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Virginia Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 3, 2012
  • Court must provide ‘concise but clear explanation’ for reduced fee award (VA)
    A trial court’s failure to explain its reduction of attorneys’ fees awarded to the plaintiffs — who substantially prevailed in litigation against a homeowners’ association — resulted in the Virginia Court of Appeals remanding the case for reconsideration.   Read the article…………………………….
  • How to do battle with your homeowners association
    Homeowners’ Associations, also known as HOAs, are often necessary and helpful — especially in multi-unit dwellings or communities with a lot of common areas — but if you poll your neighbors about whether they enjoy living in one, you’ll likely receive mixed reviews.   Read the article……………………………….
  • ‘Grossly out of proportion’: HOA can’t tear down noncompliant homes (VA)
    The Western District of Virginia held that it would be “grossly out of proportion” to allow a homeowner’s association, or HOA, to destroy three homes that were built without approval of its architectural review board that didn’t exist at the time.   Read the article…………………………………
  • Court won’t order owners to destroy houses (VA)
    Where a homeowners’ association argued the court should order homeowners to tear down houses allegedly built in violation of the association’s covenants and restrictions, the court refused. Demolition of their homes would be grossly out of proportion with the relief sought.    Read the article………………………………..
  • Lender Questionnaires and Management Contracts (VA)
    In an effort to keep you up to date on changes in the law and regulations, in this edition we want to update you on lender questionnaires for condominium communities and a new law regarding the termination of association management contracts.    Read the article………………………………..
  • The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA)’s Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements: What Do Community Associations Need to Know?
    In 2021, Congress passed a law to create more transparency as to the individuals that control organizations and corporate entities. The Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), adopted in 2021, may begin affecting community associations on January 1st, 2024. Pursuant to the CTA, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) has enacted a new rule to primarily combat money laundering, tax fraud and the financing of terrorism. While both problems seem far removed from the operations of community associations, FinCEN’s regulations appear to cover most community associations and their directors and officers in newly adopted reporting requirements.   Read the article……………………………
  • EV Charging For Multifamily Properties: Demand, Implementation, And Planning Pitfalls
    There is a growing demand for EV charging for multifamily housing developments across the nation. These charging stations can serve as incentives to attract potential residents and buyers. It also helps multifamily housing developments maintain a sustainable community.   Read the article…………………………………
  • EV Chargers In Fairfax County: The Pilot Program And More Details (VA)
    There is a pilot program for EV chargers in Fairfax County that encourages the use of electric vehicles. The county is adopting this program to promote sustainability and economic prosperity in Fairfax while limiting greenhouse gas emissions. It’s working with condominium and homeowners associations and large, multi-family apartment buildings to realize its vision.    Read the article……………………………..
  • Are HOA Rental Restrictions In Virginia Legal?
    It is not uncommon to encounter HOA rental restrictions in Virginia. However, homeowners may question whether such restrictions are valid and enforceable. After all, homeowners sometimes purchase properties intending to rent them out. And an association’s limitations on rentals can interfere with that.     Read the article………………………………
  • What Is The Memorandum Of And Judgment Lien In Virginia?
    Homeowners associations can typically secure a judgment lien in Virginia in an attempt to collect unpaid dues from members. However, many homeowners don’t understand what judgment liens are. Some even question whether or not HOAs have the authority to impose such a lien. On the flip side, some board members don’t know how judgment liens work and, thus, impose them incorrectly.   Read the article………………………..
  • Tips for Amending Governing Documents (VA)
    The governing documents of a community association include the recorded covenants (often called the declaration, deed of restrictions, CC&Rs, etc.), bylaws and, if the association is an incorporated entity, its articles of incorporation. The governing documents and applicable law, such as the Virginia property owners’ association, condominium and nonstock corporation acts, may also establish authority for the association to adopt, promulgate and enforce rules, regulations and policies to assist with governance of the association and its members.     Read the article………………………..
  • What to do if the Association is Sued
    One of the most frustrating issues a community association board of directors has to deal with is what to do if the association, the board, or an individual director is sued. It is the duty of the board to act in the best interests of the association and make decisions that are consistent with the association’s governing documents and promote the well-being of the community. Despite a board’s best-efforts, instances may arise where the association or directors may be sued by an individual or group   Read the article………………………..
  • Court says man can keep ‘emotional support emu’ in suburbia (VA)
    A Virginia man was allowed to keep his emotional support emu after the trial judge found that the exotic bird was a “companion animal” rather than “livestock” under the municipal and state codes.   Read the article………………………..
  • Virginia HOA Foreclosures: What VA HOA Homeowners Should Know
    Virginia HOA foreclosures are a possible consequence that homeowners may face should they fail to pay their dues. Believe it or not, members of an HOA risk losing their homes when they default on their payments, with the association taking possession of the home and auctioning it off to satisfy outstanding debts. Here’s what you need to know if you’re a homeowner living in an HOA community in Virginia.    Read the article………………………..
  • Virginia HOA Laws
    Most states have laws that govern homeowners associations and condominium associations. Virginia is one of them. A few Virginia HOA laws can affect the operations and management of an HOA or condo association, though. And it is part of the association board’s job to familiarize themselves with these laws to ensure compliance and protection from liability.   Read the article………………………..
  • Covenant Enforcement and the Automatic Bankruptcy Stay (VA)
    Little can be more frustrating to an association than when a non-compliant homeowner files for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws are complex, and navigating them can be a challenge even for the most sophisticated managers. One of the broadest protections for homeowners that file bankruptcy is the “automatic stay.”   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Virginia Legislative Changes Affecting Community Associations
    The Virginia General Assembly had a busy 2023 session that involved consideration of proposals for new laws that would impact community associations, some of which were passed by both houses and ultimately signed into law by Governor Youngkin. Highlights of the laws, which take effect on July 1, 2023 are discussed below.  Read the article………………………..
  • Covenant Enforcement and the Automatic Bankruptcy Stay (VA)
    Little can be more frustrating to an association than when a non-compliant homeowner files for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws are complex, and navigating them can be a challenge even for the most sophisticated managers  Read the article………………………..
  • Virginia 2023 Legislative Update for Common Interest Communities
    The Virginia General Assembly approved a number of bills during its 2023 legislative session. Some of the bills impact, directly or indirectly, common interest communities. The Governor of Virginia signed the following bills into law and the new laws will take effect on July 1, 2023. We have outlined the legislative action taken by the Virginia General Assembly that we believe most directly affect both homeowners and condominium associations.  Read the article………………………..
  • Significant Court of Appeals Decisions Impact Association Authority (VA)
    Two recent decisions from the Court of Appeals of Virginia underscore the need to closely review an association’s governing documents for recorded covenants, either monetary or nonmonetary, that association boards wish to enforce. In particular, the Court of Appeals has now addressed boards spending associations’ assessments on services unrelated to common areas (or presumptively common elements), and assigning parking spaces to unit owners using revocable licenses.    Read the article………………………..
  • HOA not necessary party in title insurance dispute (VA)
    Where a title insurer was sued because of a dispute over who holds title to certain real estate, the homeowners’ association who currently owns the property was not a necessary party. The dispute could be resolved based on the various insurance documents and title binders before the court.   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Virginia Legislative Update Adjournment and Passage
    Throughout the legislative session, the 15-member CAI Virginia Legislative Action Committee (“Virginia LAC”), of which Chadwick Washington’s own Jerry Wright is a member, closely monitored forty-three bills that were identified as having a potential impact on planned communities. Of those bills, only three bills directly impacting community associations were adopted     Read the article………………………..
  • Love it or Hate it, Your Community’s Governing Documents Reign Supreme
    The host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently made waves by criticizing common ownership community standards and enforcement actions. What John Oliver failed to mention is that associations not only have a right to regulate and enforce their governing documents, but an obligation to do so and residents have an obligation to comply.   Read the article………………………..
  • Parking space dispute correctly resolved (VA)
    Where appellant condominium association reallocated parking spaces, the trial court correctly concluded that appellant breached its contract with appellee and violated Virginia’s Condominium Act and a county zoning law.   Read the article………………………..
  • HOAs Inadvertently Caught in Federal Crossfire: Ten Things You Need to Know About Community Associations and the Corporate Transparency Act
    It’s easy to forget that community associations are corporations—and yet, today most community associations are incorporated. Community associations are subject to their state’s corporate statutes; but soon, they will be subject to the federal Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) too.  Read the article………………………..
  • Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys! Or… Is it? Condominium Casualty Losses and Insurance Issues (VA)
    The following scenario is all too familiar for many who live in or manage a condominium: a pipe bursts in a unit, water is everywhere, panic ensues, with all those affected looking to the association to both stop the water leak and make the repairs. The initial instinct on the part of the association may be to treat this as a “unit-to-unit” problem on the grounds that it is a unit casualty loss that did not originate in the common elements. Oh, and filing a claim on the association’s master insurance policy for the damage to Units – out of question!    Read the article………………………..
  • Legal SPF: Summer Protection For Community Associations (VA)
    We are on the cusp of Spring, which means Summer is just around the corner. And pool season is the hallmark of Summer. In addition to securing a pool service contractor and/or lifeguards, community associations should consider the broad spectrum of responsibilities and measures related to the pool. Below is our suggested checklist of items for community associations to review well before the start of pool season for maximum protection.   Read the article………………………..
  • Virginia Appellate Court Rules HOA Compliance Inspection Fees Violate State Law
    The Court of Appeals of Virginia recently ruled that a homeowner association (HOA) violated Virginia law by imposing an annual fee for inspecting each property owner’s lot to ensure that it complied with the HOA’s rules.  Read the article………………………..
  • Appeals court: HOA inspection fees unlawful (VA)
    A challenge to inspection fees assessed by a homeowners’ association in a large development has succeeded after the Court of Appeals of Virginia found that the individual fees weren’t expressly authorized by the association’s declaration.   Read the article………………………..
  • Condo association’s lot inspection fee invalid (VA)
    Where a statute provides fees and charges must be authorized expressly by statute or a condo association’s “declaration,” appellee condo association’s annual lot inspection fee is invalid because the fee is not authorized by the declaration and does not relate to common area use.   Read the article………………………..
  • Common Interest Community Board Updates Resale Disclosure Fees (VA)
    The resale disclosure statutes set forth in the Virginia Condominium Act (“Condo Act”) and the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (“POA Act”) establish certain maximum charges that can be assessed for preparing the requisite disclosure documents when an owner sells his condominium unit or lot in a common interest community association.   Read the article………………………..
  • Addressing the Epidemic of Bad Behavior
    Across our client base, we have been witnessing an apparent uptick in incidents of bad behavior by community association owners and residents. Here are some examples:   Read the article………………………..
  • Can My HOA Do That?! The benefits — and drawbacks — of Homeowners’ Associations
    The story goes like this: A homeowner’s association (HOA) told a homeowner that a dead tree had to be removed. The homeowner had professionals come and remove the tree, and then received a fine from the HOA because the homeowner hadn’t gotten permission from the HOA to remove the tree.   Read the article………………………..
  • Condo rules for animals vary widely
    When my clients are considering the purchase of a condominium or cooperative, they initially have three association guidelines on their minds: the rental policy, the renovation policy, and the pet policy.   Read the article………………………..
  • IN VIRGINIA MEMBERS SHOULD HAVE TWO WAYS TO COMPLAIN – (BUT WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE HOLIDAYS!)
    We have observed that there are some association boards which are not aware of a distinction between state law requirements and necessary internal procedures for complaints. In this article we distinguish between the process to be followed for a complaint concerning a violation of state law or regulations vs. a complaint about the actions of a unit owner or other resident of the association which violates the declaration, bylaws or rules and regulations.   Read the article………………………..
  • But My Constitutional Rights?! (VA)
    Among the criticisms often levied at community associations is a claim that boards of directors cannot infringe on residents’ Constitutional rights. With Bill of Rights Day being celebrated on December 15th, marking the anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution in 1791, now is a timely opportunity to consider the legitimacy of this argument with respect to board rulemaking authority in common interest communities.   Read the article………………………..
  • Regulating Holiday Displays
    Regulating holiday displays can be a tricky topic and association boards of directors are well advised to keep certain things in mind when dealing with it. With the holiday season upon us now is a great time to brush up on some important principles when it comes to adopting and enforcing rules regulating the display of holiday lighting and decorations.   Read the article………………………..
  • 2022 Virginia Legislative Update for Common Interest Communities
    The Virginia General Assembly only approved a few bills during its 2022 legislative session that impact, directly or indirectly, common interest communities. The Governor of Virginia signed the following bills into law in March and the new laws will take effect on July 1, 2022.   Read the article………………………..
  • Dealing With Electric Vehicle Charging in Your Association (VA)
    As the popularity of electric vehicles increases the time is here for associations to focus on charging stations and individual charging at the owner’s residence. Virginia statutes require associations to permit electric vehicle charging unless their documents prohibit it. Of course, most documents don’t deal with the topic at all although newer documents certainly will. There are various issues to consider relative to electric vehicle charging.   Read the article………………………..
  • Can Board of Directors assign parking spaces in common areas? (VA)
    Occasionally we have inquiries regarding the authority of an Association exercised by the Board of Directors to assign parking spaces located in the common areas for the exclusive use of particular unit or lot owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Civility in an Uncivil World
    Over the past few years, some aspects of customary, socially correct behavior has seemed to regress or at times even disappear. From leaders in the highest offices to our most beloved celebrities, we can read about name-calling, blaming, threats, and even outright violence.   Read the article………………………..
  • What is Boilerplate Anyway? (VA)
    If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times – the general terms at the end of an agreement being referred to as “boilerplate” provisions, a phrase that misleadingly suggests that these provisions are of lesser importance. As it turns out, both the original boilerplates and the modern-day contract provisions that carry the same name need to be carefully crafted to protect the people using them.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condo Insurance? Why Do I Need That?
    If you own or are looking to own a condominium unit, you will find a requirement by the lender for you to purchase condominium insurance. Condominium insurance, or condo insurance, is required by the lender. It ensures that the inside of your unit will remain in the same condition as it is when the lender approves the loan for you to purchase the unit.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 8 Characteristics of a Great Board/Management Company Relationship
    There are seminal moments in our lives and careers. One of mine was circa 1985. I bumped into a board member of a condominium for whom my maintenance company had completed some projects. The question she asked me that lovely spring day on a bustling city sidewalk 35 years or so ago changed the way I approached business and I am certain it led to both my entry and inevitable exit from the community management business…   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The “Validation Notice” and Complying with New FDCPA Regulations
    If your association refers delinquent accounts to our firm (or any other law firm or collection agency), you may notice a few changes to debt collection policies and procedures, such as references in collection status reports to sending a “validation notice” as the first written communication sent to a debtor. Why? Because on November 30, 2021, new federal regulations went into effect that govern how debt collectors must comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when attempting to collect consumer debt   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Updated: Virginia Property Owners Association Act 2021
    In Virginia, homeowners associations are governed by the Virginia Property Owners Association Act. Condominiums, on the other hand, follow the Virginia Condominium Act. Legislators recently passed numerous bills affecting these two statutes.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 6 Steps for Reviewing and Revising Your Association Rules & Regulations (VA)
    STEP 1 – The board of directors should establish an ad hoc committee on rules to periodically review and suggest changes (not make changes!). STEP 2 – Those suggestions would be reviewed by the association manager with comments being given to the committee and the board of directors.       Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Discrimination complaints in your neighborhood
    The fight began one evening over Mr. X not cleaning his dog’s feces from the common element sidewalk of ABC condominium. Mr. Y stepped in it – and fourteen months worth of fighting, board hearings and a federal Fair Housing complaint ensued. The disagreement between Mr. X and Mr. Y escalated far beyond the bathroom habits of a small dog.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Legal Counsel’s Two Cents on Community Association Budget Considerations (VA)
    It is that time of year. Summer vacations are in the books, schools are in session, and pumpkin spice lattes are back on tap. These signs of Fall also mean many Virginia community associations are in budget season.  Community association boards rely on their budget committees, management team, accountants, auditors, and/or reserve specialists for input to create a proposed budget. As a supplement, there are a few line items we think Virginia community associations should consider from a legal perspective      Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Virginia Fair Housing Law and Community Associations: Procedural Background and Best Practices in Handling Complaints
    Many people are generally familiar with the concept that housing providers, real estate agents, and property management companies are subject to state and federal fair housing laws. However, it is important to know that community associations are also subject to those laws. State fair housing laws vary from state to state. These laws typically set forth a statutory procedure for the resolution of complaints of violations of those laws.   Read the entire article……………………………….
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