Communicating With HOA/Condo Members In The Age of Coronavirus

Association Boards are not typically groups that like to overshare.  They often can take a “need to know” approach to communicating with association membership.  However in this brave new world we are facing with Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) sharing what actions the Board is taking, or not taking, with regard to the virus is going to be of vital importance to maintaining a well informed and healthy membership. Typically when associations discuss communication, they are referring to those notices required to be provided by governing documents or state statute, such as notices required for annual meetings, collection of assessments, imposing fines for … Continue reading

Coronavirus (COVID-19) HOA & Condo Articles

During the past month 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 Coronavirus: What Should Homeowner and Condominium Associations Do? “Let’s Have Our Meeting or Convention Online!” How to Hold Your North Carolina HOA/Condo Hearing in a Pandemic Should My Community Close Its Common Areas Due to COVID-19? What to Do About HOA/Condo Finances & Assessments During the Coronavirus  . The attorneys … Continue reading

What to Do About HOA/Condo Finances & Assessments During the Coronavirus

Questions to our firm about how homeowner and condominium associations should respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic have come in waves.  When news of the virus broke, we were asked by HOAs and condos how to keep homeowners safe. (See: Coronavirus: What Should Homeowner and Condominium Associations Do?) Then, once health concerns cancelled board and membership meetings, questions turned to how to transact association business without having physical meetings. (See: The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings and “Let’s Have Our Meeting Online!”) Now, with the extended health and economic crisis, association boards are concerned both about the association’s finances … Continue reading

Should My Community Close Its Common Areas Due to COVID-19?

With everyone on high alert because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) we get a number of questions every day about how community associations (HOAs and condos) should react and what should be done.  One of the questions we’ve received a lot lately is whether the association should close its common areas.  The answer, as with most legal things, is “it depends.”  First, most community associations are nonprofit corporations and are obligated to do whatever any state or local government or health department has said should be done.  For a great discussion on general steps your community should take to deal with … Continue reading

How to Hold Your North Carolina HOA/Condo Hearing in a Pandemic

Yet another issue that is coming up frequently in the face of COVID-19:  what should an association do about violation hearings that need to proceed, and are already scheduled or need to be scheduled?  Obviously, we are recommending against any face-to-face meetings for the foreseeable future.  Mecklenburg County’s stay at home order requires residents today to stay home and avoid all unnecessary trips may soon spread to the rest of North Carolina. This means we have to get creative about how to hold hearings.  The goal, as always, will be to allow owners to clearly understand the alleged violation and … 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

Coronavirus: What Should Homeowner and Condominium Associations Do?

This is one of three articles on dealing with the Coronavirus and its impact. This blog looks at how associations can protect the association as well as responsibilities. See also The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings and “Let’s Have Our Meeting or Convention Online!” Since our blog last week on The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo Association Meetings, there has been an increase in U.S. Coronavirus cases, including one death in Washington state. That has led to a number of questions from association boards to the effect of: “Thanks for the blog, but what should we DO to protect the … Continue reading

The Coronavirus, Flu, and HOA/Condo 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

TWO 2020 HOA/Condo Law Days Coming Up!

Community Association Law Day is always one of the most popular programs of the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. This year there are TWO: Charlotte on Friday, February 28 and Raleigh on Friday, March 13. Attendees include HOA/condo board members, community leaders, and community managers. Speakers include many of the best community association professionals in the state. Five Black, Slaughter & Black attorneys will be presenting at the 2020 Community Association Law Days (a record!). Here are their topics: What HOA/Condo Leaders Need to Know About Meeting Procedure & Robert’s Rules of Order – Jim Slaughter. Running … Continue reading

New HUD Guidelines on Assistance Animals

Yesterday, January 28, 2020, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) released new assistance on guidance animals. Notice FHEO-2020-01 (“Assistance Animals Notice”) includes two parts: “Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act” contains best practices for complying with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) when assessing a person with a disability’s accommodation request involving animals in housing, including differences between assistance animals and pets types of accommodations that a housing provider may need to grant assessing whether an animal is a … Continue reading

Making America Ethical (and Civil) Again

I often note that community associations are effectively microcosms of our larger culture, facing the same challenges and trends. One example of this is the increase in (real or perceived) lack of civility and ethics in communications with and between boards and their members. This past week, the Community Association Institute (CAI), an international membership organization that provides information, education and resources related to community associations, published a newly adopted Civility Pledge as a resource for communities to foster civil discourse. The Civility Pledge, linked here, is an excellent resource for boards wishing to support a more respectful dialogue. The … Continue reading

The Attorney-Client Privilege and Community Associations

Authored by Hamony Taylor and David Wilson As our community association clients settle into a new year and new issues, many boards with new members find themselves with questions or confusion about the attorney-client privilege. Because this privilege is complicated but incredibly important, we thought it would be helpful to go over the basics and how boards can and should preserve the privilege. Very generally, in both North and South Carolina, the attorney-client privilege protects communications between an attorney and a client in the following circumstances: The parties were in an attorney/client relationship. It is not necessary that the client … Continue reading

Black, Slaughter & Black Attorney Featured at South Carolina Community Association Institute Annual Law Day & Expo January 9, 2020 in Myrtle Beach

The annual Expo and Law Day of the South Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) will be held Thursday, January 9, 2020 in Myrtle Beach at the Sports Convention Center (2115 Farlow Street).  Attendees will include community association professionals and community leaders from across South Carolina. David Wilson with Black, Slaughter & Black will be featured at 4:00 during a Q & A session to wrap up the educational sessions being offered.   The full schedule and registration information can be found at the 2020 SC CAI Expo and Law Day page.

HOA & Condo Assessments: What Can & Can’t Be Collected from an Owner

Obligation to Pay Assessments Homeowner dues (legally called “assessments” by statute) are the lifeblood of an association. Most all HOAs and condominium are nonprofit corporations. That is, community associations are not designed to make money; they are designed to pay the association’s bills. Associations basically act as agents for collections by other entities—water, garbage, electricity, landscaping. The funds collected are not kept by the association, but are forwarded to other parties, including the government. For example, many of our associations pay the premiums insuring all units each year. Unless assessments can be collected the association will owe debts but not … Continue reading

Can Community Privileges or Services Be Suspended?

We are often asked what can be done when a homeowner is violating the governing documents.  That answer depends on the language of the association’s declaration, and whether or not the association is subject to the North Carolina Planned Community Act or Condominium Act.  Quite frequently, the answer results in a discussion on the association’s ability to issue fines to owners who are in violation.  However, the same North Carolina statutes that grant the ability to issue fines also grant the association the ability to suspend community privileges or services. As with issuing fines, an owner’s community privileges or services … Continue reading

It’s Time for a Comprehensive HOA Statute in South Carolina

With the recent decision in Winrose Homeowners’ Association, Inc. v. Hale the South Carolina Supreme Court proved that it is past time for a comprehensive HOA statute in South Carolina.  For more in-depth analysis of the Court’s decision, see our earlier article. Suffice it to say, throughout its decision the Court expressed discomfort with some practices that have grown up surrounding HOA foreclosures in this state.  But it is important to note what it did not say as well.  The Court did not say that HOAs could not foreclose.  In fact, it specifically stated that the HOA in this case … Continue reading

SC Supreme Court Finds HOA Foreclosure Over $250 “Unconscionable”

Authored by Jim Slaughter & Jason Pruett In an opinion issued yesterday (December 18, 2019), the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that an HOA foreclosure for $250 was unconscionable given the specific facts of that case. The ruling is in Winrose Homeowners’ Association, Inc. and Regime Solutions, LLC v. Hale. In Winrose, the homeowners bought their property in 1998 for $104,250, but in 2011 fell behind in their association assessment payments. The HOA filed a Complaint seeking foreclosure for nonpayment of dues. After the Complaint was filed, the homeowners received and paid a bill to the Association for $250, which … Continue reading

SC Supreme Court Finds HOA Foreclosure Over $250 “Unconscionable”

Authored by Jason Pruett & Jim Slaughter In an opinion issued yesterday (December 18, 2019), the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that an HOA foreclosure for $250 was unconscionable given the specific facts of that case. The ruling is in Winrose Homeowners’ Association, Inc. and Regime Solutions, LLC v. Hale. In Winrose, the homeowners bought their property in 1998 for $104,250, but in 2011 fell behind in their association assessment payments. The HOA filed a Complaint seeking foreclosure for nonpayment of dues. After the Complaint was filed, the homeowners received and paid a bill to the Association for $250, which … Continue reading

New Appellate Case: Is Your Architectural Process Fair and Reasonable? (Hint: It Better Be!)

In a decision issued today (December 17, 2019), the North Carolina Court of Appeals examined the authority of an association to review and deny submitted architectural plans. This is the second architectural committee decision from the Court of Appeals this year. (See “Don’t Screw Up Your Architectural Committee and Approval Process”) Duff v. The Sanctuary at Lake Wylie Property Owners Association, Inc. is an “unpublished opinion,” which means 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 … Continue reading

New Bill Introduced That Would Provide Disaster Relief To Homeowners Associations And Condominiums

At Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A., we closely monitor pending legislation that could affect our HOA and condominium clients.  One federal bill that may impact many communities, especially those near the coast or in locations where storm damage is more likely, is the Disaster Assistance Equity Act.  This bill was just introduced as H.R. 5337 in the House and would extend disaster relief funds to community associations where that relief was not previously available.  H.R. 5337 appears to have bipartisan support, making it more likely to eventually be signed into law in some fashion. According to the Community Association Institute … Continue reading