at law or in equity” as a method for the association to enforce … Continue reading

Should My Community Close Its Common Areas Due to COVID-19?

With everyone on high alert because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) we get a number of questions every day about how community associations (HOAs and condos) should react and what should be done.  One of the questions we’ve received a lot lately is whether the association should close its common areas.  The answer, as with most legal things, is “it depends.”  First, most community associations are nonprofit corporations and are obligated to do whatever any state or local government or health department has said should be done.  For a great discussion on general steps your community should take to deal with … Continue reading

Law Firm Carolinas Attorney Featured at South Carolina Community Association Institute Annual Law Day & Expo January 9, 2020 in Myrtle Beach

The annual Expo and Law Day of the South Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) will be held Thursday, January 9, 2020 in Myrtle Beach at the Sports Convention Center (2115 Farlow Street).  Attendees will include community association professionals and community leaders from across South Carolina. David Wilson with Law Firm Carolinas will be featured at 4:00 during a Q & A session to wrap up the educational sessions being offered.   The full schedule and registration information can be found at the 2020 SC CAI Expo and Law Day page.

It’s Time for a Comprehensive HOA Statute in South Carolina

With the recent decision in Winrose Homeowners’ Association, Inc. v. Hale the South Carolina Supreme Court proved that it is past time for a comprehensive HOA statute in South Carolina.  For more in-depth analysis of the Court’s decision, see our earlier article. Suffice it to say, throughout its decision the Court expressed discomfort with some practices that have grown up surrounding HOA foreclosures in this state.  But it is important to note what it did not say as well.  The Court did not say that HOAs could not foreclose.  In fact, it specifically stated that the HOA in this case … Continue reading

New Bill Introduced That Would Provide Disaster Relief To Homeowners Associations And Condominiums

At Law Firm Carolinas, P.A., we closely monitor pending legislation that could affect our HOA and condominium clients.  One federal bill that may impact many communities, especially those near the coast or in locations where storm damage is more likely, is the Disaster Assistance Equity Act.  This bill was just introduced as H.R. 5337 in the House and would extend disaster relief funds to community associations where that relief was not previously available.  H.R. 5337 appears to have bipartisan support, making it more likely to eventually be signed into law in some fashion. According to the Community Association Institute (“CAI”), … Continue reading

The Current State Of Solar Laws For Homeowners Associations In North Carolina – 2019 UPDATE

For years North Carolina has followed the national trend of promoting and encouraging green technology and cleaner and more efficient ways of producing energy.  For homeowners associations, the trend has been for state legislatures to create laws allowing installation of solar collectors, regardless of what the HOA may say.  Some states have required HOAs to allow installation under all circumstances, while other states have limited an HOA’s ability to deny an application to install a solar collector to certain specific instances.  For an overview of the current solar laws in North Carolina and how they impact your homeowners association, take … Continue reading

Recent South Carolina Solar Law and What it Means for Your HOA

A South Carolina solar bill that was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster in May this year might have impacts on your homeowners association by increasing the number of property owners looking to install some sort of solar technology on their property.  Since most HOAs have architectural approval procedures for changes to properties, that means that more and more solar applications are going to be submitted for approval. Solar panels, solar shingles, and other solar collectors are increasingly popular options in homeowners associations.  It is no secret that our country, our states, and our local governments are all looking … Continue reading

Recent HOA Case a Good Reminder in North Carolina & South Carolina

At Law Firm Carolinas we keep track of legal trends and recent case law that impacts our HOA and condo clients.  Although it is a case out of Virginia, the decision in Sainani v. Belmont Glen Homeowners Association, Inc. highlights three important themes that HOAs in North Carolina and South Carolina should be aware of:  (1) there is a difference between rules and regulations and restrictive covenants, (2) the specific wording in covenants matters, and (3) HOA and condo boards must create restrictions that are clear and unambiguous. First, there is a distinct difference between rules and regulations that govern … Continue reading

Special Assessments for Your Condo or HOA

I am often asked to help homeowners associations and condominiums figure out ways to make ends meet.  For those communities with cash flow problems it can be challenging.  Raising dues is never a popular option, but is often necessary.  The governing documents for most condominiums and homeowners associations allow the board of directors to unilaterally increase dues by some amount—usually between 10% and 15%—without a vote of the membership.  That makes sense because an association should be able to make regular increases to dues to keep up with the costs of the association, both the expected costs and the unforeseen … Continue reading

Top Declaration Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina & South Carolina – Part Three

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 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 community, you may want to think about … Continue reading

Top Declaration Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina & South Carolina – Part Two

(Blog co-authored by David Wilson & Harmony Taylor. This is a continuation of the earlier blog, “Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina or South Carolina.”) 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 will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend … Continue reading