CAI’s Common Ground Article on Jim Slaughter

The most recent Common Ground from the Community Associations Institute includes an interview with Law Firm Carolinas’ partner Jim Slaughter following his Don Buck Award recognition. The article includes Jim’s thoughts on proposed HOA/condo legislation, what Board members and owners often forget about community associations, and the need for Board members and homeowners who appreciate their associations to better communicate that message.  The one-page article can be found at https://lsc-pagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=20613&i=819074&p=62&ver=html5.

NC House Select Committee on HOAs Files New Bill

As the short session continues and the legislature continues to negotiate House Bill 542 with interested parties, a new bill was introduced on May 1, 2024 by Representatives Frank Iler, Steve Tyson and Ya Liu. House Bill 959, entitled an AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE NORTH CAROLINA CONDOMINIUM ACT AND THE NORTH CAROLINA PLANNED COMMUNITY ACT, TO MANDATE PRELITIGATION MEDIATION OF DISPUTES BETWEEN OWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS AND THEIR MEMBERS, AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO COLLECT AND REPORT ON COMPLAINTS SUBMITTED TO IT INVOLVING SUCH DISPUTES, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS, … Continue reading

Carole Albright Recognized as Leader in the Law

Carole Albright, Managing Partner of Law Firm Carolinas, has been recognized by NC Lawyers Weekly as a 2024 Leaders in the Law Honoree. The award recognizes legal professionals who have gone above and beyond in their profession through contributions to the practice of law as well as service to the broader community. Carole is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law as well as a Certified Parenting Counselor and is past Chair of the Family Law Section of the Greensboro Bar Association. She co-chaired and helped organize and lead the Course Planning Committee of the NC Family Law Specialists for … Continue reading

SC Foreclosure Bill Passed House, Now in Senate—Potential Impacts on Your HOA

As recently reported in previous articles, the South Carolina Legislature is considering a bill that impacts the ability of community associations to collect assessments from non-paying members of their communities.  As originally drafted, the bill would have eliminated a community association’s ability to foreclose.  However, the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and its South Carolina Legislative Action Committee (SC-LAC) worked closely with members of the SC House of Representatives to propose an alternative approach to the original bill.  As a result, the proposed new law would require an additional hearing in the foreclosure process to ensure that homeowners are given ample … Continue reading

Spring Has Sprung! Is Your Community Association Ready?

Spring has sprung! Which means that community associations through North and South Carolina will begin seeing increased community traffic, amenity use (including use of playgrounds, pools, tennis and pickleball courts), and increased social events. So, is your community ready. Communities should consider the following: It is important to be ready for increased community use that the warmer weather will bring. Our North and South Carolina community association attorneys are happy to assist your community as spring rolls into the Carolinas.

SC Legislative Update—Proposed Changes to H 3180 Could Impact HOAs

As recently mentioned here on March 28, 2024, the South Carolina Legislature is currently considering a bill that impacts the ability of community associations to collect assessments from non-paying members of their communities.  As originally drafted, House Bill 3180 would have eliminated any HOA’s ability to foreclose its lien when someone didn’t pay their assessments.  The Community Associations Institute (CAI) and its South Carolina Legislative Action Committee (SC-LAC) have worked closely with other members of the House, including Representative Weston Newton, to propose alterative solutions to the proposed bill. Through that collaboration, an amended version of the bill was proposed … Continue reading

South Carolina Legislature Considering Two HOA Bills

Two bills, one dealing with the foreclosure process for homeowners associations and one dealing with HAM radios, have received attention from the South Carolina House of Representatives in the past weeks and are gaining momentum. On March 26, 2024, a subcommittee hearing took place at which both bills were considered. Here is some information about each: H.4549   (Amateur Radio Antenna Protection Act). This bill has had a number of Representatives add their names to the sponsorship of the bill, which is usually a sign that the bill has positive momentum. This bill may require all HOAs (which may include … Continue reading

Jim Slaughter Receives Lifetime Contribution Award for Association Work

Law Firm Carolinas’ partner Jim Slaughter received the Don Buck Lifetime Contribution Award at the recent 2024 Community Association Law Seminar in Las Vegas. The award recognizes attorneys who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the community association industry. Jim is a past President of the national College of Community Association Lawyers as well as the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. He has written four books on association meeting procedure, including the recent Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track. Here’s a recent announcement from the Community Associations Institute on the Award. Jim Slaughter presented with the Don Buck … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – February 28, 2024

House Select Committee on Homeowners’ Associations Issues Final Report Today (Wednesday, February 28) was the fourth and final meeting of the NC House Select Committee on Homeowners’ Associations. As a reminder, this Committee was created by House Bill 311 (see NC Community Association Legislative Update – May 9, 2023) and tasked with examining planned communities and condominium associations, including: The Committee was instructed to provide a final report to the General Assembly on its study, including any proposed legislation, on or before March 1, 2024, which it did through a 27-page report with eight main legislative recommendations. Law Firm Carolinas … Continue reading

When Is an HOA/Condo Rental Amendment Unreasonable?

When it comes to declaration amendments, our firm is most often asked about restrictions on rentals, whether complete or percentage bans, restrictions on short-term rentals, or limiting corporate rentals. (See HOA/Condo Rental Restrictions, Corporate Owners & Institutional Investors and Short-Term Rentals in North Carolina and South Carolina HOAs and Condominiums) In a decision issued this week (February 21, 2024), the North Carolina Court of Appeals struck down a condominium rental amendment as unreasonable. While not really creating any new law, associations considering a declaration amendment, particularly as to rental restrictions, should be aware of the case. Mileview LLC et al … Continue reading

The Developer is Offering the Association (a lot of) Money to Sign a Release- Should the Board of Directors Consider Signing it?

Over the last year our firm has seen an uptick in offers to associations from the developer to pay money in exchange for signing a release. The language of releases can vary but the purpose is almost always the same – The money being offered to the association is in exchange for releasing the developer and any other named parties from any and all claims, known or unknown, that the association may have.  These claims being released will almost certainly include claims for construction defects for the association’s amenities but can also include a release for claims related to the … Continue reading

Five Factors a Court Will Likely Consider to Determine Validity and Enforceability of Amendments Recorded by Developers

The 2006 Court of Appeals case of Queens Grant II Horizontal Property Regime vs. Greenwood Development Corporation (368 S.C. 342) provides guidance for validity of amendments to the Declaration/Master Deed (Declaration) recorded by Developers/Declarants (Developer). In this case the homeowner’s association sued the Developer over the validity of an amendment it recorded to the Declaration that increased assessments. The Court upheld the amendment (except for a few units that had a special arrangement that are not relevant to this blog).  The Court used the following general analysis to determine the validity of this amendment recorded by the Declarant:  Please contact … Continue reading

Association Not Liable for Volunteer’s Actions in Pool Incident

In a recent case heard by the Illinois Court of Appeals, Muhs v. Fox Point Homeowners Association (the “Association”), the Appellate Court of Illinois ruled in favor of a homeowners association, stating that the association was not liable for the actions of a volunteer committee member. Doreen Colletti Muhs (the “Homeowner”) sued Fox Point Homeowners Association (the “Association”) and Stacy Boyum for injuries she sustained during a party on Fox Point’s premises when Boyum knocked the Homeowner to the ground while trying to encourage her and other party guests to jump into the pool.  Boyum was one of three volunteers … Continue reading

Association Common Area Can Be Foreclosed and Sold to a Third Party for Unpaid Property Tax

Our office has had two situations in the last six months where an association failed to pay property taxes on association common area, the tax department foreclosed, and a third-party bought the common area at the tax foreclosure sale. Fortunately in these cases it was not the association pool or clubhouse, but it could have been. For North Carolina associations – There is a statue in North Carolina that allows associations to apply for a tax exempt status for common area. Once approved the association does not owe property taxes on that common area going forward. The key is to make … Continue reading

HOA/Condo Op-Ed Article Published Today

I was asked by The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer to respond to recent reporting looking at changing North Carolina’s HOA/condo laws. My article, “Caution: When NC HOA Laws Change, Property Values and More Are at Stake,” appears in both newspapers today. If you are a subscriber, links to both are below and the full op-ed follows. Caution: When NC HOA Laws Change, Property Values and More Are at Stake Living in a community where owners agree to abide by rules that enhance benefits for everyone requires  balancing individual rights with neighbors. Legislators have historically balanced those effectively. Substantially increasing … Continue reading

Harmony Taylor Recognition

Law Firm Carolinas’ partner Harmony Taylor is on a roll! Harmony has been named a Fellow in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers. The College, which was created in 1994, recognizes excellence in the practice of community association law. Of the thousands of attorneys who work with homeowner and condominium associations in the US, there are fewer than 200 current CCAL Fellows. As a past national CCAL President, I can say without reservation that Harmony reflects the high standards of professionalism, professional involvement, and passion for community association law the CCAL designation was created to spotlight.​ Harmony has also been elected Chair of … Continue reading

Freddie Mac Announced Increased Transparency for Condo Projects

Freddie Mac announced yesterday, December 6, 2023, that it would be implementing steps to increase transparency in condominium project certification and eligibility for loans. See the link to Freddie Mac’s announcement. Up to now, industry leaders have voiced concerns about the secretive nature of Freddie Mac’s determination of a condominium’s eligibility status—contending that its unavailable list of condominiums amounted to a secret blacklist. For prospective home buyers wanting to buy in a condominium, this has meant that there was less access to mortgages, sometimes causing serious problems because existing condominium owners, boards of directors, and community managers didn’t know that … Continue reading

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