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

Curto v. A Country Place Condominium Association, Inc.

Sometimes, community associations 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 men … Continue reading

Assigning Service Contracts in North Carolina

Most people assume that when they hire someone to perform a service for them, that person will deliver the service. This is not always true. In many circumstances, one party can assign its service obligations to another party. By statute, North Carolina allows one party to delegate- or assign- its obligations to perform some service under a contract to another party unless the contract prohibits assignment, or unless the non-assigning party has some substantial interest in having the originally obligated party perform the work themselves.  The idea is that assignment allows individuals and companies necessary flexibility to sell valuable contractual … Continue reading

Common Misconceptions for HOA or Condo Board Members

Do you serve on the Board of Directors of a Community Association?  If so, here are some common misconceptions that can cause problems for many boards— Meeting Minutes. Does your board keep minutes of its meetings?  If not, then your board should.  Second, your board meeting minutes should be a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said.  There is no need to record everything that is said.  Instead, simply record actions that were taken by the board (i.e. approved budget, approved new landscaping contract, etc.) Quorum.  Quorum is the minimum required number of directors that … Continue reading

Are Homeowners Associations and Condominium Associations Subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act?

We frequently get asked what special steps must be taken by associations to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) In many cases our association clients are not subject to the ADA but it depends heavily on who they allow to use the common area and amenities.  The most common trigger that makes the ADA apply to associations is when the association’s common area and amenities are used with some degree of frequency by the general public that are not members of the association.  For example, if the association allows nonmembers to use the association’s pool for a … Continue reading

Collection Minefields & Helpful Tips

I recently spoke on the topic of Collection Minefields at the last two NC Community Association Institute (CAI) Law Days.  Both sessions were very well attended and the participants came with many great and pointed questions.  That tells me that both Board members and mangers are acutely aware that collecting unpaid assessments is a vital part of running a successful community association.  Unfortunately, while we would hope all owners would dutifully pay their assessments, very few associations are lucky enough to escape the reality of having pursue their neighbors for delinquencies. There are many different types of minefields that can … Continue reading

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

(Blog co-authored by Harmony Taylor & David Wilson. This is a continuation of the earlier blog, “Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina or South Carolina.”) 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 … Continue reading

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

(Blog co-authored by David Wilson & Harmony Taylor. This is a continuation of the earlier blog, “Top Amendments for an HOA or Condo in North Carolina or South Carolina.”) 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 … Continue reading

Community Association Foreclosures and Squatters

Despite what some may believe, association boards almost never want to foreclose on a condo, townhome or single family home in their community. When they do go through the time and expense of foreclosing, and are forced to purchase the property through foreclosure, it is incredibly frustrating to go to change the locks on a home only to find it already occupied by a stranger. It can appear that someone- not the former owner- showed up in the dead of night, gained access through some means, and moved in- even going so far as to fully furnish the home, hook … Continue reading

Jim Slaughter Recognized for Pro Bono Service

Attorney Jim Slaughter was recently recognized by the Greensboro Bar Association for his pro bono work by being named to the Herb Falk Society. The Herb Falk Society honors Bar members who have performed 75 hours or more of pro bono service hours during the year, which includes free or reduced legal services to clients and activities to improve the legal profession. This is Jim’s 7th year of recognition. His is pictured here with Judge Teresa Vincent, 2019 President of the Greensboro Bar Association.

Don’t Screw Up Your Architectural Committee and Approval Process

In a decision issued today (March 19, 2019), the North Carolina Court of Appeals examined the issue of proper architectural committees and their decisions. Makar vs. Mimosa Bay Homeowners Association is an “unpublished” opinion from the NC Court of Appeals. That means that the decision is not controlling legal authority and should not be cited in other cases. However, even unpublished opinions give a sense of the Court’s thinking as to specific issues and how subsequent courts may rule. In short, the decision in Makar follows other recent appellate decisions that associations should act properly, follow corporate formalities, and do … Continue reading

Community Association Law Day 2019 – Charlotte, NC

Law Day is one of the NC Community Associations Institute’s most popular programs. Attendees include HOA/condo board members, community leaders, and community managers. Speakers include many of the best community association professionals in the state. Black, Slaughter & Black attorneys will be presenting on the following topics at the 2019 Community Association Law Day on Friday, March 22: Who’s Going to Fix My Property? HOA/Condo Maintenance, Repair & Casualty (Including Major Weather Events) – Jim Slaughter Assessment Collection Minefields – David Wilson & Adam Marshall How to Avoid Litigation in the First Place – Jim Slaughter (and Hope Carmichael) The … Continue reading

Does Your Board Meeting Need a Parliamentarian?

In large association membership meetings or conventions, it is common to find someone serving as parliamentarian (whether a member or outside credentialed professional). A question I’m often asked, though, is “Does our board meeting need a parliamentarians”? (For purposes of full disclosure, I’m an attorney, Certified Professional Parliamentarian, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, past President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers, and author of two books on meeting procedure.) A parliamentarian is simply an adviser to the presiding officer and other officers, committees and members on matters of meeting procedure. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but:  The president and board members … Continue reading

What an HOA “Transfer Fee” Is—And What It Is Not

The term “transfer fee” is used in North Carolina incorrectly all the time. Misuse is common even among professionals. Recently I’ve heard both real estate brokers and real estate attorneys refer to items as “transfer fees” that were not. Since there is a statute that regulates and can even prohibit improper transfer fees, it’s important to use the correct term. Let’s start with a bit of background. Since 2010 North Carolina state statute has defined a transfer fee as a “fee or charge payable upon the transfer of an interest in real property . . . regardless of whether the … Continue reading

Planning for the Future of Your Community Through Reserve Funding

As properties within homeowners and condominium associations age, inevitably maintenance expenses will begin to pile up. Roofs will need to be replaced, deteriorating roads will need to be repaired, and siding may need to be replaced. These are examples of major expenses that do not occur every day, but can often otherwise be anticipated. Planning ahead for these expenditures can be key to the financial health of your association. So how do homeowners and condominium associations pay for these major projects? One method is through reserve funding. This is an amount of the collected assessments that are set aside to … Continue reading

Details on the 2019 National Community Association Law Seminar!

As past President of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), I try to provide details each year on the national Community Association Law Seminar. Without question, the Law Seminar is the premiere HOA and condo legal program held each year. This year’s Law Seminar is the 40th annual and will be held January 23-26, 2019, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, LA. While the Law Seminar is mostly attended by attorneys, it’s not limited to attorneys. Other participants include insurance professionals, community association managers, other industry leaders who wish to learn about HOA/condo law trends and practices. For … Continue reading

Short-Term Rentals: New Municipal Regulations & HOAs/Condos

The convenience and cost of Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway and other platforms have made short-term rentals (sometimes called “STRs” or “STVRs” for “short-term vacation rentals”) a booming business. Airbnb said earlier this year that it has over 640,000 hosts and 4 million listings! That said, short-term rentals can bring concerns. For one, too many rentals may change the nature of a community. Some traditional owner-occupied homeowner and condominium associations have found themselves awash in short-term renters. While there is nothing inherently negative about short-term renters, some communities have found that short-term rentals can lead to additional administrative costs, such as determining … Continue reading

Decking the Halls in Your Homeowner’s Association

The fall and winter holiday months are the perfect time to show your holiday spirit. Regardless of which occasion is your favorite, this time of year draws homeowners to the holiday aisles filled with décor of all kinds.  In fact, a recent study revealed that the value of United States imports of Christmas lights alone totaled $463.2 million in 2017.[1] It looks like everyone is eager to spread the holiday cheer. But, before you turn your home into a scene straight out of Christmas with the Kranks, you should make sure your homeowner’s association doesn’t have any prohibitions on the … Continue reading