Leasing restrictions can be one of the most controversial and complicated matters in community association governance.  Between statutory requirements, governing documents and VA/FHA regulations, how are Associations supposed to sort it all out, especially when there are often conflicts between them?  Not to mention the fact that statutory and lender regulations seem to change just when you are starting to get use to the current requirements.  The information below is meant to provide you with a general overview to help you determine if you are properly handling rentals in your association or wish to restrict them.  But remember, it’s subject to change without much notice! Continue Reading Leasing Restrictions Dos and Don’ts

If there is one thing we seem to be able to count on from the Virginia General Assembly, its frequent amendments to the statutes regarding association resale certificates and 2017 was no exception.

Under the “News You Can Use” section of this site, Jeanne Lauer explained the new legislation regarding “For Sale” signs in condominium and homeowners associations which became effective July 1, 2017. That posting is a must read for anyone preparing resale certificates for an association because “For Sale” sign regulations in your Declaration (and/or Bylaws for a condominium) must be disclosed in association resale certificates. Unless you are familiar with the new “For Sale” sign statute regarding limitations on an association’s ability to regulate signs, you could easily disclosure incorrect information to prospective purchasers and that’s no way to get off to a good start with new members of the community.

Other changes affecting resale certificates that became effective July 1, 2017 are: (i) if an owner designates a licensed real estate agent as the unit owner’s representative in writing to the association, the association must recognize such representation without the requirement for a formal power of attorney; however, the representative will not have the right to vote on behalf of the owner without a valid proxy; and (2) the Common Interest Community (CIC) Board may now assess a monetary penalty to the association or the association’s common interest community manager (as the case may be) for failure to deliver the resale certificate within 14 days.

Section 55-79.97 of the Virginia Condominium Act and Section 55-590.4 of the Property Owners Association (POA) Act provide a complete list of the information and documentation required to be part of the resale certificate. It’s a prudent business practice to compare your resale certificate to the appropriate statute after July 1 of each year to make sure your association remains in compliance.

There seems to be some confusion about this new addition to the resale provisions in the Condominium Act and the Property Owners Association Act. As of July 1, 2017 there is a new Virginia law, passage of which was promoted by the Virginia Association of Realtors, which will impact unit owners and lot owners in nearly all community associations as to “For Sale” signs. (No other types of signs, like “For Rent” signs, are covered by these new laws.).

Continue Reading NEW VIRGINIA LAW REGARDING REAL ESTATE FOR SALE SIGNS

Inverse condemnation is valuable tool for property owners and associations and can be relevant and useful in many situations. State and local governments and their agencies appear to operate with absolute immunity leaving property owners with no recourse when private property is damaged by a government entity. While it is true that a government entity is generally free from liability for its negligent actions, the doctrine of inverse condemnation is a little known remedy available to property owners when their private property is damaged. This doctrine of inverse condemnation originates in Article I, Section II of the Virginia State Constitution. Under this doctrine, recovery is permitted when private property is taken or damaged for public use, thereby bestowing on the owner a right to sue for such amount as would have been awarded if the property had been condemned under the eminent domain statute.

Continue Reading Inverse Condemnation – a valuable tool

 

Revock v. Cowpet Bay West Condominium Association

Third Circuit Court of Appeals, 2017

A very instructive case was decided last month in a Federal Appeals Court which will demonstrate almost everything not to do with respect to compliance with the Fair Housing Act relative to emotional support animals. This case dealt with a suit brought by two emotionally disabled unit owners in a condominium community that had a no pet rule. The association had no policy regarding service animals or emotional support animals. The residents seeking approval of their dogs provided appropriate paperwork supporting their need for the dogs.  Certain residents were upset by the violation of the no pet rule expressing their views on strongly worded and insulting blog postings and called for these violators to be fined.

Continue Reading Fair Housing Act – Emotional Support Animals

A few months ago we informed you that both houses of Congress voted unanimously to pass the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) which, in part, required FHA to lower the required percentage of owner occupied units in condominiums from 50% to 35% unless FHA could prove that a higher percentage of owner occupancy was justified. 

Continue Reading NEW FHA OWNER OCCUPANCY REQUIREMENTS COULD BENEFIT SOME CONDOMINIUM COMMUNITIES

Questions often arise about the duties of the secretary in taking and producing minutes of meetings and providing association records to members. The primary functions of the Secretary are to produce minutes of meetings and maintain the records of the association. The secretary must produce a draft of the minutes for approval, and then finalize them with any changes upon once they are approved at the next meeting. Records to be maintained include all of the minutes, any resolutions adopted by the Board of Directors, correspondence, contracts and notices of meetings.

We suggest that the following files be maintained: Continue Reading BEING SECRETARY OF THE ASSOCIATION CARRIES SIGNIFICANT RESPONSIBILITIES

By: Lindsey Flaherty

What exactly is limited residential lodging?  It is, in essence, renting of rooms or entire homes or condo units for short term occupancy i.e. less than 30 days. Airbnb   provides a searchable online marketplace that enables homeowners to list for rent all or a portion of their homes and prospective customers can choose to rent from one night to several months.  While this type of rental may present a great economic opportunity for some homeowners it causes increased traffic and parking issues in associations and has resulted in excessive noise and damage to common areas.  Essentially the problem seems to be that homeowners who choose to participate in it are introducing a business in to residential neighborhoods. This business involves providing lodging to transient people who are primarily on vacation.

Continue Reading LIMITED RESIDENTIAL LODGING (e.g. Airbnb) – IS IT ALLOWED IN YOUR ASSOCIATION?

Just before the summer recess, in an amazing moment of bipartisanship, both houses of Congress voted unanimously to change the required percentage of owner occupancy in condominiums from 50% to 35% (unless FHA can prove that a higher percentage is justified within 90 day of this legislation becoming law on July 29, 2016) and made several other helpful changes. They are as follows: 

Continue Reading Congress helps condominium unit buyers – changes to FHA loan requirements