NC Community Association Legislative Update – April 23, 2019

It must be spring in North Carolina—both flowers and legislative proposals that would impact HOAs and condos are springing up! For those of you who attended the NC-CAI Community Association Legal Workshop in Wilmington this past week, you heard my law partner Steve Black comment on several pending community-association bills. When I spoke at the NC-CAI Community Association Law Evening in Greenville the NEXT NIGHT, 3 more proposals had been filed! Now there are at least 12 legislative proposal that would impact North Carolina’s HOAs and condos. The increased filing is due to several legislative deadlines this month. Tuesday, April … Continue reading

Don’t Screw Up Your Architectural Committee and Approval Process

In a decision issued today (March 19, 2019), the North Carolina Court of Appeals examined the issue of proper architectural committees and their decisions. Makar vs. Mimosa Bay Homeowners Association is an “unpublished” opinion from the NC Court of Appeals. That means that the decision is not controlling legal authority and should not be cited in other cases. However, even unpublished opinions give a sense of the Court’s thinking as to specific issues and how subsequent courts may rule. In short, the decision in Makar follows other recent appellate decisions that associations should act properly, follow corporate formalities, and do … Continue reading

Committee of the Whole

“Committee of the Whole” is a type of committee described in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)(see RONR Section 52). While not commonly used, some large assemblies and legislative bodies follow the process. Without question, the procedure is an odd one. The normal presiding officer leaves the chair and a chairman of the committee is appointed. Members can speak in debate on the main question or amendment as often as they can get the floor. Only certain motions are in order. The committee is intended to adopt a report to be made to the assembly and then votes … Continue reading

Community Association Law Day 2019 – Charlotte, NC

Law Day is one of the NC Community Associations Institute’s most popular programs. Attendees include HOA/condo board members, community leaders, and community managers. Speakers include many of the best community association professionals in the state. Black, Slaughter & Black attorneys will be presenting on the following topics at the 2019 Community Association Law Day on Friday, March 22: Who’s Going to Fix My Property? HOA/Condo Maintenance, Repair & Casualty (Including Major Weather Events) – Jim Slaughter Assessment Collection Minefields – David Wilson & Adam Marshall How to Avoid Litigation in the First Place – Jim Slaughter (and Hope Carmichael) The … Continue reading

Does Your Board Meeting Need a Parliamentarian?

In large association membership meetings or conventions, it is common to find someone serving as parliamentarian (whether a member or outside credentialed professional). A question I’m often asked, though, is “Does our board meeting need a parliamentarians”? (For purposes of full disclosure, I’m an attorney, Certified Professional Parliamentarian, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, past President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers, and author of two books on meeting procedure.) A parliamentarian is simply an adviser to the presiding officer and other officers, committees and members on matters of meeting procedure. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but:  The president and board members … Continue reading

What an HOA “Transfer Fee” Is—And What It Is Not

The term “transfer fee” is used in North Carolina incorrectly all the time. Misuse is common even among professionals. Recently I’ve heard both real estate brokers and real estate attorneys refer to items as “transfer fees” that were not. Since there is a statute that regulates and can even prohibit improper transfer fees, it’s important to use the correct term. Let’s start with a bit of background. Since 2010 North Carolina state statute has defined a transfer fee as a “fee or charge payable upon the transfer of an interest in real property . . . regardless of whether the … Continue reading

Details on the 2019 National Community Association Law Seminar!

As past President of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), I try to provide details each year on the national Community Association Law Seminar. Without question, the Law Seminar is the premiere HOA and condo legal program held each year. This year’s Law Seminar is the 40th annual and will be held January 23-26, 2019, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, LA. While the Law Seminar is mostly attended by attorneys, it’s not limited to attorneys. Other participants include insurance professionals, community association managers, other industry leaders who wish to learn about HOA/condo law trends and practices. For … Continue reading

Short-Term Rentals: New Municipal Regulations & HOAs/Condos

The convenience and cost of Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway and other platforms have made short-term rentals (sometimes called “STRs” or “STVRs” for “short-term vacation rentals”) a booming business. Airbnb said earlier this year that it has over 640,000 hosts and 4 million listings! That said, short-term rentals can bring concerns. For one, too many rentals may change the nature of a community. Some traditional owner-occupied homeowner and condominium associations have found themselves awash in short-term renters. While there is nothing inherently negative about short-term renters, some communities have found that short-term rentals can lead to additional administrative costs, such as determining … Continue reading

Firm News/Update – Nov. 2018

Attorney Deployment Attorney William Sefcik, who is an Army First Lieutenant, has been deployed to Active Duty overseas in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Until he returns safely to our firm, please keep William and his family in your thoughts.   Theodora Vaporis Recognized as “Best Estate Planning Attorney” Congratulations to my law partner Theodora Vaporis, who was recognized this month by the News & Record as “Best Estate Planning Attorney” in Guilford‘s Best 2018! Theodora heads our firm’s Estates Department and helps with issues related to wills and trusts, including estate planning, powers of attorney, guardianship, estate administration/probate, and … Continue reading

Attend Community Association Law Day – Friday, October 19

Would you like to learn about North Carolina HOA and condominium law changes and trends? Then plan to attend the NC Community Association Law Day on Friday, October 19 in Raleigh! Law Day is always a popular program organized by the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. Attendees include planned community and condo board members, community leaders, and community managers. Speakers include many of the most experienced community association professionals in the state. Law Day Details The 2018 Community Association Law Day will be held on Friday, October 19. This year’s program will be in Raleigh at the … Continue reading

News: HOA Radio Program & Fact Book

HOA/Condo Radio Call-In Program Thursday, August 23 I’ll be a guest on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at noon on WHQR Public Radio in Wilmington for CoastLine: HOAs in the Cape Fear Region. The program, which begins at noon, will include call-in questions about “how to navigate the rules, including what to do when you have a grievance.” If you’re interested, the program can be heard on the radio (91.3), streaming, or by podcast. For more information, visit http://www.whqr.org/post/thursday-coastline-hoas-cape-fear-region (Follow-up: For anyone interested, the recorded program can be found at http://www.whqr.org/post/coastline-hoa-disputes-could-be-decreased-through-owner-education) 2017 Community Association Fact Book NOW LIVE The Foundation for … Continue reading

North Carolina HOA & Condo Association Insurance Requirements & Considerations

As North Carolina HOA/condo attorneys, we are regularly asked “What insurance policy should our association buy?” Our answer is always the same: “Talk to your insurance professional.” That’s because while an HOA/condo attorney can assist with what insurance is required by state law and the governing documents, an insurance professional can best advise on what policies are available for purchase, differences between coverage and carriers, and cost considerations. That said, as HOA/condo attorneys, we regularly advise on what types of insurance associations need to consider, their different purposes, and things to watch out for. WHAT TYPES OF INSURANCE SHOULD OUR … Continue reading

NC HOA/Condo Directors — Duties, Standards of Conduct, and Liability

Congratulations! You’ve just been elected to your HOA/condo association board of directors. Your new position shows your fellow members respect you and trust your judgment. By the way, did anyone describe your duties or mention that you could be financially responsible for actions? DIRECTOR DUTIES Almost without exception North Carolina community associations are incorporated nonprofit corporations. While that’s different than for-profit corporations (and governed by different statutes), the directors of both have similar duties. Directors of community association must: follow state laws pertaining to HOAs or condominiums enforce the association’s governing documents, including any declaration, articles of incorporation, and bylaws … Continue reading

HOAs & Condos: Follow Your Bylaws & Proper Parliamentary Procedure (PART 2)

A blog I wrote in 2016 (HOA’s: Follow Your Bylaws & Proper Parliamentary Procedure) examined two opinions from the NC Court of Appeals about HOA/condo board decisions. The short takeaway from those cases for associations? FOLLOW THE RULES. A new case from the Court of Appeals issued today (June 19, 2018) again examines the requirements of an association board to take lawful action. In Homestead at Mills River Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Hyder et al., a Henderson County association brought a lawsuit against a successor developer due to a fight over Common Area. The case is lengthy (40 pages!) … Continue reading

New Appellate Case: “Must Our Condo Association Buy Flood Insurance?”

What insurance must be purchased by an association can usually be determined by reading the governing documents and relevant NC statutes (and consulting an experienced community association insurance professional!).  The NC Condominium Act details what insurance must be purchased by a condominium association created on or after October 1, 1986 (other statutes provide for insurance requirements on older condos or planned communities). NCGS § 47C-3-113 states, among other things: Commencing not later than the time of the first conveyance of a unit to a person other than a declarant, the association shall maintain, to the extent available: (1) Property insurance … Continue reading

Proxies & Proxy Voting at Membership or Board Meetings

Proxies and Proxy Voting at Membership Meetings Our attorneys get lots of questions about proxies and proxy voting. And that’s understandable, as proxy issues at meetings can get very confusing. A proxy is similar to a power of attorney as could be used to open a bank account or sell a car for another person. If proxies are permitted at a meeting, the proxy can likely be given to any person or entity. That’s because the person carrying the proxy isn’t really who is at the meeting–the proxy giver is. FYI, most parliamentary books like Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised … Continue reading

Dispute Resolution Committee Comments

Last week I was invited to address the Legislative Research Commission’s Committee on Dispute Resolution Options for Homeowners, Associations and Governing Entities. The committee’s charge is to explore the “creation of a mediation or arbitration board” to handle community association disputes, and I was asked to share my thoughts. My comments to the Committee are below. FYI, almost all lawsuits filed in North Carolina’s District or Superior Courts are sent to either mediation or arbitration. And state law currently requires that community associations notify members each year of their right to request mediation. While I am an active proponent of … Continue reading

New Charlotte Address & Firm News

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 … Continue reading

2018 Law Seminar Follow-Up & Firm News

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 … Continue reading

New Mediation Program to Help Resolve North Carolina HOA/Condo Disputes

The North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (NC-CAI) has a new Community Association Mediation Program for resolving association disputes! Let me tell you about it. A common complaint heard in the community association world is that there should be some place that homeowners or HOAs and condos can go to resolve disputes. However, the governmental costs to create and administer such a program for North Carolina’s almost 15,000 associations would be enormous. (And for that matter, should state government be in the business of regulating disputes over private real estate contracts?) While huge fights may end up with … Continue reading