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? Continue Reading GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOCUSES ON SMOKING
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 furniture and others are using signs or devices which can be flipped from green to red to indicate when something has been disinfected for use. Of those who are opening (and this is understandably a small number), many are dealing with the screening requirement with logs to allow owners to self-assess and report their findings in written form. Still another screening option is a new online service for pools and other community association facilities at www.mycovidscreener.com. I evaluated their website and screening tools and they are Virginia compliant. Owners conduct the interactive screening on their cell phones and records are maintained of their responses. To the extent enforceable, waiver of liability provisions are part of the screening.
If you’ve run across some great ideas for Phase 3 reopening, we would love to hear about them and share them. We are all in this together!
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.
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
TODAY AT 10:00 A.M. ATTORNEYS MIKE INMAN AND MATT WEINBERG WILL SPEAK AT A SEVA/CIA SPONSORED WEBINAR ON SECURITY AND PRIVACY ISSUES IN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS.
You can learn about attending by going to the chapter web site www.sevacai.org.
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