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NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 22, 2017

I’m asked frequently about the status of proposals filed this session in the General Assembly that, if adopted, would directly impact North Carolina HOAs and condominium associations. The “crossover deadline” (the date on which a bill must have cleared one

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Ask SAM: HOA Woes? (NC)

Q: Our home owners association by-laws state that it is the duty of the president to call a special meeting when 20 percent or more of members present him with a written request. A request was delivered by certified mail.

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Communities for Those 55 Years of Age or Older

Recently we have been approached by multiple associations inquiring about making their housing community one that is restricted to those residents that are 55 years of age or older. The ability and requirements for establishing or becoming a housing community

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Service Animals And Your Condominium Or Community Association

As a professional community manager for the past two decades, I have seen a rapid growth in the number of service animals within condominium and community associations.  Currently, about 79.7 million households – or 65 percent of all households in

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What NC Community Associations Need to Know about Fair Debt Collection

Nearly all Community Associations (“Associations”) must cope with owners who fail or refuse to pay their periodic assessments (also known as “Dues”). When this happens, the Association, typically acting through its property manager, may first attempt to collect the delinquent

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What NC Community Associations Need to Know about Fair Debt Collection

Nearly all Community Associations (“Associations”) must cope with owners who fail or refuse to pay their periodic assessments (also known as “Dues”). When this happens, the Association, typically acting through its property manager, may first attempt to collect the delinquent

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Bankruptcy basics for community association boards of directors

Over the last decade, community associations (like other businesses) have been forced to navigate the “Great Recession” and continued recovery. The “Great Recession” brought with it a significant increase in the number of personal bankruptcy filings across the country. Even

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Good Collection Practices Protect Lifeblood of Community Associations

Assessments are the lifeblood of every community association. For most associations, it is the sole source of income to pay for common expenses. Therefore, having tools and good practices to maximize collection of assessments are vital not just to survive

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Well-Informed Community Associations Make For Happier Residents

Being involved with a condominium or community association can sometimes make you feel like a Jack-of-all-trades.  Homeowners often expect professional managers and community volunteers – officers and board and committee members – to know something about, well, just about everything.

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Challenging the Chairman of a Meeting

Have you ever been at a meeting that you did not believe was being run properly? Is the chair ruling every motion out of order? Were you unsure on what you could do or did you feel like there was

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Do You Know Who Your Registered Agent Is? (NC)

North Carolina corporations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, must have a registered agent name filed with the NC Secretary of State. Planned communities (i.e., homeowner associations) created on or after January 1, 1999 by statute must be incorporated. And almost all

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Price vs A Job Well Done ~ Managing Maintenance Issues in a Homeowners Association

One of the largest questions we get at Key CMI is about managing maintenance issues in a Homeowners Association scenario. Has your board of directors ever embarked on a significant community project, and once completed, it became evident the quality

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Failure to Hold Formal HOA Board Votes Dooms Two Charlotte HOAs (NC)

There are times in the practice of homeowners’ association law when courts make rulings with which we as attorneys disagree but where an underlying principle or best practice is affirmed. A prime example is the N.C. Court of Appeals’ opinion

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What your HOA Board Needs to Know Before You Attempt to Change Your Restrictive Covenants.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently rendered an opinion reiterating that all amendments to the restrictive covenants (“CCRs”) governing a planned community must be reasonable. As background, the existing law is that amendments to the CCRs must be reasonable

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How to Maximize Votes at a Homeowner’s Association Meeting or Election (NC)

Many HOAs and condominium associations have annual meetings coming up this time of year, or special meetings to amend their covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CCRs”) or bylaws. What is the best way to collect the votes your HOA needs to

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10 Ways to Shorten Your Board Meetings

Considering a board meeting that is too brief will not cover essential details and a meeting that is too long will exhaust all members involved, it is crucial to find the right balance. 60 to 90 minutes is generally an

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Social Media and Community Associations

If you live in a community association, serve on its board or manage a community association, you probably have to deal with social media. Gone, for the most part, are neighborhood newsletters sent out through the mail, or simple notifications

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HOAs/Condominiums Want to Know: What is a Transfer Fee in North Carolina?

A common question that we get from developers, managers, and HOA Boards is “what exactly is a transfer fee?”  Although the term “transfer fee” is often used loosely to mean several different things, state statute defines the term generally to

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Can HOA committee members be compensated? (NC)

Q: I am the chairperson for the social committee of my homeowners association (HOA). Our bylaws state that the HOA compensates committee chair positions by waiving their annual HOA assessments, after serving a full year on the committee. The members

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No Ifs, Ands, or Butts: Regulating Smoking Within Community Associations

The past twenty years have seen a dramatic uptick in the regulation of smoking, as dozens of states and hundreds of cities and counties have enacted laws making designated public places “smoke-free.” For its part, the North Carolina legislature passed

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Fire Safety Education for Your Neighborhood

When it comes to having a safe and peaceful community, it is the responsibility of everyone in the community to do their part to keep themselves and others safe. That is why education is so important in a close environment.

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The End of the Age of “Mad Men”

The past twenty years have seen a dramatic uptick in the regulation of smoking, as dozens of states and hundreds of cities and counties have enacted laws making designated public places “smoke-free”.  For its part, the North Carolina legislature passed

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Spotting and Stopping Fraud and Embezzlement in Your HOA

Fraud and embezzlement can cause a homeowners’ association’s (“HOA”) board of directors a lot of time, money, and energy. So how can the board prevent potential fraud or embezzlement before it occurs? The solutions are simple but often overlooked. The

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Lesson Learned: What North Carolina Management Companies Should be Thinking About

In a recent post on a South Carolina Supreme Court case from just a few weeks ago I provided a quick breakdown of things that management companies in South Carolina must not do. As always, lessons learned from different jurisdictions

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HOA / Condo Budgets and Increased NC Sales Taxes

Benjamin Franklin said that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” As community association attorneys, we’re not CPAs. And every association has different circumstances. Having said that, it is almost certain that due

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How to Handle HOA/Condo Board Member Resignations (NC)

From time to time we receive questions regarding the resignation of directors, term expiration and what to do in the event of a mass resignation by the existing board. The North Carolina Planning Community Act, Condominium Act, and the Non-Profit

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E-mail Intelligence – Does Your Board Possess it?

Today, I am discussing the pros and cons of homeowners’ association (HOA) board members and managers using email for community correspondence, and how to craft a sound email policy for your association.  Board members, managers and association residents are no

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What is a Community Association? Unwrapping the Riddle

There are approximately 14,000 planned communities located throughout North Carolina, but very few of the nearly 3 million residents of such communities have a clear understanding of what the heck the community association really is that serves their planned community

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E-mail Intelligence – Does Your Board Possess it?

Today, I am discussing the pros and cons of homeowners’ association (HOA) board members and managers using email for community correspondence, and how to craft a sound email policy for your association.  Board members, managers and association residents are no

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What to Do When It’s Tax Time for Your Association

It’s that time of year again. Tax time. And your Not-For-Profit Organization is no exception. Not-For-Profit organizations are considered a business and therefore obligated to file taxes like any other corporation. You can contact a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or

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How to Grow Veggies at Your Apartment or Condo

No access to land for growing a vegetable garden? No problem. You can still grow a vegetable and herb garden, enjoying all the benefits of gardening without the added cost and maintenance of a large outdoor garden bed. Perfect for

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The Importance Of Protecting Your Association’s Money

One of the most important responsibilities of a property or condominium association board of directors is protecting the association’s funds. In doing so, it is important for the board of directors and management company (if you are professionally managed) to

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Written Ballot vs. Proxies

Planned communities and condominiums (I’ll refer to both types of communities as community associations) are very much like small countries. The board of directors is the government, the declaration, bylaws, and rules serve as the constitution (along with a few

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Methods of Collecting Assessments from Members

In order to perform their duties and fulfill their obligations, community associations must collect assessments from their members. With the exception of a fortunate few, most community associations must deal with members who either refuse to pay their assessments or

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Use of Technology by Community Associations

Technology makes most of our lives easier, and so it makes sense that community associations would choose to employ certain technological advances in the performance of their obligations.  There are many possibilities for the use of technology in community associations. 

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Amending Your Planned Community’s Declaration (NC)

Recently I have received a lot of questions from homeowners associations in planned communities regarding declaration amendments. Most of the questions are about procedure, member approval, and challenges to the amendment by members – basically, “are we doing this the

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Leverage Shift: Community Associations Facing Developer Transition Benefit From Court of Appeals’ Decision (NC)

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion that should make it easier for owners associations to pursue remedies against developers if they discover construction defects in the common elements after control of the association is transferred from

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Independent Contractor or Employee?

Many owners’ associations, especially the larger associations, pay workers to perform certain tasks for the benefit of the community. The kind of tasks these workers may perform ranges from landscaping, maintenance, and construction to teaching classes and operating recreational facilities.

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New Sales Tax Legislation Affects Property Owners Associations

A recent North Carolina Sales Tax law has a direct impact on the budget of just about every property owners association.On July 1, the state legislature passed House Bill 1030 – Current Operations and Capital Improvements Appropriations Act of 2016,

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Assessment Issues; Does Developer Owe Dues?

Q: I was delinquent in my mortgage payments and was facing foreclosure. I also had a separate lien against my property for nonpayment of HOA dues. Fortunately, I was able to sell my home via a “short sale.” In connection

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The Pros and Cons of Living in Gated Communities

The 2001 American Housing Survey reported that 4+ million homes in America are in a gated community. Considering the growing popularity of gated communities and the passing of over 15 years, we can only assume that several more have been

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The Attorney Client Privilege in Community Associations

Few legal concepts rival the complexities surrounding the attorney?client privilege in community association matters. The confusion about these complexities, and the resulting misunderstandings, do not discriminate, roping in attorneys, board members, members, and managers alike. This article will shed some

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Who Is Responsible For That Fallen Tree?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew many of us are dealing with damage caused by fallen trees. In planned communities, the question of responsibility for damage caused by fallen trees is often posed to the owners association. Although it is

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Don’t Delay: No Change in the December 1, 2016 Deadline for Compliance with the Department of Labor’s Final Rule on Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to pay employees at the rate of one and half times their regular rate for each hour an employee works beyond forty (40) in a work week. However, the FLSA does provide

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4 tips for a smoother HOA budget process (NC)

Yes, it’s that time of year again for HOAs. No, not the holidays, it’s budget season! Most HOAs use the calendar year as their fiscal year, and now is the time of year many boards of directors are formulating their

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3 Ways HOA Management is Changing With the Times

While there are some ways HOA management will always remain the same, the rise of technology and online communities in the last several years is changing certain processes for how HOA management companies can increase the quality of homeowners associations.

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What’s So Special About Special Meetings? A Brief Look Into Special Meetings of Property Owner Associations

All North Carolina property owner associations are required by law to have regular meetings of the Board of Directors (“Board”) and at least one annual membership meeting to discuss and transact certain association business. But what about those items that

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Must HOA’s act to end discriminatory actions by others?

A few years ago one of our HOA clients came to us with a discrimination lawsuit that had been filed against them by the local housing agency. Apparently a group of homeowners had started a Facebook page using the HOA’s

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Political Signs in NC & SC Associations

With a month to go before a major political election, questions about political signs are rolling in. Can we do something about political signs on association property? How many signs can an owner have in his yard? Can the association

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Maximizing Votes at an HOA Meeting or Election

Many HOAs and condominium associations have annual meetings coming up this time of year, or special meetings to amend their covenants, conditions and restrictions (“CCRs”) or bylaws. What is the best way to collect the votes your HOA needs to

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