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

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