VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WRESTLES WITH ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS (ADU) AND SHORT-TERM RENTAL (STR) REGULATION; A COURT RESOLVES A CASE ABOUT A COUNTY ORDINANCE- Senate Bill 304 seeks to preempt local authority on both ADUs and STRs and is vague and incomplete in its provisions. The bill requires a locality to include ADRs in its zoning

On June 14, 2022 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. the local Community Associations Institute Chapter is putting on the Annual Legislative and Legal Update. It will be held at the Holiday Inn in Newport News just off of I-64 at J. Clyde Morris Blvd. Our firm’s CA Team members, Jeanne Lauer and Matt Weinberg

Inspired by the COVID experience which hampered association meetings and, therefore, effective governance the General Assembly enacted a landmark bill to assist in all associations. It is finally the time of year for the new laws to go into effect.  Once an Association has complied with the conditions in the amendments quorums for annual meetings

The recent Third Amendment to Governor Northam’s COVID related Executive Order has updated the limitations for private in-person gatherings.  It states as follows:

All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals indoors and 25 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 10 individuals indoors, or 25 individuals outdoors, performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational instructional setting is not a “gathering.” The presence of more than 10 individuals indoors, or 25 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)

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:

With the persistence of COVID-19 there is a current focus on the effects of smoking in apartments, condominiums and townhomes on their residents. The Common Interest Community Work Group of the Virginia Housing Commission, on which Mike Inman serves, recently discussed the issue.  Not only is there a longstanding health concern for the smokers but there is heightened concern for their children and neighbors in attached living quarters.  Multifamily buildings, particularly older ones, are often not constructed so that smoke and other odors from one unit will not travel to other units or the common areas. There are frequent complaints raised by residents in multi-story properties.  The voices of those who are affected have increased in number and part of the reason is that the smokers are spending lots of time at home and so are their school age children during the pandemic. Even after the pandemic ends working from home will remain popular.  Consequently, the problem of second hand smoke effects has increased exponentially.  What can be done?

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


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: 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:

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:

Recently we posted the first of two parts about the changes in qualifications for FHA loans for condominiums. In this part we provide information on the rest of the changes.




FHA’s primary motive for requiring that at least fifty percent (50%) of the units in a project be owner occupied or secondary residences is because it is statistically more likely that condominiums with a high percentage of rentals will have higher foreclosure and assessment delinquency rates than condominiums that are primarily owner occupied. It appears that FHA has settled on a compromise in order to avoid penalizing projects with higher rentals but lower delinquency rates.  FHA currently requires that no more than fifteen percent (15%) of the units can be sixty (60) days or more in arrears in the payment of assessments.  Effective October 15, if only ten percent (10%) or fewer owners are sixty (60) days or more in arrears, FHA will accept owner occupancy rates of only thirty five percent (35%).  This could be a significant boost for Hampton Roads.  We have seen many projects with strong financials rejected for FHA certification simply because of owner occupancy requirements.  Because of the high concentration of the military in our area, many condominium projects can have a higher percentage of rentals but still maintain low delinquency rates.

FHA has also expanded on what qualifies as an owner occupied or secondary residence which we believe will also help increase the rate of owner occupancy in some projects and take the guess work out of defining which units qualify as owner occupied and which do not.  These expanded definitions include {emphasis added}:

  • “any Unit that is occupied by the owner as his or her place of abode for any portion of the calendar year and that is not rented for a majority of the calendar year;
  • any Unit listed for sale, and not listed for rent, that was previously occupied by the owner as his or her place of abode for any portion of the calendar year and that is not rented for a majority of the calendar year; or
  • any Unit sold to an owner who intends to occupy the Unit as his or her place of abode for any portion of the calendar year and has no intent to rent the Unit for a majority of the calendar year.”