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

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

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

New Robert’s Rules of Order

The latest Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised has been released! For organizations that follow Robert’s Rules of Order, most tend to use the newest edition. That’s because either a state or federal law or the governing documents refer not to a specific numbered edition, but to the latest edition. For instance, two North Carolina state statutes (NCGS § 47F-3-108 & 47C-3-108) provide that as to homeowner and condominium associations, “meetings of the association and the executive board shall be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.”  Identical language can be found … 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

Updated NC Condominium Act (NCGS 47C)

The NC General Assembly in 2020 has made a number of changes to the North Carolina Condominium Act (NCGS 47C). All of the updated statutes have been signed by the Governor and are now law. Here is a PDF of the revised NC Condominium Act. The document also distinguishes between those provisions that are retroactive to all condos and which apply only to condominiums created after October 1, 1986. For more details on the specific 2020 amendments, you may wish to read this article: NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 24, 2020 For any North or South Carolina HOA/condo … Continue reading

2020 CAI-NC Annual Conference Educational Sessions ONLINE

The Annual Conference of the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute will be virtual this year. While the Conference is officially next week, July 23-24, there will be many more educational opportunities on issues of concern to HOAs and condos. Registered attendees at this year’s Conference will choose 4 of 12 learning sessions to attend on Conference days (July 23-24). But one of 12 recorded sessions will be opened each day for viewing online Monday-Thursday in the 3 weeks following the Conference. You can attend or re-attend any as part of Conference registration. In addition, presenters will “attend” online the day … Continue reading

New Firm Name & Partners

New Firm Name The law firm of Black, Slaughter & Black will now be doing business as Law Firm Carolinas. The firm, which practices in North and South Carolina, has four offices: Greensboro, Charlotte, Triangle (Garner) and Coastal (Wilmington). New Partners In addition, three attorneys have been named partners in the firm: Jennifer Ruby, who does general civil litigation, business litigation and appeals. Ruby is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006) and Elon University School of Law (2010) and is based in the Greensboro office. Michael Taliercio, who manages the firm’s HOA/condo assessment collections … Continue reading

New Law Offers Important Protection to NC Pool Operators

House Bill 902 was signed into law by Governor Cooper on July 2, 2020 and grants some limitations on liability for privately owned swimming pool operators who open their pools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Bill applies to community pools owned by private entities, such as apartment complexes, homeowners associations and condominium associations, and protects those pool operators from liability for injury or death allegedly related to COVID-19 if those pool operators have opened the pools in compliance with the various Executive Orders for pool safety issued by the Governor.  Probably the most important Executive Order here is Executive Order … Continue reading

New NC Executive Order Again Allows Electronic Nonprofit Membership Meetings

NC Executive Order #141 issued on May 20 (and still in effect as of July 3) currently limits indoor meeting attendance to 10 and outdoor attendance to 25, which makes it rather hard to hold an in-person association membership meeting. By statute, NC nonprofit association boards have long been allowed to meet by telephone conference or video conference, so long as everyone can simultaneously hear everyone else. However, there has been no such statute for association member meetings. On April 24 the Governor issued Executive Order #136, which allowed for nonprofit membership meetings to be held virtually under certain conditions. … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 26, 2020

Pool Immunity & Fee Cap on Statement of Unpaid Assessments According to Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” At this point in the legislative session, things more pretty fast. And it’s easy to miss things. There have been several significant changes since my NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 24, 2020 two days ago! Summaries follow, and more fuller reviews will be done as a part of our HOA/Condo blogs. House Bill 806: “HOA/Condo Pool Opening Limited Immunity” HB 806 has been amended to … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: North Carolina to Remain in Phase 2, Additional Restrictions

NC Governor Roy Cooper announced today, June 24, that on Friday, June 26 the State will NOT move to a “Phase 3” with regards to coronavirus restrictions. North Carolina will instead remain in Phase 2 for at least an additional 3 weeks as a result of failing to meet certain key benchmarks. In addition, new face mask requirements have been added. Here are some highlights for North Carolina’s homeowner and condominium associations: Phase 2 restrictions will remain in place through at least 5 pm on July 17, 2020. Restrictions on gatherings remain in place. Executive Order #141 issued on May … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 24, 2020

Like most everything else in 2020, this year’s legislative session has not been typical. This is the second legislative year of the 2019-2020 Session. Normally, some of the bills that survived “crossover” in 2019 (see NC Community Association Legislative Update – May 10, 2019) would be tweaked and considered, but new significant legislation is not all that common in the second year of a session. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and everything related to that, the financial crisis, and numerous social issues that risen to the forefront, the focus of this year’s legislative session has mostly been on new proposals … Continue reading

Requirements for South Carolina HOA/Condo Pools for Re-Opening After May 18, 2020

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic the community association attorneys at Black Slaughter Black, P.A. have been closely monitoring the Executive Orders from the South Carolina Governor, county and city Orders, and the recommendations of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Controls, along with those of the Center for Disease Control. On May 11, 2020 Governor Henry McMaster announced that fitness centers and pools (“Amenities”) may re-open on Monday, May 18, 2020 with certain requirements which are mandated (“Requirements”) and with guidelines that are strongly recommended but not mandated (“Guidelines”). As of the time of this writing … Continue reading