New Firm Facebook Page

Black, Slaughter & Black has a new Facebook page where you can keep up with firm activities, read recent blogs, and find out where attorneys are speaking (and includes a photo from this morning’s Piedmont Education Breakfast where Steve Black spoke on Declaration Amendments: Pandora’s Box)? The new page can be found at www.facebook.com/BlackSlaughterBlack. We ask that you follow it, like it, and share it!

Maintenance, Repair and Replacement in HOAs & Condos (Including Hurricane and Casualty)

Prior to Hurricane Dorian our firm again sent out emergency contact information (emails and cell phone numbers) for all our community association attorneys. The thought behind doing this before significant storms is that in the event of HOA or condo damage, immediate advice may be needed on who is responsible for making and/or paying for necessary repairs. (And, yes, we have gotten calls in the middle of the night about water pouring into a unit or a tree through the roof.) Even in quiet times, issues related to maintenance, repair and replacement are some of the more difficult ones we … Continue reading

Recent South Carolina Solar Law and What it Means for Your HOA

A South Carolina solar bill that was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster in May this year might have impacts on your homeowners association by increasing the number of property owners looking to install some sort of solar technology on their property.  Since most HOAs have architectural approval procedures for changes to properties, that means that more and more solar applications are going to be submitted for approval. Solar panels, solar shingles, and other solar collectors are increasingly popular options in homeowners associations.  It is no secret that our country, our states, and our local governments are all looking … Continue reading

Recent HOA Case a Good Reminder in North Carolina & South Carolina

At Black, Slaughter & Black we keep track of legal trends and recent case law that impacts our HOA and condo clients.  Although it is a case out of Virginia, the decision in Sainani v. Belmont Glen Homeowners Association, Inc. highlights three important themes that HOAs in North Carolina and South Carolina should be aware of:  (1) there is a difference between rules and regulations and restrictive covenants, (2) the specific wording in covenants matters, and (3) HOA and condo boards must create restrictions that are clear and unambiguous. First, there is a distinct difference between rules and regulations that … Continue reading

FHA Issues New Condominium Approval Rules

Yesterday, August 14, 2019, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued significant policy revisions to its condominium approval process. In addition to changes to the condominium project approval policy, the new policy provides a “single-unit approval process” for individual condominium units to be eligible for FHA mortgage insurance, even if the condominium project is not FHA approved. In addition, the new guidelines extend the recertification for approved projects from 2 to 3 years and will allow more mixed-use projects to be eligible for FHA insurance. Here are a few more specifics as to changes to FHA’s Single Family Handbook: Single-Unit Approval … Continue reading

Who’s Responsible for HOA/Condo Assessments When a Homeowner Dies?

In North Carolina when a homeowner dies, his or her real property passes immediately to the heirs under a Will or if there is no Will, under the Intestate Succession Statute. This means that as soon as the homeowner dies there is immediately, by operation of law, a new owner. The real property is not a probate asset and therefore does not pass as such. Except for limited exceptions, this means that typically the “estate” is not the new owner. The question then arises, who is responsible for paying the community association assessments/dues? Since the heirs inherited the property immediately … Continue reading

2018 Community Association Fact Book Released

The Foundation for Community Association Research has just released its Community Association Fact Book 2018, which is full of HOA/condo data and statistics. The purpose of the work 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.” If you haven’t reviewed the Fact Book before, the information is fascinating. Both national and state-by-state information can be found. For instance, in 1970, there were 10,000 community associations in the U.S. Today … Continue reading

Association Loans: What You Need to Know

Previous posts have looked at options for community associations in need of money (see Help, Our HOA (or Condo) Needs Money!). If your association has explored and rejected other possibilities (increased assessments, reserves, special assessment, etc.), a loan may be the best prospect. Questions about whether the loan is a good idea or whether the association will be able to pay back the funds are something that only the association can answer. Instead, this blog examines the legal process of what is involved when an association borrows money. Over 200 lenders currently make loans to HOAs and condos, according to … Continue reading

Black, Slaughter & Black Attorneys Speaking at HOA/Condo Annual Conference AUGUST 2

The Annual Conference of the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute will be held Thursday, August 1 and Friday, August 2 at the Wilmington Convention Center (515 Nutt Street). Attendees will include community association professionals and community leaders from across the state. During the Friday educational sessions, several Black, Slaughter & Black attorneys will be speaking on issues of concern to community associations, including: Friday, August 2 at 8:30 am David Wilson (with Dawn Becker-Durnin, NFP, and Jessica Due, NFP) Contractual Risk Transfer for Communities: It’s Not Just About the Certificate of Insurance Communities need to outsource work … Continue reading

Special Assessments for Your Condo or HOA

I am often asked to help homeowners associations and condominiums figure out ways to make ends meet.  For those communities with cash flow problems it can be challenging.  Raising dues is never a popular option, but is often necessary.  The governing documents for most condominiums and homeowners associations allow the board of directors to unilaterally increase dues by some amount—usually between 10% and 15%—without a vote of the membership.  That makes sense because an association should be able to make regular increases to dues to keep up with the costs of the association, both the expected costs and the unforeseen … Continue reading

Regulation of Display of American and North Carolina Flags in HOA & Condominium Associations

Happy Fourth of July!  It is the time of year when our firm gets many questions regarding the display of United States and North Carolina flags in their community associations.  Summer is a popular time of year for sun, sand, BBQ cookouts, and for display of patriotism!  In our experience, we have found that most associations encourage the patriotic display of the United States and North Carolina flags, however reasonable restrictions on flag displays are common in community association governing documents. Both the North Carolina Planned Community and Condominium Acts limit the way in which associations restrict the display of … Continue reading

Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina & South Carolina – Part Three

Authored by Harmony Taylor & David Wilson We are often asked by board members for HOA and condominium associations to review their community’s documents and “update” them or “make them more modern.”  While there is no one-size fits all solution for any community association, we have noticed that some amendments are a good idea for most communities.  Over the next few articles, David Wilson and Harmony Taylor will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend to the associations that we represent.  Whether you are a single family, townhome, or condominium community, you may want to think about … Continue reading

Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina & South Carolina – Part Three

Authored by David Wilson & Harmony Taylor We are often asked by board members for HOA and condominium associations to review their community’s documents and “update” them or “make them more modern.”  While there is no one-size fits all solution for any community association, we have noticed that some amendments are a good idea for most communities.  Over the next few articles, David Wilson and Harmony Taylor will be exploring some of the amendments that we frequently recommend to the associations that we represent.  Whether you are a single family, townhome, or condominium community, you may want to think about … Continue reading

The HOA Has Foreclosed on a Home for Delinquent Dues, Now What?

What happens when an HOA completes a foreclosure sale of its claim of lien for unpaid dues? There are several common outcomes which are listed below in order of frequency in our experience: (1) The owner/occupants are evicted and the house is left empty. The Association should include this property on its general liability policy in case someone gets hurt on the property.  Eventually, if there is a mortgage on the property (and there is almost always a mortgage) the mortgage company will eventually foreclose and take title from the Association.  It is a common misconception that the Association is … Continue reading

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Bed bugs have become a growing area of concern for planned communities across the country. Although no community is immune, bed bugs are most commonly found in single-family homes, condominiums, and hotels/motels. Because of their ability to travel from location to location, bed bugs can easily spread and infest multiple areas. This makes condominiums, townhomes, and single-family residences the perfect target for these tiny pests. You may be wondering how and why bed bugs are of importance to homeowners associations. I will be the first to admit that Board members and managers rarely seek advice regarding pest prevention. After all, … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – May 10, 2019

Yesterday, May 9, 2019 was the “crossover deadline” in the North Carolina General Assembly. In short, that means that bills not related to taxes or spending must have passed one chamber to be eligible for consideration during the two-year legislative session. CAVEAT: In terms of legislation, “dead” doesn’t always mean “completely dead.” A News & Observer story once noted that legislative “rules are made to be circumvented, so there are many ways to keep legislation alive.” (For example, proposals sometimes appear later as “technical corrections” in other bills.) Still, with the crossover deadline behind us, now is a good time … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – April 23, 2019

It must be spring in North Carolina—both flowers and legislative proposals that would impact HOAs and condos are springing up! For those of you who attended the NC-CAI Community Association Legal Workshop in Wilmington this past week, you heard my law partner Steve Black comment on several pending community-association bills. When I spoke at the NC-CAI Community Association Law Evening in Greenville the NEXT NIGHT, 3 more proposals had been filed! Now there are at least 12 legislative proposal that would impact North Carolina’s HOAs and condos. The increased filing is due to several legislative deadlines this month. Tuesday, April … Continue reading

Fair Housing & Religious Accommodation: Curto v. A Country Place Condominium Association, Inc.

Sometimes, a community association tries to accommodate religious preferences and ends up discriminating on another basis. That is what happened in Curto v A Country Place Condominium Association, Inc., according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a New Jersey condominium case handed down yesterday. In this case, the condominium had a large Orthodox Jewish population whose religious practices prohibited men and women from swimming together in the condominium pool. The association, wishing to find a way for both men and women to use the pool, came up with a schedule that provided certain hours for … Continue reading