Our firm is one of the most active in North Carolina and South Carolina in assisting homeowner and condominium associations with:
|governing document amendments|
|covenant and restriction violations|
|collection of dues and assessments|
|board/annual meeting controversies|
|resolving neighborhood disputes.|
Black, Slaughter & Black attorneys frequently speak to community association audiences (including the national CAI Law Seminar) and have authored association articles in CAI's Common Ground, the ABA Journal, and ASAE's Association Management. Partner Jim Slaughter was the first North Carolina attorney inducted as a Fellow into CAI's prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) and served as 2014 national CCAL President.
Our firm maintains dues and assessment collection efforts by property management companies on a separate, password protected site that is available 24/7. Please enter your login information in the address bar to view current collection efforts alphabetized by association.
Covenant and Restriction Violations
Owners in associations must obey association documents, which can include the Declaration (sometimes called the “Restrictions” or the “Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions”), the bylaws, and the rules and regulations of the association. State statutes and the governing documents provide means for enforcing these provisions. In the event of a violation, Black, Slaughter & Black can advise on whether the rule is legally enforceable, steps necessary for a proper hearing, notice required to the homeowner, penalties that can be imposed, and possible legal remedies to enforce the covenants.
Collection of Assessments/Dues
Dues are the lifeblood of an association. Community associations are not designed to make money; they are designed to pay the association’s bills. They basically act as escrow agents for collections by other entities—water, garbage, electricity, landscaping. Funds collected are not kept by the association, but are forwarded to other parties, including the government. Unless associations can collect owed assessments, the association will owe debts but not have funds to cover them. Shortfalls can only be made up by not paying necessary obligations, charging paying homeowners higher amounts, or allowing the community’s common elements to deteriorate. As a result, associations must be vigilant about collecting association assessments.
Black, Slaughter & Black can help by advising on collections strategies, including what is and is not permitted by state law. If more aggressive action is needed, we will take all steps permitted by the governing documents and state law to collect past-due assessments, fines, and other charges, including sending a demand letter to the owner, filing a claim of lien, commencing foreclosure proceedings, and, if necessary, conducting a foreclosure sale. While such steps may seem harsh, the prompt collection of assessments is necessary in order for an association to pay its obligations and to avoid an increase in assessments for members.
Board and Annual Meeting Controversies
Homeowner and condominium associations have all sorts of meetings—board meetings, membership meetings, committee meetings, and architectural review committee meetings. Board and membership meetings can be subject to numerous statutes as well as Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. Black, Slaughter & Black can advise on all aspects of running effective, legal meetings, including the notice required, wording of proxies, crafting motions and resolutions, determining quorum, the vote required, and drafting any necessary documents for filing.
NC Planned Community Act and Condominium Act Compliance
Most homeowner associations created in North Carolina after January 1, 1999, must follow the N.C. Planned Community Act. Similarly, most condominiums created in North Carolina after October 1, 1988, must follow the N.C. Condominium Act. However, even older NC associations must generally follow certain provisions of the acts, such as those governing collection of assessments, fining owners for violations, and certain aspects of meetings. Black, Slaughter & Black can advise on which statutes apply to your specific association, interpret the statute with regards to your situations, and point out how court cases may have interpreted the statute. In addition, our firm can perform a governing document “audit” for compliance with the acts and identify provisions of the governing documents that are out of compliance with the act and unenforceable or should be amended.
Mediation and Arbitration
Since 2013 North Carolina statutes have required community associations to notify owners each year of the right to request voluntary mediation for certain types of disputes. Partner Jim Slaughter has been a Certified Superior Court Mediator for over twenty years and mediated many cases to a successful resolution. Arbitration is also available for a private, and frequently more expedient and affordable, procedure to resolve disputes.
HOA/Condo mediation Lawyers.com review: Jim served as a mediator in a highly contentious suit between homeowners and their HOA. The suit contained decades-old disputes and allegations. Jim was a superb mediator who genuinely cared about the outcome of this case. To say he was invested in helping the parties reach a compromise would be an understatement. I would recommend Jim as a mediator in the highest regard.
Resolving Neighborhood Disputes
Having represented so many associations, the attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black can assist with many association disputes, both as to the legal as well as political aspects, including developer or transition issues, pet and animal issues, rental caps or disputes, zoning or easement disputes, problem owner or board member issues, or most any other issue an association can face.