Q&A on Holding In-Person Association Member Meetings

Now that North Carolina allows larger in-person gatherings (see NC Easing Covid Restrictions), many of our homeowner and condominium associations are wondering if it is time to restart in-person membership meetings. Here are questions and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about meetings that we’ve received. Can HOA/condo associations begin holding in-person membership meetings again? Perhaps. There are two aspects to the question: (1) CAN the association membership meeting be held in person?, and (2) SHOULD the association membership meeting be held in person? As with other state Executive Orders, the question of whether members can gather … Continue reading

Update on Emergency Authorization of Remote Notarizations

The saga continues in this third entry of the three-part series (so far) on North Carolina’s authorization of emergency video notarizations during the pandemic.  As of March 12, 2021, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 196 into law, which allows video notarization to continue through December 31, 2021.   The Bill acts to amend the previous authorization which expired on March 1, 2021, and appears to have retroactive effect to save any brave soul who continued remote notarizations after the Bill’s expiration date. At this time, there is still no indication that permanent authorization of remote notarizations is in the works … Continue reading

Governor Extends Order Allowing Virtual Membership Meetings

Community association leaders and managers have been asking if the Governor would extend the ability to hold electronic membership meetings beyond March 1. The answer as of today is “yes.” On December 31, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order #185 entitled Extending Prior Executive Orders on Remote Shareholder and Nonprofit Meetings During the COVID-10 State of Emergency. EO #185 extended earlier orders allowing for nonprofit membership meetings to meet virtually so long as certain conditions are met. However, Executive Order #185 had a expiration date of this coming Monday, March 1. A separate Executive Order #195 was issued this past … Continue reading

Remote Notarizations to Sunset on March 1

As the sunset date approaches for remote notarizations under the temporary emergency authorization, it is now apparent that the legislature will not agree on a bill authorizing a further extension before the expiration. Therefore, we will revert to the notarial requirement of “close physical proximity” on March 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.   Folks in the know believe that there is legislative support for either an extension of the emergency statute or its permanent authorization and codification. However, other non-related budget aspects of the bill are causing a delay (insert your cynical political comment here).  Additionally, it is speculated that when … Continue reading

NC Executive Order Increases Attendance at Association Meetings

The Governor’s latest Executive Order, EO No. 195 issued this week, really isn’t about nonprofit corporations or homeowner and condominium associations. The Executive Order is instead aimed at easing COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, including restaurants and bars. However, there is one section that may be of interest to North Carolina HOAs and condos. For many months now, North Carolina’s pandemic gathering restrictions have limited indoor meeting attendance to 10 and outdoor meeting attendance to 25 “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space.” Executive Order #195 increases these in-person attendance caps to 25 for indoor meetings … 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

Does a Virtual Membership Meeting Keep Minutes?

We’ve recently been asked if there should be minutes of a North Carolina association membership meeting held virtually pursuant to the Governor‘s temporary Executive Order. The short and best answer is “yes.” Why? Most all North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations are incorporated nonprofits. The NC Nonprofit Corporation Act provides that “minutes of all membership meetings” are one of the records a nonprofit corporation “shall keep.” Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition), the default statutory parliamentary authority for NC community associations, also provides that minutes should be kept of an annual meeting. The temporary Executive Order that allows … Continue reading

Differences Between Virtual and In-Person Large Annual Meetings or Conventions

[NOTE: This article follows-up Lessons Learned from Large Virtual Conventions, Representative Assemblies, and House of Delegate Meetings, which examined the practical and procedural aspects of large online meetings.] At this point, the genie of virtual meetings is out of the bottle. And likely not to go back in. While it was inevitable that electronic meetings would become more commonplace, the pandemic has instantly made everyone fairly expert at Zoom, GotoMeeting, Microsoft Teams, and other virtual platforms. There is clear benefit to online collaboration, particularly with smaller meetings. Boards of 10 to 25 (or possibly more) can sometimes meet online much … Continue reading

Order Extend Protections for Tenants; Reaffirms Requirements for Landlords

In late December 2020, both President Trump and North Carolina Governor Cooper extended existing Orders providing protections to individuals at risk of eviction through January 31, 2021. As a result, eviction of some residential tenants for nonpayment of rent may continue to be halted during this time period. However, protection from eviction is not automatic and relates only to situations involving nonpayment of rent. In order to receive relief from eviction, a tenant at risk for eviction for failure to pay rent must submit a Declaration under penalty of perjury that the tenant meets certain requirements. The Declaration must state … Continue reading

The Expiring Family First Coronavirus Response Act

One of the many unanticipated issues employers have been required to familiarize themselves with and address throughout the pandemic is the quickly passed Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”). In particular, the Act requires most employers (i.e., those with fewer than 500 employees and even those not otherwise subject to the Family Medical Leave Act) to provide paid leave to employees for specific work absences related to COVID-19 and to provide notice to their employees of their rights under the Act. By its terms, the Act is set to expire December 31, 2020. With the new stimulus … Continue reading

Coronavirus (COVID-19) HOA & Condo Blog Articles

Since February of this year, we have posted a number of articles on how community associations should respond to the coronavirus crisis as well as changes in HOA/condo practices that may need to be considered. For ease of finding, these articles are linked below: The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings – 2/26/20 Coronavirus: What Should Homeowner and Condominium Associations Do? – 3/1/2020 “Let’s Have Our Meeting or Convention Online!” – 3/14/2020 How to Hold Your North Carolina HOA/Condo Hearing in a Pandemic – 3/24/2020 Should My Community Close Its Common Areas Due to COVID-19? – 3/25/2020 What to Do … Continue reading

Lessons Learned from Large Virtual Conventions, Representative Assemblies, and House of Delegate Meetings

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual meetings such as Zoom and GoToMeetings have been invaluable for allowing people to interact face-to-face online. However, as helpful as virtual meetings can be for smaller groups, large gatherings of hundreds or more pose different problems. That’s particularly the case for very large conventions, representative assemblies, houses of delegates, and governing councils. Such meetings are more complicated when held online because of the number of delegates and usual types of business (credentials, rules, bylaws amendments, large budgets, legislative programs, resolutions, numerous new business items). In addition, such meetings typically see more motions (amend, refer, close … Continue reading

New NC Executive Order Extends Virtual Membership Meetings Through December 29

Membership meetings of North Carolina nonprofit corporations, including homeowner and condominium associations, can continue to be held virtually/electronically for at least the next 60 days. Since September 1, North Carolina’s Phase 2.5 (now 3.0) restrictions have limited indoor meeting attendance to 25 and outdoor attendance to 50 “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or meeting hall.” Such requirements should be taken into account when planning any association in-person membership or board meeting. Executive Order #136 issued by the Governor on April 24, 2020, allowed for nonprofit membership meetings … Continue reading

NC Executive Order Again Extends Electronic Membership Meetings

Membership meetings of North Carolina nonprofits, including homeowner and condominium associations, can continue to be held virtually/electronically for at least the next 60 days. Since May 20, North Carolina Phase 2 restrictions have limited indoor meeting attendance to 10 and outdoor attendance to 25, which makes it rather hard to hold an in-person association membership meeting. (It can be done, it just requires certain physical arrangements, numerous proxies, or both.) Executive Order #136 issued by the Governor on April 24, 2020, allowed for nonprofit membership meetings to be held virtually under certain conditions. That Executive Order expired on June 23, … Continue reading

New Robert’s Rules of Order

The latest Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised has been released! For organizations that follow Robert’s Rules of Order, most tend to use the newest edition. That’s because either a state or federal law or the governing documents refer not to a specific numbered edition, but to the latest edition. For instance, two North Carolina state statutes (NCGS § 47F-3-108 & 47C-3-108) provide that as to homeowner and condominium associations, “meetings of the association and the executive board shall be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.”  Identical language can be found … Continue reading

New Firm Name & Partners

New Firm Name The law firm of Black, Slaughter & Black, PA will now be doing business as Law Firm Carolinas. The firm, which practices in North and South Carolina, has four offices: Greensboro, Charlotte, Triangle (Garner) and Coastal (Wilmington). New Partners In addition, three attorneys have been named partners in the firm: Jennifer Ruby, who does general civil litigation, business litigation and appeals. Ruby is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006) and Elon University School of Law (2010) and is based in the Greensboro office. Michael Taliercio, who manages the firm’s HOA/condo assessment … Continue reading

Notices Required by Employers in the Era of COVID-19

Employers have long been required, in accordance with various federal and state laws and regulations, to provide notices to their employees concerning their rights.  Thanks to COVID-19, most North Carolina employers can add to that list.  In particular, employers should be aware of the following additional notices obligations: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) provides employees of covered employers with paid sick and other leave related to COVID-19.  Employers are required to post notices to employees, which posters can be downloaded for free at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic. Pursuant to newly enacted, emergency rule 04 NCAC 24G .0102, employers must, at the … Continue reading

“Let’s Have Our Meeting or Convention Online!”

Due to the Coronavirus, in the last several weeks we have received a lifetime’s worth of questions about moving in-person business meetings and conventions to some type of electronic format. Our firm’s two Professional Registered Parliamentarian attorneys have assisted many clients in doing just that—board meetings, annual meetings, houses of delegates, etc. However, before jumping online there are considerations that should be addressed. Is an Electronic Meeting or Electronic Voting Allowed? There are two main online approaches to conducting business: (1) an electronic meeting and (2) electronic voting. An electronic meeting attempts to mirror an in-person meeting to some extent—members … Continue reading

The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Nonprofit Association Meetings

This is one of three articles on dealing with the Coronavirus and its impact. This blog looks at how association boards and members transact business outside of in-person meetings. See also Coronavirus: What Should Homeowner and Condominium Associations Do? and “Let’s Have Our Meeting or Convention Online!” As of today (February 27, 2020), estimates are that the Novel Coronavirus has infected 80,000 people worldwide, and killed 3,000. Flu statistics are even more shocking, with about 26 million Americans infected and 14,000 U.S. deaths. While I hope these crises will soon go away, we have been asked what to do if … Continue reading

Annual Reports Due April 15, 2020

It’s that time of year again when most entities, with only a few exceptions (such as non-profits), that conduct business within the State of North Carolina are required to file an Annual Report with the North Carolina Secretary of State.  More specifically, entities will be required to both submit their Annual Report and to pay the accompanying fee by April 15, 2020. Annual Reports can be filed quickly and easily through the North Carolina Secretary of State’s user-friendly website (https://www.sosnc.gov/divisions/business_registration).  Although it may be tempting to click through the screens to quickly complete and submit the filing, business officers and … Continue reading