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 simply 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 (11th … 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

HOA & Condo National Law Seminar and Other Programs

Several HOA/condo association learning opportunities are coming up that you may wish to attend, both in North Carolina as well as nationally. Details for each program can be found below. 2018 National Community Association Law Seminar The national Community Association Law Seminar is the premiere HOA and condo legal program held each year. The year’s Law Seminar, sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), is the 39th annual and will be held January 31-February 3 in Palm Springs, CA. The Law Seminar is mostly attended by attorneys, but it’s not just for … Continue reading

In the Robert’s Rule of Order, can a chair overrule a motion to call the previous question?

This question was asked elsewhere online, and my answer may be of interest to others– Unfortunately, without more facts the answer is likely “it depends.” If your adopted parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) (“RONR”), there are several competing considerations: (1) RONR § 47 (p. 449) provides that the presiding officer has an obligation “to state and to put all questions that legitimately come before the assembly as motions . . . .” (2) However, RONR § 47 (p. 450) provides that the presiding officer should “protect the assembly from obviously dilatory motions by refusing … Continue reading

Required E-mail Notice of Collection Proceedings?

Lawyers get asked about reported cases all the time, but usually what happens in a specific lawsuit isn’t that relevant to parties not involved in the case. That’s because circumstances are different, facts vary, associations are created at different times, it’s a condo instead of an HOA, etc.  That said, the decision in an appellate case can be instructive, and that’s certainly the case with a decision regarding collections this week from the NC Court of Appeals. In the case In re: Ackah a homeowners association foreclosed on a lot for nonpayment of assessments. The property was eventually sold to … Continue reading

How to Help after Hurricane Harvey

These blogs often focus on community association issues, whether hot topics, new appellate cases, or proposed federal or state laws. Today there’s a more pressing issue to address—the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Without question, what’s happened in Texas is also a community association and community association resident disaster. Texas is third among states (only behind Florida and California) in its number of community associations, with more than 19,900 HOA/condo associations and more than 4 million residents. Many of them now face dangerous conditions and uncertain futures. Everyone also likely knows someone who has been personally affected. Houston attorney Mark … Continue reading

Mediation and Arbitration Study for HOAs and Condos

Senate Bill 16 was vetoed by Governor Cooper on August 15, 2017, for reasons other than the proposal described below. The proposed study of a mediation and arbitration board by the Legislative Research Commission below is on hold until the legislature votes on whether or not to override the veto. The General Assembly met yesterday (August 3) to consider several issues remaining from the legislative session. Bills that would impact North Carolina’s homeowner and condominium associations weren’t really on the agenda, but one proposal was adopted that has a provision concerning community associations. Senate Bill 16: Business & Agency Reg. … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Wrap-Up – July 2017

The General Assembly adjourned its 2018 regular session this month, so questions have arisen about what happens to proposals that would have directly impacted North Carolina’s homeowner and condominium associations (see NC Community Association Legislative Update-June 22, 2017), but weren’t adopted. The clear answer: “It depends.” Although legislators left town, they haven’t really left for good. The adjournment resolution provided that special legislative sessions will be held in August, September, and again by November. While these sessions are intended to be focused on legislative redistricting and other major issues, the General Assembly can consider what it wishes. While it is unlikely … Continue reading

The Benefits of a Professional Verbatim Convention Reporter

Having served as parliamentarian to hundreds of conventions, I’ve worked with different types of court reporters who used different methods to provide verbatim transcripts of the proceedings. These included stenographic court reporters using audiotape, specialized court reporting machines or laptops. At times I’ve also seen voice writing court reporters using a stenomask as you might see at a trial. With no disrespect towards others, I want to give special recognition to convention reporters Jack and Dee Boenau (pronounced BAY-no) of AmeriCaption, Inc. Because we’re on the convention circuit together, Jack, Dee and I see each other at conventions ranging from 300 … Continue reading

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