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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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HOA Financial Tips for New Board Members

Becoming a new member of an HOA board is an exciting time. You’re put in an important and exciting position to make decisions for your community. It might be overwhelming at the beginning, but the benefits are great. And one

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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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Choosing association attorney is important decision

Selection of association legal counsel is one of the most important decisions a community association board of directors will make. Engaging legal counsel can have long-term implications for your community. Getting the best possible attorney for the association will have

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Should Your Condo Association Offer Short-Term Rentals?

Things are being changed around in the condo association industry now that we have services like Airbnb that offer short-term rentals. With these types of platforms, it’s fairly easy for property owners to rent out their spaces to travelers who

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New Services Help Associations Thwart Unauthorized Short-Term Rentals

The problem of short-term rentals with the help of Airbnb and other similar websites in violation of community association rules has quickly become one of the most pressing issues facing associations today. Even though Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO claim they

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How to Handle Aggression Against HOA Board Members

Ideally, all HOA board meetings would be organized, calm, and simple. However, that’s not usually how life works when you manage a homeowners association. With many homeowners comes many opinions, and there is usually one owner who believes their opinion

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The North Carolina Court of Appeals Says… Not Much in its Recent HOA Cases

As homeowners’ association and commercial real estate attorneys, we typically hold our breath when the North Carolina Court of Appeals issues new opinions (“opinions” is the term it uses to refer to its case decisions). While the judges are all

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Sanchez v. Cobblestone Homeowners Ass’n (NC)

In the case of Sanchez v. Cobblestone Homeowners Ass’n of Clayton, Inc. 2016WL4598554 (September 6, 2016), the defendant Cobblestone HOA (HOA) informed plaintiff that her property was not included in the HOA declaration. Accordingly, she was not required to pay

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New Federal Law Eases FHA Restrictions on Condominium Mortgage Loans

Congress has just enacted new legislation on housing that should have a positive effect on condominium mortgage loans. The new law requires the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to loosen the burdensome restrictions that, in recent years,

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Home Owners Associations: Beware of the Fair Housing Act When Enforcing Pet Prohibitions and Restrictions

Associations have restrictions that either prohibit or limit the number, size, and type of pets that can be kept within the community. In general, as long as a restriction prohibiting or limiting pets is clearly drafted, the North Carolina courts

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The Importance of Being More Open with Your HOA Members

Openness and transparency are important tools in most effectively communicating with your HOA community. When you let owners know what’s going on in the association, they are most likely to trust you and understand how the HOA is doing overall,

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Home Owners Associations: Beware of the Fair Housing Act When Enforcing Pet Prohibitions and Restrictions

Many planned communities, townhome communities, and condominiums (collectively, “Associations” since they are nearly universally governed by one) have restrictions that either prohibit or limit the number, size, and type of pets that can be kept within the community. In general,

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Best Practices for Parties and Guests in an HOA

Parties and other opportunities to get everyone together in your homeowners association can be great ways to encourage good will and relationships in the community. However, it’s important to consider how you will handle guests at this time so things

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How to Set Up Emergency Plans in Your HOA Community

No one really wants to think about emergency situations and their consequences. Unfortunately, bad things, including natural disasters like tornadoes or severe thunderstorms, happen when we least expect them. So your board should always have an emergency plan in place

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Transition Your Association From The Developer To The Members

For every association, there is a point when members should take over leadership and control from the developer. An association’s declaration and bylaws will stipulate when the developer is required to turn control of the association over to the members.

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New NC Sales Tax Will Impact Associations Budgets

For those of us that manage associations in NC there was recently a House Bill that was passed that will impact our associations budgets effective 2017. In summary, The NC Dept. of revenue will be taxing certain service providers that

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How To Run A Successful Association Meeting

One of the first things a manager or board should do is review the association’s governing documents for any annual and special membership meeting requirements. Typically, this information will be in the bylaws of your condominium or community association; however,

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Property Owner Association Strategies For Post-Hurricane And Disaster Events (Part 3)

In my previous two articles, I discussed preparation for catastrophic events and post-event site assessment. There are a few final steps to disaster recovery for associations, though, and those are settling the insurance claim and finalizing the cleanup and repair

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Good Independence Day Guidelines for Your HOA

The 4th of July is quickly approaching! If you’re an HOA board member, your community probably has some activities planned for members. While it’s likely set to be a great weekend full of pool time, BBQ food, and a great

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North Carolina HOAs: Post-Catastrophic Disaster Events Guide

If you have a homeowners association in North or South Carolina, it’s important to have a post-hurricane and disaster event plan. Catastrophic events often happen when you are least prepared for them unless you spend some time in advance on

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Property Owner Association Strategies For Post-Hurricane And Disaster Events (Part 2) (NC)

Does your association have a post-hurricane and disaster event plan in place? As I discussed in my last article, preparation is key for property owner associations when it comes to being ready for catastrophic events. But once the event happens,

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Residential Planned Communities and Condominiums: Changing the Rules After the Game has Begun

As Americans, it is in our nature to always look for ways to improve anything and everything affecting our lives, including the cars we buy, the food we eat, and yes, even the organizations to which we belong. It’s no

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Building a Supportive HOA Community

With recent tragedies like the Orlando mass shooting, it’s more important than ever to focus on community in your HOA community. Every homeowners association should strive to make their community a place where neighbors are friendly and peaceful.    Read

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This Stinks! The Minefield Created By Hoarders

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. For those who are members of a condominium or townhome owners’ association, one person’s trash (or treasure) is often another person’s headache. A “hoarder” may be defined as one who accumulates

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Can We Get Rid of All These References to the Declarant?

After members take control of the board of directors of their owners association, they often want to amend their declaration and other governing documents and one of the changes they typically propose is the removal of all references to the

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Is Your HOA or Condo Community Manager Covered by the Attorney-Client Privilege?

For attorneys who practice community association law, there has been ongoing discussion at national HOA/condo legal events about whether a community manager is covered by the attorney-client privilege. In general the attorney-client privilege shields communications between an association and its

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Can HOAs limit the display of political signs? (NC)

With an election year upon us, we’re again getting inquiries from our HOA clients on what, if anything, they can do to limit the size or number of political campaign signs owners can put on their property. The answer depends

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How Do You Make Changes To Your Association’s Governing Documents?

Community and condominium associations are implemented by the developer of the community or condominium. For some associations, this can mean that they are governed by documents that may be quite old, outdated or not the right fit.     Read the

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Increase HOA Communication With a Great Newsletter

Newsletters are one of the least expensive—and most effective—public relations tools that exist for drawing attention to a business or website. Sending out a quality newsletter on a regular basis can help you can keep clients, potential clients, the media,

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Do you have the right homeowners’ insurance coverage?

One local homeowner thought he had purchased the right homeowners insurance. When a fire struck last year, the insurance company declared his house a total loss and paid his policy limit of $200,000. But it cost him $240,000 to rebuild

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How to Get Rid of Apathy in Your HOA

A big challenge faced by HOA boards is getting residents to be more engaged and involved. Resident apathy can be pretty common in homeowners associations. While this can sometimes be normal, it may not always mean that everyone is content

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How to Go Paperless in Your HOA

Everyone knows that going paperless makes a better impact on the environment. But despite that, many homeowners association are still mostly using paper for their documents and communication. It seems the green initiative may not be enough reason for some

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Starting A Landscape Plan As A Property Owners Association

If your association has landscaped common areas, then you should have a grounds maintenance (landscaping) contract for the association in place. The key to being successful long-term with any landscaping plan, and financial investment, is to start out with a

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Homeowners’ associations have right to foreclose (NC)

This week in the Legal Corner, we will explore how one could possibly face losing his or her home for failure to pay homeowners association dues.  Previously, we discussed an HOA’s authority to assess fees and require dues to be

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How to Improve Your HOA’s Written Communication

The key to an effective homeowners association is top-notch communication. That includes correspondence between community members, board members, your homeowners association management company, and vendors.   Read the article………….

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Common Property Owners Association Terms Defined

When it comes to your property owners association, there are a lot of terms that may be new or perhaps not clear. As you look through relevant documents and governing contracts, you have to understand the language used to fully

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Stormwater Rules Get Another Facelift

On February 15, 2016, the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (“EMC”) published proposed changes to various stormwater rules. The public hearing process is currently underway, and the public has through April 18, 2016, to comment on the proposed rules. After

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How to Run Concise HOA Board Meetings

Being on a homeowners association board means volunteering your time for best of your whole community. It can be an incredibly fulfilling role, but it involves dealing with differences in opinion and finding times to get everyone together.   Read the

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Is Your HOA Reserve Fund Being Managed Properly?

How you handle your HOA reserve funds really makes a difference in the successful running of your association. The quality of the strategic planning of your homeowners association can actually make or break your community. It’s also really important to

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Need Help for Bank “Zombie Foreclosures” in Homeowner & Condominium Associations?

A huge problem for HOA and condo associations over the past 5 years has been “zombie foreclosures.” That’s where a bank starts the foreclosure process on a property and the owner moves out, but then the bank doesn’t complete the

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