Yes, You Can Hold a Productive North Carolina Annual HOA/Condo Meeting During a Pandemic

In these first few weeks of 2021, we’ve heard from a number of associations who never got around to holding their 2020 annual membership meeting. That’s understandable given how difficult 2020 was. COVID-19 made large in-person gatherings extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. Various state Executive Orders have at times restricted attendance at meetings from only 25 to fewer. (10 is currently the number of members who can be present at an indoor association meeting.) As a result, many associations decided to wait to hold the annual meeting until things improved. But here we are, one year after the first US … Continue reading

We Are Here to Help! Ask Our HOA/Condo Attorneys for Help in the New Year!

Finally it is a new year!  2020 is over, and hopefully brighter days are ahead for you, your families, and your communities.  Whether it was a product of a struggling economy or a certain hesitancy to ask an attorney for help and guidance, in the last year our firm saw a surprising number of requests to finalize an amendment recording when we had not been involved in the underlying discussion regarding whether or not an amendment should be pursued in the first place or the actual amendment language itself.  This is concerning for several reasons.  First, without being involved in … Continue reading

New NC Executive Order Extends Ability to Hold Electronic Membership Meetings

As one of the last Executive Orders issued in 2020, Governor Cooper has extended the ability of North Carolina associations (including HOAs and condos) to hold virtual membership meetings. How Did We Get Here? Current COVID restrictions limit NC indoor meetings to 10 and outdoor meetings to 25 “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space.” These limits must be considered when planning any in-person association membership or board meeting. Prior to the pandemic, associations boards could meet virtually, but not association membership meetings. However, on April 24, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order #136, which … Continue reading

The Cloudy Future: What New Statutory Trends Concerning Marijuana Means for Associations

In a historic first, the United States House of Representatives voted on legislation this year that, if passed by the Senate, would de-schedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was originally introduced by House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler last fall and passed the Committee by a vote of 24-10 in November. On December 4, 2020, the House passed the MORE Act—the bill passed by a vote of 228 to 164.If enacted into law, the MORE ACT would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level, expunge federal marijuana convictions and arrests, and, most importantly for … Continue reading

National HOA/Condo Law Seminar to Be Virtual in 2021!

As a past President of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), I try each year to provide details on CAI’s Community Association Law Seminar. The Law Seminar is the premiere HOA and condo legal program held each year. This year’s Law Seminar is the 42nd annual and will be held January 25-29, 2021 through an online format. Like so many things these days, the Law Seminar will be different due to the pandemic. But in some ways the virtual format will be more convenient and flexible. The program will be held several hours each day (rather than three very … 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

HOA & Condo Holiday and Seasonal Decorations: How to Regulate Without Being a Scrooge!

It is that time of year again. The time when families (especially this year) need a little festive spirit in their lives. As such, many homeowners begin to decorate their homes for the holidays. These decorations can range from a wreath on the door to a Griswold style light show with a ten foot tall inflatable Santa in the front yard. Yikes! Needless to say our firm gets many questions about regulation of holiday and seasonal decorations, especially during the fall and winter months. Can the Association Regulate Exterior Holiday and Seasonal Decorations? As with most homeowner and condominium association questions, the … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Indoor Gathering Limit Reduced

Governor Roy Cooper announced earlier today (November 10, 2020) that Phase 3 coronavirus restrictions will remain in place for the time being. However, due to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and the upcoming holidays, the attendance cap on indoor gatherings is being lowered. As a result, the new restrictions will limit indoor meeting attendance to 10 (reduced from 25) “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. The … 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

COVID-19 Update: What Phase 3 Means for NC HOAs and Condos

It’s been awhile coming. Today, September 30, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina will move to “Phase 3” with regards to coronavirus restrictions this Friday, October 2 at 5 pm. Some restrictions will remain in place, but others have been loosened. Executive Order #169 covers a host of businesses and activities, but here are some highlights for North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations: General Recommendations. Those at risk of severe illness from COVI-19 (individuals 65 years or older or those with serious underlying medical conditions) are encouraged to stay home. Restrictions on gatherings. Executive Order #169 maintains … Continue reading

Flags and Political Signs in North Carolina HOAs

With the nation preparing for elections in November, community associations are finding themselves in the crosshairs of a debate over when and how free speech may be exercised by residents in their communities. Impassioned residents want to express their opinions through signs, flags, bumper stickers, t-shirts and even sidewalk chalk decorations, and they may run up against restrictions in their governing documents or local ordinances. After fielding countless questions about this, I put together this blog to provide some general guidance for residents, boards and their members on this issue with a focus on politically focused signs and flags. Let’s … Continue reading

Rezoning Your Property and Other Land Use Changes: Things to Consider

We often believe that as the owners of property that we can use our land however we desire.  As we understand in the HOA and condominium world; that is not the case when there are restrictive covenants and declarations filed that regulate the use of an owner’s property.  But what if you do not own property that is subject to these types of restrictions?  Can you then use your land however you see fit?  The answer to those questions is most likely, no.  Local municipalities have land use ordinances and regulations in place that dictate a designated “use” that is … Continue reading

Political Signs in HOAs and Condos – 2020 Review

This Saturday, September 19, 2020 is 45 days before the 2020 state and national elections. Why does that matter? Because North Carolina’s complicated statutes regulating political signs in homeowner and condominium associations make “45 days before the day of the election” an important trigger for what can and can’t be done with political signs. Prior to 45 days before the election, so long as the association has the correct wording in the governing documents, a community association can altogether prohibit political signs. (A “political sign” per the statute is a sign that attempts to influence the outcome of an election, … Continue reading

Reopening Gyms and Fitness Centers in North Carolina’s Phase 2.5: Three Steps to Consider

North Carolina’s “Phase 2.5” allows gyms, fitness centers, and exercise facilities to reopen their doors, so long as they comply with the requirements of North Carolina Executive Order #163. The order’s broad language in defining fitness facilities means that this reopening applies to homeowners associations and condominiums just as much as any other gym or center. This guide is no substitute for reading through the executive order and following the rules it puts in place. However, this guide may be helpful in figuring out what to do and where to start. FIGURE OUT YOUR EMERGENCY MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY. The first step … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: What the New Phase 2.5 Means for NC HOAs and Condos

While not yet Phase 3, NC Governor Roy Cooper has announced that this Friday, September 4 at 5 pm the State will move to “Phase 2.5” with regards to coronavirus restrictions. Some restrictions will remain in place, but others have been loosened. Executive Order #163 covers a host of businesses and activities, but here are some highlights for North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations: Restrictions on gatherings have been loosened. Executive Order #141 issued on May 20 limited indoor gatherings to ten (10) people and outdoor gatherings to twenty-five (25) people. Executive Order #163 increases these numbers to 25 people … 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

Community Association Fact Book 2019 Now Online

The yearly Community Association Fact Book from The Foundation for Community Association Research is always a wealth of information. For anyone who works in, writes about, or just is interested in homeowner or condominium associations, the research is indispensable. (The official purpose of the Fact Book is to provide “research-based information to all community association stakeholders–homeowners, board members, management professionals as well as attorneys, accountants, developers, mortgage lenders, federal agencies, public officials and others–all who work with the Foundation and CAI to build better communities.”) The 2019 Fact Book, meaning the research collected last year, is free and online. Both … Continue reading

New Appellate Case May Impact Townhome Exterior Repairs

Today (August 4, 2020), the NC Court of Appeals issued an opinion that could impact townhome exterior repairs. The case is Shearon Farms Townhome Owners Ass’n II, Inc. v. Shearon Farms Dev., LLC. Shearon is a “published” case, which means the holding is binding on other parties with similar facts. Complex appellate cases are difficult to summarize. Facts matter. Different circumstances can lead to different results. That said, here’s the short version of this 19 page decision: Several townhome owners reported to the association that the exterior siding on their townhomes was severely damaged, as if it had melted. The … Continue reading

How to Hold a North Carolina HOA or Condo Virtual Membership Meeting

Normally (not during a pandemic), virtual membership meetings of homeowner and condominium associations are not permitted. As noted in this Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings article, members usually have two options for making decisions outside of meetings: (1) “action by written (unanimous) consent” and (2) “action by written ballot.” In addition, for declaration amendments the NC Planned Community Act and Condominium Act allow adoption by “written agreement” from members, which is a different no-meeting process. But recognize that none of these count as a “meeting.” They are all methods of making decisions without a meeting. So, if you want … Continue reading