Before sending your email to us, please note and understand the following:

This website provides general information about LeClairRyan, its practice areas and professional staff. It is not intended to provide you with legal advice with respect to a matter that you may have.

Until such time as LeClairRyan has resolved all potential conflicts of interest in accepting your representation and has agreed to be engaged as your legal counsel, you are not represented by LeClairRyan or any of its attorneys and have not become a client of the Firm.

Sending this email or otherwise contacting LeClairRyan does not create an attorney-client relationship. By sending information to us, you are not creating an attorney-client relationship, and no disclosure by you before this firm agrees to represent you will prohibit this firm from representing any person or entity adverse to you.

Only if, and after, LeClairRyan has confirmed to you that it is willing and able to represent you should you, send the Firm any information or documents that you consider private or confidential. Such information will not be treated as private, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure until LeClairRyan has confirmed that it is able and willing to represent you.

If you choose to ignore this warning and submit any information that you believe or otherwise assert to be confidential or privileged, then by clicking on the “Accept” button, you agree that your submission will not preclude LeClairRyan from representing a client in a matter adverse to you where that information could be used against you.
Accept Cancel
OK

Is A Member Legally Allowed To Review Voting Records Relating To Elections For An HOA Board Of Directors?

Recently, we had a reader ask whether a member of a homeowners association is legally permitted to review and inspect voting records relating to elections for the board of directors of the member's HOA.

The short answer is that it depends on the nature of the records requested as well as other factors. Virginia Code Section 55-510 spells out when an owner can review certain records for a property owners' association. If an owner (i) is in good standing with the association, and (ii) makes a records inspection request "for a proper purpose related to his membership in the association," then he is entitled to review association "books and records" that do not fall under any statutory exemptions. Section 55-510's discussion of "books and records" needs to be read in conjunction with other provisions of the Virginia Code (and chiefly, the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act) that elaborate on what exactly constitutes "books and records" (as not every document in an association's possession constitutes a "book and record" as the term is defined in the Virginia Code). As a result, this analysis can sometimes be rather technical, and associations should consult with their legal counsel to ensure that they don't provide for the inspection of any records that they're not legally required to provide.

Under this analysis, assuming that the owner is in good standing with the association, and makes the request "for a proper purpose related to his membership in the association" (and does not, for example, submit the request for the purpose of attempting to pursue litigation against the association), then it would be appropriate for an association to provide the owner with a copy of the vote tally sheet that the association used to count all of the votes. Arguably, ballots and proxies do not constitute "books and records" as defined under Virginia law, and therefore should not be produced by the association. Moreover, if an association's governing documents require or permit voting by secret ballot, producing ballots with names on them or directed proxies would essentially defeat the goals behind such.

Keep in mind that if the association has adopted a records inspection and copying policy, it could charge the owner a monetary fee for expenses related to searching for the records and copying them.

Are You Signed Up For The Virginia Leadership Retreat?

The annual Virginia Leadership Retreat will take place this year from July 27 - July 29, 2012 at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. This annual event has become the premier state-wide gathering for the community association industry in Virginia. Once again, LeClairRyan's community association team will be well represented there. Like most years, we'll be blogging live from the event. Also, this year we'll be tweeting live! If you're not currently following Will Sleeth (the Editor of the Virginia Community Association Law Blog) on Twitter, you can follow him @Will_Sleeth. For more information about the Leadership Retreat, click here.

LeClairRyan Attorneys Helping Habitat for Humanity Create Planned Development

LeClairRyan attorneys Lori Schweller and Tara Boyd are assisting Habitat for Humanity with the legal work related to Habitat's Sunrise Park development in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Specifically, Schweller and Boyd are drafting the documents for the master property owners' association for the whole community as well as the condominium documents for the 4-story condominium building and its two subcondominiums.  The mixed-use condominium will be home to the legacy Sunrise Park residents, who will lease units, and will include units for sale at market rates.

To learn more about this valuable public-service project, and the exciting new development that will result, click here.

The First Day of Presentations at the Virginia Leadership Retreat

Today marked the first day of presentations at the Virginia Leadership Retreat, located at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. LeClairRyan's Megan Scanlon delivered a presentation called "Aging-in-Place -- The Boomer Community", which described some of the challenges community associations will face as their populations age.

Participants listened to a wide-variety of presentations and heard from an array of industry-leaders. The following is a picture of the main lobby of the historic Homestead resort.

 

 

HOAleader Offers Free 30-day Access

The LeClairRyan Community Association Team has enjoyed a strong relationship with HOAleader.com, a web-based pulication devoted to the community association industry. The Team's attorneys are frequently quoted in the publication's articles. The subscription-based website, has just offered a free 30-day trial. If you would like to take advantage of that, click here.

LeClairRyan Team Attends the CAI National Law Conference

This weekend, several members of LeClairRyan's Community Association Industry Team attended the CAI National Law Conference in Las Vegas. The conference featured speeches, panel presentations, and educational sessions presented by a variety of industry speakers on topics ranging from the federal mortgage agencies, to new legislation affecting the industry, to cutting edge issues such as transfer-fee covenants.

One of the highlights of the conference featured a mention of this blog! During one of the first sessions of the conference, the speaker discussed recent trends in the industry, and commented that community associations were facing unique issues, including "rent a goat" issues. The speaker proceeded to mention the blog post on this very blog, which discussed the issue.

All in all, the conference was very informative. Below is a picture of St. Mark's square in the Venetian hotel (where the conference was held).

 

LeClairRyan's Liz White Quoted in National Media Article on Board Meetings

LeClairRyan's Liz White was recently featured in an article on Board Meetings that was featured by several national media outlets, including Forbes magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the Baltimore Business Journal, the Business Journal of Phoenix, and the Cincinnati Business Courier. Locally, the article was featured by NBC12. To view the article, in which Liz discusses tips for an effective board meeting (and in which she shares some humorous tidbits about board meetings gone awry), click here.

Check out the Webinars Database for Helpful Resources

Do you think your fellow board members could use some training in the basics of community association law? Could the associations you manage benefit from several 1-hour teaching sessions? If so, then check out the LeClairRyan Community Association Team webinar library on the blog. With an ever-expanding array of webinars on topics ranging from board meeting minutes, to disclosure packets, to the Fair Housing Act, the webinar library can be accessed at any time and the webinars viewed at your convenience.

Also, stay tuned to the blog in the next few weeks for several announcements about new upcoming webinars.

Departure from the Virginia Leadership Retreat

The second annual Virginia Leadership Retreat came to a successful conclusion on Sunday. The LeClairRyan Community Association team departed from the Homestead around noon, along with the other conference attendees. The team would like to thank all of the participants who stopped by the exhibit table, entered the prize drawing, or attended Liz's presentation.

We've now concluded our live blogging from the Retreat. Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to check back with the blog regularly for a wide variety of posts on cutting-edge topics related to community associations, as well as announcements about upcoming speaking events, webinars, and other free resources.

 

The Exhibits at the Virginia Leadership Retreat

Day 2 of the Virginia Leadership Retreat at the Homestead. At lunchtime on Saturday, in the exhibit room, the vendors set up their displays. LeClairRyan's Community Association Team spoke to the conference attendees about the firm's Community Association practice, and handed out a wide variety of prizes ranging from golf balls, to umbrellas, to leather travel mugs. Below, Pam Faber and Dan Quarles staff the exhibit table.

 

 

Friday Evening: Welcome Reception

 

Members of our LeClairRyan Community Association Industry Team have arrived at the 2nd Annual Virginia Leadership Retreat being hosted by the Community Associations Institute at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia this weekend. Approximately 120 CAI members and their guests from around the state gathered this evening for the welcome reception. Pictured below are members of our Community Association Industry Team. From left to right: Lori Schweller, Pam Faber, Will Sleeth, Megan Scanlon, Dan Quarles, and Elizabeth White, our team leader.

 

 

Pictured above are our CAI Team members with family member guests. Pictured, left to right: John Faber, Rachel Sleeth, Will Sleeth, Lori Schweller, Pam Faber, Valerie McDonald, Megan Scanlon, Dan Quarles, Jennifer Quarles, Elizabeth White, and Dean Short.

 

Arrival at the Homestead!

It's Friday afternoon, and the attendees are beginning to arrive to the Homestead for the annual Virginia Leadership Retreat conference. Under clear skies and cool weather, the participants get ready for the welcome reception. The following are some photos of the Homestead snapped by the LeClairRyan Communtiy Association Team.

Tune In To The Blog This Weekend For Live Updates From the Virginia Leadership Retreat!

The LeClairRyan Community Association Team will be blogging throughout the weekend live from the Virginia Leadership Retreat at the Homestead. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Virginia Leadership Retreat, it's the annual Virginia weekend conference/event sponsored by CAI that is exclusively devoted to the Community Association industry).

For those of you unable to attend the event, feel free to check in frequently for updates. Even if you're attending the event, we encourage you to check in with the blog for the latest reporting from the LeClairRyan team.

Records Inspection Requests by Members: An Overview

 A reader recently asked us to comment on members' rights to inspect their property owners’ association’s books and records, such as financial information and meeting minutes, pursuant to the Property Owners’ Association Act.

A member’s right to inspect records is not only governed by the provisions of the Property Owners’ Association Act, but also by the provisions contained within the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act. The provisions of the two acts must be read in conjunction with each other, and therefore the interested member should review not only § 55-510 of the Property Owners’ Association Act in order to understand his rights, but also §§ 13.1-932 – 934 of the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act as well.

This blog post is limited to a discussion of the provisions contained within the Property Owners’ Association Act, and at some future time we will likely make a post regarding the inspection provisions contained in the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act.

Continue Reading...

Blogging live from the Virginia Leadership Retreat

Have you signed up yet for the annual Virginia Leadership Retreat sponsored by CAI? This year's Retreat will be held on July 30, 2010 -- August 1st at The Homestead in Hot Springs.

The LeClairRyan Community Association Team will be blogging live from the Retreat with updates on all of the key events. If you can't attend the Retreat, be sure to check in regularly with the blog for timely posts on conference events and key speaker presentations.

The Property Owners' Association Act and the Condo Act: Be Aware of Subtle Differences

If you serve on the board of directors of a property owners’ association or a condominium association, or are a property manager, you need to ensure that you are looking at the correct law – the Property Owners’ Association Act, or the Condominium Act, respectively. Although both acts contain many similar provisions that bear on issues common to both types of associations, on some key issues the provisions of the acts differ, and pose a potential stumbling block to the unwary.

The potential for confusion is especially pronounced among directors in a certain type of association who frequently discuss community association issues with friends who serve as directors of a different type of association (e.g., a director of a property owners’ association discussing issues with a director of a condominium association), as well as property managers who may manage several associations, a few of which may be property owners’ associations, and a few of which may be condominium associations.

For example, § 55.510(F) of the Property Owners’ Association Act provides that a property owners’ association’s “bylaws shall specify an officer or his agent who shall, at least 14 days in advance of any annual or regularly scheduled meeting [of the members]… send to each member notice of the time, place, and purposes of such meeting.”

§ 55.79-75(A) of the Condominium Act, on the other hand, provides that a condominium association’s “bylaws shall specify an officer or his agent who shall, at least 21 days in advance of any annual or regularly scheduled meeting [of the members]… send to each unit owner notice of the time, place, and purposes of such meeting.”

The two acts differ in their provisions relating to a variety of other issues as well, such as proxies (§ 55-79.77 of the Condominium Act contains detailed provisions concerning proxies that are not found in the Property Owners’ Association Act).

The lesson is that board members and property managers need to pay close attention to the provisions of the specific applicable act, and can not just assume that the provisions of one act apply to the other form of association. When in doubt, always make the safe choice of spending a few minutes to review the provisions of the applicable act. And if you’re ever confused by or unsure of the applicability of a certain provision, don’t hesitate to contact your legal counsel for clarification.

Free Seminar by the LeClairRyan Attorneys -- April 17th

On April 17, 2010, LeClairRyan's Community Association Team will be presenting a free seminar in Williamsburg, Virginia, entitled "Advanced Legal Aspects of Community Associations."

We invite you to join attorneys Liz White, Dan Quarles, Megan Scanlon, and Will Sleeth as they will discuss four topics that board members and managers frequently encounter as they govern and manage associations: 

 

  • Leasing Restriction Amendments
  • Enforcement and Collection of Assessments and Fines
  • Board Meetings
  • Rules and Regulations and Architectural Guidelines

Resource and reference materials will be provided free of charge on a cd.

Again, the seminar will take place on April 17th, from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M., at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Space is limited and registration is required, so please click here to register, if you have not already done so. We look forward to seeing you, and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions.

 

Upcoming Webinar on POA Disclosure Packets

This Wednesday, March 31st, LeClairRyan's Community Association Industry Team will be hosting a free webinar entitled "What You Need to Know About Property Owner Association Disclosure Packets."

On Wednesday from noon to 1 P.M. EST, attorneys Lori Schweller and Liz White will discuss the Virginia Property Owners' Association Act's requirements, including when disclosure packets are required, who is responsible for requesting and providing them, what they should include, the costs of producing them, and the ramifications of non-compliance.

If you haven't already registered for this free event, click here to register now.