Nomination Procedures for Elections

If you are administering an election for your group or association, then you may have questions about how the nomination process works. Do you need to use an election committee? What are nominations from the floor? What about other methods of doing nominations? Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. There are six different methods: (1) nominations by the chair, (2) nominations from the floor, (3) nominations by a committee, (4) nominations by ballot, (5) nominations by mail, and (6) nominations by petition.  Nominations by the Chair is when the Chair selects candidate(s) for a position.  Typically, this method is not … Continue reading

There Is No “Meeting by Ballot” Under New NC Law

Our firm’s attorneys have seen several recent association mailings entitled something to the effect of “Meeting by Ballot” or “Annual Meeting by Ballot.” It appears there is a belief among some that the recent adoption of House Bill 320 (“Modernize Remote Business Access”) created a new method of members meeting through a written instrument. It did not. As discussed in the recent post Does New Law Mean Associations Don’t Have to Hold Annual Meetings?, North Carolina has two main methods for association members to make decisions: A membership meeting, which can be held in person or under the new statute … Continue reading

How to Run an Effective Online Meeting

With the passage of HB 320 (see Jim Slaughter’s article:  Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations) we are seeing more communities opting to conduct electronic membership meetings to encourage greater participation and community interest in these meetings. Our attorneys collectively—and particularly our two Certified Professional Parliamentarians, Jim Slaughter and Michael Taliercio—have participated in more virtual meetings than anyone, and we find that having good meeting rules in place before the meeting takes place is key to a successful outcome. Although it usually is not necessary to tailor rules for each individual meeting an … Continue reading

Does New Law Mean Associations Don’t Have to Hold Annual Meetings?

Since HB 320 passed (see Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations), we’ve had questions to the effect of “Do we have to hold annual member meetings anymore?” The thinking seems to be that because the new law allows decisions by “written ballots or electronic voting” that you could use those methods and forego the annual meeting. That is, a written or electronic ballot could be sent out for everything that needs to be handled at the annual meeting and then have no meeting at all.   Anyone who suggests that the new law … Continue reading

NC Governor Signs Bill Allowing Remote Member Meetings

As a follow-up to last week’s Community Association Legislative Update (Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations), Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 320 (“Modernize Remote Business Access”) yesterday, September 20. The law takes effect effect immediately. NC homeowner and condominium associations (as well as other nonprofit associations) can now choose to hold virtual member meetings or make decisions without a meeting through written or electronic balloting or electronic voting, so long as certain requirements are met. The new law applies to any member meetings noticed as of today. In addition, remote member meetings noticed and held … Continue reading

Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations

NC Community Association Legislative Update – September 15, 2021 Community association (HOA and condo) boards have long been permitted to meet virtually by phone or videoconference, but the ability to hold membership meetings electronically ended with the expiration of the Governor’s Executive Order this spring. Since that time, while members can certainly meet virtually as an informal “town hall” and then vote afterwards by written ballot, it has not been possible to hold virtual membership meetings. And even under the Governor’s prior Executive Order, members could not vote during virtual meetings. That’s all changing with the adoption today of legislation … Continue reading

Throwing Shade—North Carolina / South Carolina Homeowner Right to Sunlight

Once upon a time there was a homeowner with a mountain cottage with a great view.  The homeowner lived for years on this quiet property with a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains.  Suddenly, a neighbor showed up and began building next door.  As part of construction, it became obvious that part of the new neighbor’s home would block the view of the first homeowner.  Although the first homeowner may not be happy about it, without some sort of guarantee that his view will remain unchanged, the first homeowner probably has no way to prevent the construction.  To avoid this … Continue reading

Guilford County Mask Mandate-Effective August 13, 2021

As a result of the latest COVID-19 surge and the more contagious Delta variant, Guilford County has issued a mask mandate that becomes effective today, August 13, 2021, at 5:00 P.M.   The mandate will remain in effect until the earlier of: 1) expiration or termination of the Proclamation of a Local Emergency, 2) January 8, 2022 at 5:00 P.M., or 3) modification or revocation by the Guilford County Board of Health. The mandate states: 1:  Individuals must wear Face Coverings when indoors in all businesses, establishments, and public places. 2:  All businesses, establishments, and public places must require that all … Continue reading

Changes to Special Assessment Language in North Carolina Realtor Standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract”

As discussed in previous blogs (see What’s Special about Special Assessments?), HOA/condo special assessments are referenced in the North Carolina standard Offer to Purchase and Contract form. By way of background, the NC Bar Association and NC Association of Realtors® have “Joint Forms” used in residential real estate closings. The standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract” (Standard Form 2-T) is used in most any closing involving a Realtor®. Effective July 1, 2021, there are various changes to the Standard Offer to Purchase and Contract, including the following language regarding special assessments: In Paragraph 1(n), the distinctions between a “proposed” and … Continue reading

Avoiding Legal Landmines: Advice for HOA/Condo Board Members & Managers

Earlier this week, I presented at the CAI-NC 2021 Annual Conference on how associations, board members and managers can “Avoid Legal Land Mines.” I won’t repeat the presentation here, as the entire program can be found at the CAI-NC website. However, here are tips to help keep your association out of court. Our firm does a huge HOA/condo practice in five different offices. As a result, we regularly see every kind of dispute between owners and associations. Not all will end up in court. After all, a violation over a garbage can being left out is likely not worth litigating. … Continue reading

Safeguarding HOA/Condominium Association Money: Investment considerations and pitfalls

We are often asked by our association clients whether they should invest assessment or reserve funds into the stock market, bonds, money market accounts, CDs, etc.  Let me start by stating that I am neither a financial planner nor an accountant, so my take on investment of association funds will center on the Board’s duties to the association and the underlying principal of why associations collect assessments in the first place. First, in North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations are non-profit corporations. They are set up for specific purposes as outlined in the governing documents, which may include maintenance of … Continue reading

Valuable New Resource on Drafting Community Association Governing Documents

The Community Associations Institute has many valuable resources for anyone who assists community associations. While these materials are often of most interest to professional community managers and HOA/condo owners, there are also many excellent publications for attorneys. A recent digital book, Guiding Principles for Community Association Governing Documents: A Resource for Lawyers, will be of interest to anyone who has to draft original association documents or amendments to those documents. This is no little brochure, but has excellent, detailed advice for getting the wording of documents right. The Task Force that compiled the recommendations was appointed by the College of … Continue reading

Should HOA or Condo Bylaws Be Recorded?

We were recently asked whether bylaws amendments should be filed with the local Register of Deeds. The answer, like many things community association related, depends. Condo bylaws in North Carolina are almost always filed with the Register of Deeds, but not HOA bylaws. The difference is due to initial bylaws for condos being recorded with the declaration, and then amendments need to show up in the public record. If HOA bylaws are filed (but should not be), amendments also need to be unless a later amendment makes clear (as we have sometimes done for associations) that subsequent amendments will not … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Williams v Reardon (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act – Part 2)

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has once again determined that restrictive covenants are largely extinguished by operation of the Real Property Marketable Title Act (N.C. Gen. Stat. 47B-1 et seq.) if not included in the chain of title in the preceding thirty years. The decision can be found at C.E. Williams, III et al v. Reardon et al. (Unpublished). Our blog on last month’s Marketable Title Act decision can be found at New NC Appellate Case: C Investments 2, LLC v Auger (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act). This decision leaves one additional case pending for decision in … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Belmont Association, Inc. v. Farwig (Solar Panels/ARC)

Today, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the NC Court of Appeals issued its decision in Belmont Association, Inc. v. Farwig (the first appellate review of North Carolina’s solar law!). The decision may impact the installation of solar panels in planned communities, and is a “published” decision. That means the decision is controlling legal authority and can be cited in other cases. When N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-20 (“Deed Restrictions and Other Agreements Prohibiting Solar Collectors”) became law in North Carolina in 2007, it changed the way homeowners associations handle architectural requests. Prior to this statute, an HOA could simply follow the … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: C Investments 2, LLC v Auger (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act)

Today, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the NC Court of Appeals issued its decision in C Investments 2, LLC v Auger. The decision may impact restrictions in planned communities based on the Marketable Title Act, and is a “published” decision. That means the decision is controlling legal authority and can be cited in other cases. The Marketable Title Act To understand the decision, you need to understand what the NC Real Property Marketable Title Act (“MTA”) is and why it is important. Prior to 1973, anyone buying real estate who wanted to know what restrictions applied to that property had to go back, … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Executive Office Park of Durham Association, Inc. v Rock (Older Condo Collections)

Today, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the NC Court of Appeals issued its decision in Executive Office Park of Durham Association, Inc. v. Rock.  The decision may impact collections in older condominiums, and is a “published” decision. That means the decision is controlling legal authority and can be cited in other cases. In this case, an older condominium association (meaning the association was not fully subject to the NC Condominium Act) was attempting to collect disputed and unpaid assessments, fines, interest, and fees from an owner of several units within the condominium.  The association followed the collections provisions of the NC Condominium … Continue reading

What Is a Majority Vote?

Like many things association related, the answer can vary by state and by association. That’s because some state statutes or governing documents define majority differently (“a majority of the entire membership” or “a majority of members present”). But if you’re just talking about “majority,” then under Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition) that is “more than half” (NOT “half plus one” or some other language that can give you the wrong number). When used without qualification, a majority vote means “more than half of the votes cast by persons entitled to vote, excluding blanks or abstentions, at a regular or … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – May 14, 2021

Like everything else during this past year of COVID, the legislative process has also been different. Usually by now in the first year of a new session of the General Assembly, a number of bills that could affect North Carolina HOAs and condominiums would have been introduced. Some would move forward, and some not. In contrast, this have been a fairly quiet year for community association proposals. Almost certainly that’s because of the focus and attention on economic and health issues. That said, there are a few proposed bills that, if adopted, would impact community associations. Yesterday, May 13, 2021 … Continue reading

What Can Our Homeowners Association Do about Criminal Activity?

After almost twenty years of representing homeowners associations and condominium associations, it continues to surprise me when homeowners look to their association to investigate or even punish for criminal activity that occurs in the community. Our association clients get calls from homeowners insisting that the association take action to prevent car break-ins, vandalism, loitering in public areas, theft, speeding, reckless driving and even marital fights. Just recently we had the membership of an association very upset with the board of director’s lack of action when one homeowner fired four bullets at another homeowner (thankfully missing each time). In most cases … Continue reading