Last Spring as part of emergency legislation the General Assembly authorized association boards of directors to meet virtually but did not include member meetings.  This has caused significant delays in elections and other important meetings requiring a membership vote.  I am pleased to report that new amendments, just signed by the Governor, will make life so much easier for all of us involved in community association governance.  The new legislation affects both the Property Owners Association Act and the Condominium Act but does not become effective until July 1, 2021.  In order to make the virtual meeting option available the amendments of several statutes approach the issue by allowing electronic communications unless the governing documents prohibit it.  This approach eliminates the need for document amendments in order to utilize electronic means.  That said, there are explicit requirements for the board to adopt guidelines for use of these more liberal forms of communication and voting to ensure that the rights of owners are protected in the process. Most governing documents do not address the topic of electronic communication and voting – especially ones not written recently.  Here are the important new “rules of the road” on use of technology with regard to meeting notices, assembly and voting – the italicized words are taken from the relevant statutes:
Continue Reading GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAKES VIRTUAL MEMBER MEETINGS LEGAL …. WITH CONDITIONS

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

EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2020

This summary is not a complete list of requirements for all types of businesses and activities covered by the COVID-19 reopening Phase Three Guidelines issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It includes only those Guidelines that are most likely to affect community associations in order to assist associations in making decisions that can affect all of the owners and residents in the community.

The Governor of Virginia is stressing that this Phase Three opening does not mean that Virginia is out of the woods yet and is asking citizens to be responsible and follow these mandatory Guidelines in order to keep Virginia on a positive track and avoid what many States are currently experiencing with record highs in daily positive virus cases.

A complete copy of the Phase Three Guidelines can be found at:  https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Forward-Virginia-Phase-Three-Guidelines.pdf.


Continue Reading SUMMARY OF VIRGINIA’S PHASE THREE GUIDELINES AFFECTING COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

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

As a result of superb effort of CAI’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee and its lobbyist Virginia common interest community associations will benefit from amendments to laws proposed by Governor Ralph S. Northam. These changes, adopted by the General Assembly on April 22, 2020, override requirements in the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and Virginia Condominium Act which require at least two board members be physically present in the same location in order to convene a meeting properly.
Continue Reading NEW RULES FOR BOARD MEETINGS DURING COVID-19 DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY

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

COVID 19 is raising new questions and concerns for all of our clients, especially community associations. While our office is currently open, we are prepared and equipped to function on a remote basis, so we will continue to be available to answer your questions and respond to your legal needs while fully respecting all important public health protocols.
Continue Reading How to “Stay Legal” with COVID 19

With the increasing popularity of security cameras and hi-tech doorbells and other systems, Virginia residents should be aware of a couple of criminal statutes that are implicated by the use of these technologies.

Virginia has a wiretapping statute which prohibits a person from capturing simultaneous audio and video recordings of someone without that person’s consent. The single best way to avoid violation of these statutes is to ensure that any video equipment you install does not have the capability of capturing any audio.  Yes, you could just employ a policy that you never activate or use the audio component but at some point, someone will succumb to the temptation to listen “just once.” VA Code §19.2-62. https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title19.2/chapter6/section19.2-62/ 
Continue Reading SECURITY CAMERAS AND DOORBELLS IN VIRGINIA

We’ve posted articles in the past about the importance of associations maintaining adequate reserves for the repair and replacement of the capital components in their communities that the association has the duty to maintain, repair and replace.  Section 55.1-1965 of the Virginia Condominium Act and Section 55.1-1826 of the Virginia Property Owners Association (POA) Act both require that associations conduct a reserve study every five (5) years.  Both Acts also require that the Board of Directors review the reserve study on an annual basis to determine if the association is collecting adequate reserves in the annual budget to make sure funds are available each time a capital component needs major repairs or replacement and to adjust the reserve budget annually if necessary. 
Continue Reading THE CIC BOARD ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF ASSOCIATION RESERVE STUDIES