The Strange Case of Real Estate and Probate

One of the biggest talking points in estate planning and estate administration conferences is what assets do and do not pass via probate.  To answer the basic question of what probate is, which is a topic in and of itself, probate is the court-supervised procedure by which assets pass from a decedent to devisee in the case of testate decedents (those who die with a Will) or from decedent to intestate heirs in the case of intestate decedents (those who die without a Will).   The probate procedure in North Carolina, also sometimes referred to as estate administration, is outlined in … Continue reading

Throwing Shade—North Carolina / South Carolina Homeowner Right to Sunlight

Once upon a time there was a homeowner with a mountain cottage with a great view.  The homeowner lived for years on this quiet property with a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains.  Suddenly, a neighbor showed up and began building next door.  As part of construction, it became obvious that part of the new neighbor’s home would block the view of the first homeowner.  Although the first homeowner may not be happy about it, without some sort of guarantee that his view will remain unchanged, the first homeowner probably has no way to prevent the construction.  To avoid this … Continue reading

Improve Your Chances Of Winning Your Rezoning Case-Preparation Is Key

I served on the Greensboro Zoning Commission for six years, serving as Chair during my last year, and I lost count of the times that a rezoning application and presentation could have been aided by additional preparation by the applicant or by having a knowledgeable advocate who could persuasively make the case that rezoning a piece of property would provide its highest and best use. Applications can fail if those making the decision on a rezoning are not presented with sufficient information to answer their questions about whether a piece of property should be rezoned, whether that be through the … Continue reading

Law Firm Carolinas: New Shareholder, Partners, Offices and Lawyers

Law Firm Carolinas announces the following changes: Harmony Taylor, who is in the Charlotte office and practices community association (HOA and condo) law and civil litigation, has been named a Shareholder. Three attorneys have been named Partners: Joe Thompson, who practices residential and commercial real estate, and David Wilson, who practices North and South Carolina community association (HOA and condo) law, both from the Charlotte office; and Jon Raymer, who practices commercial and residential real estate, from the Greensboro office. There have also been several recent additions to the firm: Nancy Guyton and Hunt Harris have joined the Wilmington office. … Continue reading

Changes to Special Assessment Language in North Carolina Realtor Standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract”

As discussed in previous blogs (see What’s Special about Special Assessments?), HOA/condo special assessments are referenced in the North Carolina standard Offer to Purchase and Contract form. By way of background, the NC Bar Association and NC Association of Realtors® have “Joint Forms” used in residential real estate closings. The standard “Offer to Purchase and Contract” (Standard Form 2-T) is used in most any closing involving a Realtor®. Effective July 1, 2021, there are various changes to the Standard Offer to Purchase and Contract, including the following language regarding special assessments: In Paragraph 1(n), the distinctions between a “proposed” and … Continue reading

Frequent Asked Questions about Foreclosure Sales

More than ever, people are buying property through foreclosures.  Do you want to buy property at a foreclosure sale, but you have questions about the process?  If so, then this article is for you.  For a general explanation of the foreclosure sale process, take a look at this previous article.  However, some common but more specific questions that people have about the foreclosure sale process are: Where does the sale take place?  Well, by law the notice of sale must contain the location where the sale is going to be conducted. Most sales are noticed to be conducted on the … Continue reading

Real estate document preparation

Contracts and closing documents are a necessary part of any real estate transaction and there are countless resources on the internet that purport to be able to provide any number of them free or at a very low cost.  More often than not, however, the forms provided are not tailored to the party’s needs.  Oftentimes they omit important terms or language or are overbroad and put at increased risk the parties involved or getting the deal closed at all.  Since it is commonplace that real estate transactions do not always have brokers involved to provide preliminary guidance but the parties … Continue reading

Valuable New Resource on Drafting Community Association Governing Documents

The Community Associations Institute has many valuable resources for anyone who assists community associations. While these materials are often of most interest to professional community managers and HOA/condo owners, there are also many excellent publications for attorneys. A recent digital book, Guiding Principles for Community Association Governing Documents: A Resource for Lawyers, will be of interest to anyone who has to draft original association documents or amendments to those documents. This is no little brochure, but has excellent, detailed advice for getting the wording of documents right. The Task Force that compiled the recommendations was appointed by the College of … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Williams v Reardon (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act – Part 2)

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has once again determined that restrictive covenants are largely extinguished by operation of the Real Property Marketable Title Act (N.C. Gen. Stat. 47B-1 et seq.) if not included in the chain of title in the preceding thirty years. The decision can be found at C.E. Williams, III et al v. Reardon et al. (Unpublished). Our blog on last month’s Marketable Title Act decision can be found at New NC Appellate Case: C Investments 2, LLC v Auger (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act). This decision leaves one additional case pending for decision in … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Belmont Association, Inc. v. Farwig (Solar Panels/ARC)

Today, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the NC Court of Appeals issued its decision in Belmont Association, Inc. v. Farwig (the first appellate review of North Carolina’s solar law!). The decision may impact the installation of solar panels in planned communities, and is a “published” decision. That means the decision is controlling legal authority and can be cited in other cases. When N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-20 (“Deed Restrictions and Other Agreements Prohibiting Solar Collectors”) became law in North Carolina in 2007, it changed the way homeowners associations handle architectural requests. Prior to this statute, an HOA could simply follow the … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: C Investments 2, LLC v Auger (Covenants and Real Property Marketable Title Act)

Today, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the NC Court of Appeals issued its decision in C Investments 2, LLC v Auger. The decision may impact restrictions in planned communities based on the Marketable Title Act, and is a “published” decision. That means the decision is controlling legal authority and can be cited in other cases. The Marketable Title Act To understand the decision, you need to understand what the NC Real Property Marketable Title Act (“MTA”) is and why it is important. Prior to 1973, anyone buying real estate who wanted to know what restrictions applied to that property had to go back, … Continue reading

New NC Appellate Case: Executive Office Park of Durham Association, Inc. v Rock (Older Condo Collections)

Today, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the NC Court of Appeals issued its decision in Executive Office Park of Durham Association, Inc. v. Rock.  The decision may impact collections in older condominiums, and is a “published” decision. That means the decision is controlling legal authority and can be cited in other cases. In this case, an older condominium association (meaning the association was not fully subject to the NC Condominium Act) was attempting to collect disputed and unpaid assessments, fines, interest, and fees from an owner of several units within the condominium.  The association followed the collections provisions of the NC Condominium … Continue reading

Significant Flood Insurance Changes On the Way

If you or your association are required (or wish) to have flood insurance, big changes are coming. For years, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has looked at ways to better charge specific properties for their specific risks. At present, flood insurance rates are mostly based on a property’s location and elevation. That may not be the case much longer. On April 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced its first major flood insurance pricing updates in half a century. During 2021-2022 the Agency will begin basing premiums on a property’s value, risk of flooding, and other factors. The … Continue reading

Update on Emergency Authorization of Remote Notarizations

The saga continues in this third entry of the three-part series (so far) on North Carolina’s authorization of emergency video notarizations during the pandemic.  As of March 12, 2021, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 196 into law, which allows video notarization to continue through December 31, 2021.   The Bill acts to amend the previous authorization which expired on March 1, 2021, and appears to have retroactive effect to save any brave soul who continued remote notarizations after the Bill’s expiration date. At this time, there is still no indication that permanent authorization of remote notarizations is in the works … Continue reading

Remote Notarizations to Sunset on March 1

As the sunset date approaches for remote notarizations under the temporary emergency authorization, it is now apparent that the legislature will not agree on a bill authorizing a further extension before the expiration. Therefore, we will revert to the notarial requirement of “close physical proximity” on March 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.   Folks in the know believe that there is legislative support for either an extension of the emergency statute or its permanent authorization and codification. However, other non-related budget aspects of the bill are causing a delay (insert your cynical political comment here).  Additionally, it is speculated that when … Continue reading

Order Extend Protections for Tenants; Reaffirms Requirements for Landlords

In late December 2020, both President Trump and North Carolina Governor Cooper extended existing Orders providing protections to individuals at risk of eviction through January 31, 2021. As a result, eviction of some residential tenants for nonpayment of rent may continue to be halted during this time period. However, protection from eviction is not automatic and relates only to situations involving nonpayment of rent. In order to receive relief from eviction, a tenant at risk for eviction for failure to pay rent must submit a Declaration under penalty of perjury that the tenant meets certain requirements. The Declaration must state … 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

Executive Order Imposes New Requirements for Landlords

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 171, which relates directly to residential evictions in North Carolina and attempts to provide some clarity of the CDC Agency Order issued earlier this fall. This Executive Order is effective October 30, 2020 at 5p.m. through December 31, 2020. The CDC Agency Order provides for protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent for certain residential tenants. In order to receive protection, the tenant must submit a Declaration under penalty of perjury that the tenant meets certain requirements. See CDC Moratorium on Evictions for a previous blog post containing more information about the CDC Agency … Continue reading

Justice Beasley Extends Emergency Directive 18 Relating to Evictions in North Carolina

Eviction actions commenced for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges are subject to Emergency Directive 18, which was extended on September 15, 2020 for an additional thirty (30) days. Under this Emergency Directive, no writ of possession for real property shall be issued in summary ejectment actions commenced on or after March 27, 2020, unless the magistrate or judge concludes that either: (1) the property is not a “covered dwelling” as defined by Section 4024(a)(1) of the CARES Act or (2) the property is a “covered dwelling” and the tenant had 30 days of notice to vacate as … 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