New Release: AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, SECOND Edition

If your organization follows The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (often referred to as “Sturgis”), or the AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, or you simply want to learn more about parliamentary practices at meetings, there’s a new book to check out: the American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Second Edition. Stay with me here for some necessary background– Originally by Alice Sturgis, The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure was first released in 1950 as a simpler alternative to the Robert’s Rules of Order of its time. The Standard Code had fewer motions, updated archaic terms, modernized … Continue reading

Ground Leases- A New (?) Path to Home Ownership

Within the last several months, community association attorneys in North Carolina have begun to see a new scenario with their clients: the ground lease.  Usually, when someone purchases a lot, they own the lot and any structures on that lot, such as a home, outbuildings, or landscaping installations. However, we are now seeing situations where someone purchases a lot, but only leases the home and other structures on the lot (the “Improvements”) for some long period with an option to buy at the end.  The duration of these leases is variable, but often extends to periods as long as 99 … Continue reading

What Is a Reserve Study and Why Is It Important for My Association?

Community associations play a crucial role in maintaining the quality of life and property values. They oversee a wide range of responsibilities, from maintaining common areas to enforcing community rules and regulations. One often underappreciated but critical aspect of appropriate association management is long-term financial planning. One of the most valuable tools for ensuring a sound financial future for your association is the reserve study. In this article, we will discuss why community associations in North Carolina should prioritize conducting regular reserve studies, and what role the community’s attorney plays in that process. The Importance of Financial Planning for Community … Continue reading

Is It Okay for Our Association to Have a Social Budget?

For many community associations, it is either the middle of budgeting season, or they have just completed this financial review period for the coming year. Budgets include many categories, including maintenance, landscaping, legal, accounting, and management expenses. But what about a line item for social? Is a social budget appropriate or even allowed under the governing documents?  I have been told that I like to use the phrase “it depends”, and that would hold true here. If your association is organized for more limited functions, such as maintaining the private road and street lights, there may not be authority to … Continue reading

Support Your South Carolina Community Associations Institute (CAI) Legislative Action Committee

I am sometimes asked about the South Carolina chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and the Legislative Action Committee.  First, to make it easier, we usually refer to it as the “SC-LAC.”  The SC-LAC is a diverse group of homeowner leaders, community managers, and business partners who work hard to protect and advance association communities and their interests at the state legislative level in Columbia. Each legislative session there are bills proposed that impact the functioning, operation, and well-being of community associations and their business partners.  In the most recent legislative session, the SC-LAC provided testimony at hearings related … Continue reading

Keys to Effective Homeowner Association (HOA) Leadership

I recently facilitated an election at a contentious HOA meeting.  The lone board member called a special meeting to fill the vacant board seats and she was concerned it would not go smoothly due to conflict amongst the members.  Her first brilliant move was to consult an attorney for advice on how to properly notice and conduct the election and her second smart move was to have us facilitate the meeting.  Having a neutral parliamentarian or HOA attorney lead the meeting diminishes any concern about impropriety and also removes the board member(s) from the hot seat.  I am happy to … Continue reading

Legislative Update September 25, 2023 – House Bill 542 Adopted by Senate, Now in Conference Committee

The question I’ve been asked most often this summer by association board members and industry professionals has been “What’s going on with House Bill 542?” There’s not been an easy answer. That’s because the provisions in the legislation have been such a moving target. On the NC General Assembly website, you’ll see four editions of the bill. Each adds a host of new requirements for North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations. Not listed on the website are at least eight prior “drafts” of HB 542, as different proposals were floated and either added or dropped from the proposed legislation following … Continue reading

What Is the “Corporate Transparency Act” and Why It Matters to Your Association and Directors

For the past year, community association attorneys have been discussing the impact of the CTA (Corporate Transparency Act). Much of the discussion has been on whether the Act does or does not apply to homeowner and condominium associations. As the effective date of the law is January 1, 2024 (with first reports being due no later than January 1, 2025), the need for clear answers has become more pressing. What Is the CTA? The Corporate Transparency Act was enacted in 2021 as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. In short, the Act is intended to stop foreign actors … Continue reading

5 Law Firm Carolinas Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America

Five attorneys at Law Firm Carolinas have been named to the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Carole Albright, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, has been recognized in the practice of Family Law. Keith Black, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, has been recognized in the practices of Family Law and Family Law Mediation. Steven Black, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Residential Real Estate, has been recognized in the practice of Real Estate Law and Community Association (HOA and condo) Law. Jim Slaughter has been recognized in the practices … Continue reading

Lights, Camera, Lawsuit! Your Property, Common Property, and Intellectual Property

Movies and music provide immense amounts of joy and entertainment to people all over the world. Collectively, the movie and music industries are worth upwards of twelve figures in revenue in a single year (for those of you counting the zeros on your hands at home . . . that’s north of $100,000,000,000.00 a year!). Much like you may be protective of your property and your homeowner’s association may be protective of its common property, it is understandable that those in the movie and music industry are also extremely protective of their property. When most people hear the word “property” … Continue reading

Fourth Circuit Makes Ruling on Attorneys’ Fees Amount

Under North Carolina law, parties entering into loan agreements may specify an amount for attorneys’ fees, in the event that one of the parties breaches or there is a default. The prescribed amount of attorneys’ fees may be up to 15% of the amount owed under the terms of the loan agreement. Frequently, the loan agreement is silent about the specific amount of attorney’s and the agreement simply states that the breaching party shall be responsible for “all reasonable fees and expenses.” The applicable statute defines “reasonable” as 15%. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (which … Continue reading

Can Boards Make Decisions By Email?

Recently, a question came up on a national nonprofit list serve about whether boards can and/or should make decisions through unanimous consent by email. Here was my response.   “Since this is a national question and I’m only licensed in North Carolina, what follows is not specific legal advice. Instead, let me provide a general discussion based on my many years of assisting boards as a parliamentarian and attorney. Most states have adopted some version of the model Nonprofit Corporation Act from the American Bar Association. The most recent is the Fourth Edition, but few states have moved to that. Membership … Continue reading

Legislative Update June 27, 2023 – House Bill 542 Adopted by Senate Judiciary Committee

Legislative proposals are always in flux. However, since I previously reported on HB 542 and other bills impacting community associations, I wanted to share that HB 542 (“HOA Revisions/Foreclosure Trustee Auctions”) was passed by the Senate Judiciary committee yesterday and will likely be voted upon by the entire Senate before long. Various stakeholders and legislators are working on the proposals. The bill as currently written would drastically change North Carolina community association law. The following provisions would apply to all HOAs and condos, whenever created, and whether the association is under the control of the developer or the homeowners: The … Continue reading

Meister, Slaughter & Marshall Recognized

Law Firm Carolinas Partner Adam Marshall was a presenter at the Community Association Institute’s (CAI) 2023 Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. The conference was attended by over 2,600 community managers, homeowner board members, leaders and business partners from 44 states and 10 countries. Marshall and Augustus Shaw, IV, Esq. of Arizona, presented on “Navigating Board Officer Responsibilities and Avoiding Conflict.” Marshall was also recently appointed by the Greensboro City Council to the Greensboro ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) Board. Marshall has previously served on the Greensboro Human Relations Commission and Greensboro Board of Adjustment as well as Chair of the Greensboro Zoning Commission and … Continue reading

City of Greensboro Adopts New Short Term Rental Ordinance

At the May 23rd special City Council meeting, the Council adopted new regulations to govern and regulate short term rentals in Greensboro.  Previously the City did not have provisions within their ordinance that directly spoke to short term rentals.  As we are all aware, short term rentals are prevalent and are a growing sector of any local rental economy. Under the new ordinance, which will go into effect on January 1, 2024, a short term rental is defined as “the rental (for a fee or other valuable consideration) of a portion or all of available bedrooms of a residentially used … Continue reading

New South Carolina Law Allows Virtual Meetings for HOAs and Condos

In a follow up to a recent article, House Bill 4049 has now passed both the SC House and the Senate and was signed into law on Friday, May 19, 2023, by the governor. In short, the new law will open the door for most homeowners associations and condominiums in South Carolina to allow remote member participation and to conduct virtual membership meetings. This bill will also allow those with health concerns to more easily participate in their association’s meetings.  The decision whether to do so, and what conditions may apply for doing so, would be within the discretion of … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – May 9, 2023

Thursday, May 4, was the “crossover deadline” in the NC General Assembly. That’s the date bills not related to taxes or spending must have passed one chamber to be eligible for consideration during the 2023-2024 legislative session. CAVEAT: In terms of legislation, “dead” doesn’t always mean “completely dead.” A News & Observer story once noted that legislative rules “are made to be circumvented, so there are many ways to keep legislation alive.” (For instance, proposals sometimes appear later in other bills as “technical corrections.”) With the crossover deadline behind us, now is a good time to revisit my last legislative update (NC … Continue reading

SC Community Association Legislative Update – May 8, 2023

With the winding up of the SC Legislative session fast approaching, the deadline for bills to be introduced has now passed, and it is time to look at where things are now that the dust has settled. South Carolina saw several proposed bills potentially affecting homeowners associations and condominiums filed. As of this writing, one of those bills is on its way to likely becoming law, while a couple of others have at least garnered the attention of many legislators. With the crossover deadline behind us, now is a good time to see which bills are still active that could … Continue reading

Two Pending NC Bills Would Significantly Change Association Governance and Practice

Law Firm Carolinas partner Harmony Taylor serves on the NC Legislative Action Committee (NC-LAC), a committee of the Community Associations Institute. The NC-LAC monitors and makes recommendations on legislation that affects community associations, and its members talk with legislators on issues of concern to HOAs and condos. The NC-LAC has allowed the firm to share the following update on two proposals of interest. The legislature continues to consider a number of laws this session which would significantly impact community associations in North Carolina. HB 542 has been referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House. HB 551 … Continue reading