Even Further Easing of NC COVID Restrictions

The title of Executive Order #209 issued today (April 28, 2021) pretty much sums up the trend in North Carolina: “Removing the Outdoor Face Covering Requirement, Relaxing Restrictions on Gatherings, and Extending the Capacity and Social Distancing Measures of Executive Order #204.” (For more details on prior Executive Order #204, see NC Easing Covid Restrictions.) The new Executive Order contains additional easing of COVID restrictions to begin this Friday, April 30 at 5 pm. It’s difficult to summarize lengthy Executive Orders, and this particular Order is 31 pages with 10 appendixes for different venues/businesses. Here are some HIGHLIGHTS that may … Continue reading

Q&A on Holding In-Person Association Member Meetings

Now that North Carolina allows larger in-person gatherings (see NC Easing Covid Restrictions), many of our homeowner and condominium associations are wondering if it is time to restart in-person membership meetings. Here are questions and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about meetings that we’ve received. Can HOA/condo associations begin holding in-person membership meetings again? Perhaps. There are two aspects to the question: (1) CAN the association membership meeting be held in person?, and (2) SHOULD the association membership meeting be held in person? As with other state Executive Orders, the question of whether members can gather … 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

NC Easing Covid Restrictions

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today that Executive Order #204 (“Further Easing of Restrictions on Business and Gatherings”) will take effect this Friday, March 26 at 5 pm. It’s always difficult to summarize lengthy Executive Orders, and this one is 27 pages long with 9 appendixes for different types of venues/businesses. With the caveat that this post has some HIGHLIGHTS and is not a replacement for the Executive Order, here are some provisions that may be of interest to North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations. (FYI, anything capitalized is capitalized and defined in greater detail in the Order .) … Continue reading

Governor Extends Order Allowing Virtual Membership Meetings

Community association leaders and managers have been asking if the Governor would extend the ability to hold electronic membership meetings beyond March 1. The answer as of today is “yes.” On December 31, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order #185 entitled Extending Prior Executive Orders on Remote Shareholder and Nonprofit Meetings During the COVID-10 State of Emergency. EO #185 extended earlier orders allowing for nonprofit membership meetings to meet virtually so long as certain conditions are met. However, Executive Order #185 had a expiration date of this coming Monday, March 1. A separate Executive Order #195 was issued this past … Continue reading

NC Executive Order Increases Attendance at Association Meetings

The Governor’s latest Executive Order, EO No. 195 issued this week, really isn’t about nonprofit corporations or homeowner and condominium associations. The Executive Order is instead aimed at easing COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, including restaurants and bars. However, there is one section that may be of interest to North Carolina HOAs and condos. For many months now, North Carolina’s pandemic gathering restrictions have limited indoor meeting attendance to 10 and outdoor meeting attendance to 25 “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space.” Executive Order #195 increases these in-person attendance caps to 25 for indoor meetings … Continue reading

Does a Virtual Membership Meeting Keep Minutes?

We’ve recently been asked if there should be minutes of a North Carolina association membership meeting held virtually pursuant to the Governor‘s temporary Executive Order. The short and best answer is “yes.” Why? Most all North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations are incorporated nonprofits. The NC Nonprofit Corporation Act provides that “minutes of all membership meetings” are one of the records a nonprofit corporation “shall keep.” Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition), the default statutory parliamentary authority for NC community associations, also provides that minutes should be kept of an annual meeting. The temporary Executive Order that allows … Continue reading

Fair Housing Act Expanded to Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing due to a person based on the person’s membership in specific “protected classes.” Protected classes to date have included race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. In short, the FHA is designed to protect people from discrimination when they are buying a home, renting, obtaining a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities, which can include actions of homeowner and condominium associations. (A list of examples of housing discrimination can be found at HUD’s Housing Discrimination under the Fair Housing Act page.) Last week (February 11, … Continue reading

Differences Between Virtual and In-Person Large Annual Meetings or Conventions

[NOTE: This article follows-up Lessons Learned from Large Virtual Conventions, Representative Assemblies, and House of Delegate Meetings, which examined the practical and procedural aspects of large online meetings.] At this point, the genie of virtual meetings is out of the bottle. And likely not to go back in. While it was inevitable that electronic meetings would become more commonplace, the pandemic has instantly made everyone fairly expert at Zoom, GotoMeeting, Microsoft Teams, and other virtual platforms. There is clear benefit to online collaboration, particularly with smaller meetings. Boards of 10 to 25 (or possibly more) can sometimes meet online much … Continue reading

Yes, You Can Hold a Productive North Carolina Annual HOA/Condo Meeting During a Pandemic

In these first few weeks of 2021, we’ve heard from a number of associations who never got around to holding their 2020 annual membership meeting. That’s understandable given how difficult 2020 was. COVID-19 made large in-person gatherings extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. Various state Executive Orders have at times restricted attendance at meetings from only 25 to fewer. (10 is currently the number of members who can be present at an indoor association meeting.) As a result, many associations decided to wait to hold the annual meeting until things improved. But here we are, one year after the first US … Continue reading

New NC Executive Order Extends Ability to Hold Electronic Membership Meetings

As one of the last Executive Orders issued in 2020, Governor Cooper has extended the ability of North Carolina associations (including HOAs and condos) to hold virtual membership meetings. How Did We Get Here? Current COVID restrictions limit NC indoor meetings to 10 and outdoor meetings to 25 “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space.” These limits must be considered when planning any in-person association membership or board meeting. Prior to the pandemic, associations boards could meet virtually, but not association membership meetings. However, on April 24, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order #136, which … Continue reading

National HOA/Condo Law Seminar to Be Virtual in 2021!

As a past President of the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), I try each year to provide details on CAI’s Community Association Law Seminar. The Law Seminar is the premiere HOA and condo legal program held each year. This year’s Law Seminar is the 42nd annual and will be held January 25-29, 2021 through an online format. Like so many things these days, the Law Seminar will be different due to the pandemic. But in some ways the virtual format will be more convenient and flexible. The program will be held several hours each day (rather than three very … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Indoor Gathering Limit Reduced

Governor Roy Cooper announced earlier today (November 10, 2020) that Phase 3 coronavirus restrictions will remain in place for the time being. However, due to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and the upcoming holidays, the attendance cap on indoor gatherings is being lowered. As a result, the new restrictions will limit indoor meeting attendance to 10 (reduced from 25) “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or meeting hall.” Such requirements should be taken into account when planning any association in-person membership or board meeting. The … Continue reading

Lessons Learned from Large Virtual Conventions, Representative Assemblies, and House of Delegate Meetings

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual meetings such as Zoom and GoToMeetings have been invaluable for allowing people to interact face-to-face online. However, as helpful as virtual meetings can be for smaller groups, large gatherings of hundreds or more pose different problems. That’s particularly the case for very large conventions, representative assemblies, houses of delegates, and governing councils. Such meetings are more complicated when held online because of the number of delegates and usual types of business (credentials, rules, bylaws amendments, large budgets, legislative programs, resolutions, numerous new business items). In addition, such meetings typically see more motions (amend, refer, close … Continue reading

New NC Executive Order Extends Virtual Membership Meetings Through December 29

Membership meetings of North Carolina nonprofit corporations, including homeowner and condominium associations, can continue to be held virtually/electronically for at least the next 60 days. Since September 1, North Carolina’s Phase 2.5 (now 3.0) restrictions have limited indoor meeting attendance to 25 and outdoor attendance to 50 “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or meeting hall.” Such requirements should be taken into account when planning any association in-person membership or board meeting. Executive Order #136 issued by the Governor on April 24, 2020, allowed for nonprofit membership meetings … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: What Phase 3 Means for NC HOAs and Condos

It’s been awhile coming. Today, September 30, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina will move to “Phase 3” with regards to coronavirus restrictions this Friday, October 2 at 5 pm. Some restrictions will remain in place, but others have been loosened. Executive Order #169 covers a host of businesses and activities, but here are some highlights for North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations: General Recommendations. Those at risk of severe illness from COVI-19 (individuals 65 years or older or those with serious underlying medical conditions) are encouraged to stay home. Restrictions on gatherings. Executive Order #169 maintains … 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

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