Board Member Responsibilities

Many board members and managers may not be aware that the Property Owners’ Association Act (“POAA”) requires that an association’s board of directors provide a member due process prior to taking action against that member in court.

Specifically, §55.1-1819 of the POAA and § 55.1-1959 of the Condominium Act require that if a board of directors believes a member may be violating its covenants or rules and regulations, the board must provide the member notice of the violation, and a reasonable opportunity to correct the alleged violation. If the member fails to correct violation after receiving the notice, the board must then provide the member an opportunity to present his or her position on the violation where the member may elect to be represented by counsel. This opportunity is commonly referred to as a due process hearing. In both of the Acts the Association governing documents must have adopted the provisions of these sections before they may be utilized to assess charges or suspend an owner’s right to utilize facilities or services.
Continue Reading Provide Members Due Process Prior to Suing in Court

We are being deluged with questions about pools.  But in the many emails and conversations, we are developing and hearing some good ideas that can be shared.  Although we have tried to discourage the use of Association pool furniture and have encouraged “Bring Your Own” policies, some clients have gone to single use covers on

All initial sales and resales of properties located in a property owners/homeowners association require that the buyer receive a Disclosure Packet Notice (“Disclosure Notice”) developed by the Virginia Common Interest Community (CIC) Board which includes a list of the information and association documents which must be disclosed to a buyer upon entering into a purchase contract.  Below in italics is an email we received from the CIC Board regarding an update to the Disclosure Notice.
Continue Reading REVISED HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION DISCLOSURE NOTICE EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2020

Hello, Board members and managers.  Next Thursday, June 18, our team member, Jeanne Lauer will be providing a legislative update on a webinar sponsored by the SEVA CAI Chapter.  The program will also deal with other legal topics. To sign up please go to the following website: https://sevacai.memberclicks.net/

All of us are looking forward to more normalcy in our day to day activities.  Thankfully we are about to enter Phase 2 of the Governors re-opening program.  To assist you to comply with swimming pool operations and rules below we share the information that is on line as part of a very lengthy document from the Governor’s office on Phase 2.  That full Phase 2 information can be found at:  https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Virginia-Forward-Phase-Two-Guidelines.pdf
Continue Reading LEGISLATIVE UPDATE AND SWIMMING POOLS

Last year we informed you that effective October 1, 2019 the Virginia General Assembly reorganized Chapter 55 of the Code of Virginia. Chapter 55 includes the Condominium Act, the Property Owners Association (POA) Act and the Real Estate Cooperative Act. This reorganization did not amend the content of these Code Sections but did change the Code Section numbers. Prior to October, 2019 the Condominium Act was comprised of Sections 55-75.45 through 55.79.85. The Condominium Act is now comprised of Sections 55.1-1907 through 55.1-1969. Prior to October, 2019 the POA Act was comprised of Sections 55-508 through 55.516.2. The POA Act is now comprised of Sections 55.1-1801 through Sections 55.1-1836. Fortunately, a conversion table is available which makes it easy to correct form documents containing Code section citations. That chart can be found at https://www.vsb.org/docs/sections/realproperty/appendixb.pdf.
Continue Reading NEW STATE CODE SECTION NUMBERS FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS – FORMS NEED UPDATING

We want you to know that at this time we are maintaining regular office hours with some of our attorneys and staff occasionally working from home.  We are committed to be available to our clients in this difficult and uncertain time. Our attorneys and staff are also prepared, if necessary, to work remotely from our homes. We hope and pray that it will not become necessary and that we will soon be over the peak in the number of cases.

 DO YOUR ASSOCIATION’S GOVERNING DOCUMENTS NEED TO RETIRE?  OR MAYBE JUST GO TO REHAB?

If the community association you live in is showing some age, then most likely the association’s governing documents are as well.  When was the last time your Board of Directors reviewed your documents to make sure they are keeping pace with the way we all live in the modern world?  Do your documents comply with current provisions of the Virginia Condominium Act or the Virginia Property Owners Association (POA) Act?  Have you ever tried to find an answer to a problem your association was experiencing and found your documents were inadequate in giving the Board clear guidance?  Do you have difficulty finding certain topics in your documents? 
Continue Reading THE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS LAW TEAM IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

What are the challenges facing a board of any association which has recently experienced significant board member turnover or has emerged developer control?  We have found that some of these prior boards have not been attentive to the area of enforcement of certain covenants. There are many challenges but one which requires prompt attention is architectural violations which have not been addressed by the prior board. Some homeowners have likely added fences, sheds, and other exterior improvements without getting approval from the Association.  Many of these addition and exterior improvements may not meet the standards that were part of their documents. The board has a duty to enforce covenants and rules. So, what can the new board do about these apparent violations?
Continue Reading UNWANTED INHERITANCES FROM LAID BACK BOARDS

ASSOCIATION DISCLOSURE NOTICES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2019

 

A couple of months ago we told you about changes to the Property Owners Association (POA) Act and the Condominium Act regarding the Disclosure Notices.  We want to remind Association managers and board members that every association should now be using these revised Disclosure Notices.

Effective July 1, 2019 the Property Owners Disclosure Packet Notice prepared by the Virginia Common Interest Community (CIC) Board that is required to be included in every HOA Association Disclosure Packet for the initial sale by the developer and all subsequent resales pursuant to §55-509.5 of the Virginia Residential Disclosure Act was amended.  The Condominium Unit Owners’ Association Resale Certificate Notice that is required to be included in every condominium resale certificate pursuant to §55-79.97 was also amended.  Both Disclosure Notices now inform purchasers, under the section entitled “Assessments,” that mandatory fees collected by condominium associations may include the cost of “construction or maintenance of stormwater management facilities.”  
Continue Reading Updated Association Disclosure Notices and Repeal of Title 55, Code of Virginia

Many Association governing documents require an annual audit.  In order for an audit to be meaningful in the Community Association context it must be performed by an independent certified public accountant. The only way to fulfill the requirements is to hire a CPA who is not a member of the Board or even an owner in the community.  While your documents may specifically require an audit, you need to be aware that a CPA can do one of three levels of financial examinations to determine if the accounting work is being done properly: a compilation, a review or an audit depending on the requirements set forth in the governing documents. In a compilation, the accountant simply puts the association’s numbers in a proper financial format. The accounts are not examined for accuracy. A review determines if the financial statements require any material modifications. It consists of inquiries into the association’s bookkeeping practices.  The audit is the most detailed level of review and, if done properly, it will offer reasonable assurance that the records are free of misstatements. The auditor also looks for irregularities or illegal acts. It is significantly more expensive than the other two reviews.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accounts has standards for doing audits on community associations. By adhering to these standards, an auditor can express an opinion on the association’s financial health.
Continue Reading Do we have to have an annual audit?

We have published on this topic in the past, but due to frequent misunderstanding of the process we want to provide more information on this topic. Most community association boards of directors realize the importance of, and requirement for, holding open meetings. There are times however when closed sessions of the board are needed. Fortunately in Virginia the statutes for both homeowners associations and condominium associations are very specific as to when closed meetings can be held. They are generally referred to as executive sessions. The purpose of executive sessions is to allow the board to discuss certain sensitive topics among themselves with no members present.  The following are the topics which qualify for a meeting to be closed pursuant to statute:

Continue Reading WHEN CAN A BOARD GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION?