NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 22, 2017

I’m asked frequently about the status of  proposals filed this session in the General Assembly that, if adopted, would directly impact North Carolina HOAs and condominium associations. The “crossover deadline” (the date on which a bill must have cleared one chamber to move forward) has passed, which means this a good time to check in on various bills. (FYI, while the crossover deadline is a big deal, keep in mind the News & Observer’s warning several years ago: “[Legislative] rules are made to be circumvented, so there are many ways to keep legislation alive.”) UNDERSTAND THAT ALL OF THESE ARE PROPOSALS, … Continue reading

Do You Know Who Your Registered Agent Is?

North Carolina corporations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, must have a registered agent name filed with the NC Secretary of State. Planned communities (i.e., homeowner associations) created on or after January 1, 1999 by statute must be incorporated. And almost all homeowner and condominium associations in North Carolina ARE incorporated, regardless of when they were created. So an important question is, “Do you know who your registered agent is?” Finding Your Registered Agent The process of determining your current registered agent is fairly straightforward. Just visit the Secretary of State’s corporate search page and search for your corporate name (be careful, as different corporations often … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – Community Association Property Management Act

While most NC General Assembly bill filing deadlines have passed, legislation considered appropriations or finance can be filed through next week. A bill introduced yesterday would, if adopted, significantly impact North Carolina’s HOA/condo associations as well as community managers. House Bill 865: Community Association Property Management Act was filed April 20, 2017 by Rep. Jonathan Jordan (Ashe, Watauga), Rep. John Blust (Guilford), and Rep. Rodney Moore (Mecklenburg) and provides that: beginning October 1, 2017, all community association managers must have an NC real estate broker license association community managers would not be permitted to exercise control over (a) the reserves or investment … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – April 19, 2017

Several important legislative deadlines have passed in recent weeks. Tuesday, April 4 marked the NC Senate deadline for filing public bills and resolutions. Tuesday, April 11 marked the NC House deadline for filing public bills and resolutions (other than appropriations or finance bills). While there are a still a few ways for bills impacting HOAs or condos to be introduced in the General Assembly this session, now is an appropriate point to look at the filed bills that, if adopted, would directly impact North Carolina’s community associations. (1) Senate Bill 491/House Bill 625: HOA/Condo Crime & Fidelity Insurance Policies. Senate Bill 491: … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – Fidelity Coverage & Audits

While there are still several weeks for legislative proposals to be introduced in the General Assembly, one bill introduced yesterday (March 29) would directly impact North Carolina condominium and homeowner associations: Senate Bill 491: HOA/Condo Crime & Fidelity Insurance Policies filed by Sen. Norman Sanderson (Carteret, Craven, Pamlico). The bill’s purposes are to (1) require more financial transparency in community associations, and (2) help ensure associations recover monies in the event of financial wrongdoing by an association leader or community manager. In short, SB 491 takes a different approach than some prior proposals on how to address concerns about financial … Continue reading

HOA / Condo Budgets and Increased NC Sales Taxes

Benjamin Franklin said that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” As community association attorneys, we’re not CPAs. And every association has different circumstances. Having said that, it is almost certain that due to a shift in how North Carolina taxes certain services, association budgets will need to be increased. North Carolina has traditionally relied heavily upon income taxes as a revenue stream. Without getting into any pro or con political discussions, the NC General Assembly over the past several years has begun shifting to a model of lower personal and corporate income … Continue reading

2017 National Community Association Law Seminar

The national Community Association Law Seminar is by far the best HOA or condo legal program I attend each year. The year’s Law Seminar, sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), is the 38th annual and will be held January 18-21 in Las Vegas, NV. While the Law Seminar provides about 13-20 hours of CLE and is mostly attended by attorneys, it’s not only for attorneys. Attendees include community association managers, bankers, other industry professionals and even homeowners who want to learn about HOA/condo law changes and trends. For insurance professionals who work … Continue reading

NC-CAI Chapter 2016 Year-End Update

New Year’s Day begins a new CAI-NC Chapter year. As this is my last Chapter update, I’d like to look back at some of our Chapter’s 2016 accomplishments and look forward to upcoming changes in 2017. The Chapter has accomplished much this year, including: a redesigned annual sponsor program with new benefits and greater value one of our largest and most successful Annual Conferences ever two Chapter Achievement and Excellence Awards from national CAI (a record!) a successful 7th Annual Community Law Day for homeowners and community managers a CAI-NC Golf Tournament to help fund the work of the Legislative … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – December 15, 2016

Well, this is a first—I’ve never done a community association legislative update just before Christmas. After all, the General Assembly doesn’t meet in December. But what’s been normal about politics in 2016? Earlier this week the General Assembly convened for a special legislative session to deal with issues related to hurricane disaster relief. At the end of that session, legislators issued a proclamation convening a new special session to deal with other unnamed issues. A number of bills have been filed, ith many dealing with restructuring aspects of state government following the recent elections. However, at least one proposal has … Continue reading

HOA’s: Follow Your Bylaws & Proper Parliamentary Procedure

We are regularly asked by association clients if it really matters how precisely meeting rules are followed. “Can’t we just vote on this proposal by e-mail?” “What’s the consequence if the meeting notice is not exactly right?” Without exception, our advice is always: FOLLOW THE RULES. As an example of “what can happen?” comes the North Carolina appellate case of Willomere Community Association, Inc. and Nottingham Owners Association, Inc. v. City of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc. (November 1, 2016). The moral of the story is that procedural rules for meetings and voting when making decisions should be followed very … Continue reading

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

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

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 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