Board Member Responsibilities

Two new changes in the law have an impact on community associations court actions.

The first is an increase in the jurisdictional limit of the general district court from $25,000 to $50,000 (exclusive of interest and attorneys’ fees.)  It is very helpful to be enabled by this statutory change to pursue larger claims in the

The recent Fourth Amendment to Governor Northam’s COVID related Executive Order, effective as of April 1, 2021, has updated the limitations for private in-person gatherings.  It states as follows:

All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 50 individuals indoors and 100 individuals outdoors are prohibited. A “gathering” includes, but is not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. The presence in person of more than 50 individuals indoors, or 100 individuals outdoors, performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational instructional setting is not a “gathering.” The presence of more than 50 individuals indoors, or 100 individuals outdoors, in a particular location, such as a park, or retail business is not a “gathering” as long as individuals do not congregate. This restriction does not apply to the gathering of family members, as defined in section I, subsection D, paragraph 2, living in the same residence. (emphasis added in various locations)
Continue Reading YET ANOTHER RULE MODIFICATION FROM GOVERNOR ON IN-PERSON MEETINGS

We often get calls from new board members after transition from developer control. They have questions like this one: Some of the homeowners have added fences, above ground pools and sheds without getting approval from the Association. Many of these changes do not appear to meet the standards that are part of our documents. No action has been taken to correct these violations. How do we go about enforcing the covenants and rules?

The first step is to examine the architectural guidelines and the enforcement provisions in the governing documents. Usually an association’s declaration establishes a committee, often called the architectural standards committee, and grants it powers and duties.

There are often architectural guidelines in the nature of rules and regulations which detail the standards for the community and the procedures for enforcement. If these do not exist, the board of directors should pass a policy resolution that clarifies the standards in the association’s governing documents with greater detail and sets the procedures for enforcement.  This policy resolution is generally referred to as a “due process procedure.”

One of the most important reasons that these procedures need to be in place is that the actions of the committee are subject to review in any legal action in which the association may become involved. The more clearly the resolution defines the procedures and the more closely the committee adheres to them, the more likely they are to be successful if enforcement of a covenant or rule goes to court.
Continue Reading “OUR NEW BOARD JUST INHERITED A HOST OF OLD VIOLATIONS – WHAT SHOULD WE DO? “

Boards often ask us how to best fund a project that becomes necessary due to unexpected events. This could be a significant leak or structural issue with the swimming pool or a roofing inspection report which states that replacement is needed well before the time planned in the reserve study. For purposes of this article assume that the board has determined that the need for “the fix” is too urgent to wait for fund raising through a significant increase in the regular assessment.
Continue Reading FUNDING SURPRISE PROJECTS – LOAN OR SPECIAL ASSESSMENT?

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