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: 


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SADDLEBROOK ESTATES COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC.

v.

CITY OF SUFFOLK

 

TRIAL AND APPEAL HANDLED BY INMAN & STRICKLER

On June 1, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled on a case decided by a Suffolk Circuit Court Judge regarding the taxation of open space in a homeowners association.   The Court unanimously  overturned the Circuit Court ruling finding that the judge misinterpreted the law by upholding the City’s taxation of the Association’s open space. This decision provides an interpretation of a statute that applies to all POAs which have open space designated on their subdivision plats, whether leased to a third party or used by the association members for recreation or otherwise.


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The Virginia Attorney General can issue opinions concerning statutory interpretation if requested to do so by an array of government officials from the Governor to a member of the Senate or House of Delegates to a local sheriff. These opinions are not binding on a judge but are persuasive when considering the law affecting a given case. In this case a member of the General Assembly asked: Is it legal under the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (the "Act") for an association ("POA") to deactivate a member’s barcode decal if he or she is more than sixty days late paying an assessment. Deactivation of the barcode decal will restrict, but not completely deny, entry in to the neighborhood due to the existence of two access points, one manned and one not.


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HUD PROPOSES RULE TO CLARIFY PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF
HARASSMENT IN HOUSING

Rule would formalize standards for bringing harassment claims under the Fair Housing Act

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is issuing a proposed rule that would formalize standards for victims of harassment in housing to bring claims under the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule, "Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices under the Fair Housing Act," was published in the Federal Register today for public comment.


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On February 12, 2016, in Tvardek v. Powhatan Village HOA, the Virginia Supreme Court struck down a leasing amendment established by a homeowners association in Virginia as a result of the failure of the recorded amendment to contain what the Court deemed compliance with the statute on amendment of the Declaration.  Virginia Code Section 55-515.1 of the Property Homeowners Association Act requires the certification on the amendment to be ”signed by the principal officer of the association or by such other officer or officers as the declaration may specify that the requisite majority of the lot owners signed the amendment or ratifications thereof.”  In this case the amendment signed by the principal officer stated:


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The General Assembly finally heard the hue and cry from us about lenders abuse of associations in the foreclosure process. Unfortunately this new statute does not fully end the abuse. The key word in the title above is “occur”. The first benefit of the new law is that Lenders must now give associations notice at least 60 days in advance of initiating foreclosure.  How does this help us?


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Senate Bill 1008 awaits the Governor’s signature to proclaim a “bill of rights” for homeowners in condominiums and property owners associations.   The irony is that under “bill of rights” title on this new statute, there is nothing which changes or adds to the current statutory scheme for voting, accessing records, recording meetings or extending due

We have found that managers and board members who have not had any experience with the process of obtaining FHA project approval have unrealistic expectations about the processing time.In this edition we let you know the “ins and outs” of the application for such approval. We handle both initial applications and recertifications and there is a significant difference.


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Due to some shepherding of this bill by CAI’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee, as of July 1 you can get help from the Circuit Court if you have made a good faith attempt (3 times) to get a critical amendment passed without success. The statute details exactly what must be done to achieve the amendment.  We hate to say it but you really need to read this statute as it lays out exactly how and when it works.  Here it is:


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