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

Drones and HOAs: How Homeowners Associations and Condominium Associations Can Be Prepared to Deal with the New Technology

  Amazon.com’s recent announcement – that in the future it may utilize unmanned drones to deliver packages to individual residences – has created a host of novel legal issues that all homeowners associations should consider and plan for. Although commentators believe that the commercial use of delivery drones may be a few years off, associations should begin planning now for whether they should regulate the use of drones within the association; how they should regulate the use of drones; and how they can minimize potential liability arising from the use of drones.

While the public has so far only been provided with bits and pieces of information about the make-up and capabilities of unmanned delivery drones, some general information is available: a drone will carry a package and will fly from a warehouse to an owner’s house, with the goal of attempting to deliver the package in a very short amount of time right after it has been ordered. The drone is designed to land, helicopter style, on an owner’s lawn and drop off the package. The drone will then use its helicopter-style propellers to vertically ascend from the owner’s lawn and return to the warehouse.

Continue Reading...

Disclosure Packets and Resale Certificates Revisited: Recent Statutory Amendments

Bills recently passed in the Virginia General Assembly extend the list of items for inclusion in property owners’ association disclosure packets and condominium association resale certificates, and also broaden non-association disclosure requirements.  Effective July 1, 2013, disclosure packets may or must (depending on the item) include the following new items:

 Restrictions on Solar Panels (HB 2305): Disclosure statements for lots within property owners’ associations and resale certificates for condominiums must include a statement setting forth any restriction, limitation, or prohibition on the right of a unit owner or lot owner to install or use solar energy collection devices on the owner’s property or unit. Va. Code §§ 55-79.97(C)(17), 55-509.5(A)(12).

Further, Va. Code  § 55-519(B)(9) provides that the disclosure form required under the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act (a Virginia law that spells out, among other things, certain disclosures that most sellers of property must provide, regardless of whether the property is within a community association) must include language to notify purchasers that by delivering the residential property disclosure statement, the owner makes no representations with respect to any right to install or use solar energy collection devices on the property.

Of course, it is always incumbent on the purchaser to read the declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations for a community association to determine whether the association has established any restrictions concerning the size, place, and manner of placement of solar energy collection devices; or, for an association with a restrictive covenant adopted prior to July 1, 2008, any restriction or prohibition on the installation or use of a solar collection device. 

Continue Reading...

HOAs and Pool Lifts: Compliance Deadline Extended

LeClairRyan Community Association Team member Brian Muse recently blogged about the time extension under the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) for compliance with pool lift requirements, something that every HOA with a pool should be aware of. Check out Brian's post over at his new blog ADA Musings. While you're there, you'll find that his blog contains many other helpful articles that HOA community managers, board members, and developers should be aware of.

 

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.

Avoiding the Perils and Pitfalls of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

On Thursday, February 16, 2012, LeClairRyan employment law attorney and Community Association Team member Brian Muse will present a one-hour webinar on the Fair Credit Report Act.

This webinar will provide practical advice to employers on what they need to know to conduct background checks and employee investigations without running afoul of the FCRA. It will address the types of notice that employers must provide prior to background checks and the required procedures for compliance. It will also offer practical advice to employers to avoid legal trouble in this constantly evolving area of the law.

For more information, and to register for this event, click here.

 

LeClairRyan Community Association Team to be Blogging Live from the Virginia Leadership Retreat

Members of LeClairRyan's Community Association Industry Team will be blogging live from the Homestead this weekend, at the annual Virginia Leadership Retreat. The conference will run from July 29 -31, and will feature an array of networking events and presentations by some of the leaders of the community association industry in Virginia. LeClairRyan will be making the largest showing by any law firm in Virginia, with 8 of its attorneys attending.

If you're unable to make the retreat, be sure to check-in with the blog for updates on the events. If you're attending the retreat, feel free to check-in too!

 

 

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...

Missed the Fair Housing Act Webinar? View it Now.

Did you happen to miss last month's Fair Housing Act webinar put on by LeClairRyan's Liz White and Brian Muse? No problem -- the webinar is available for viewing at your convenience. Just click here to be linked to the blog's "Webinars" section to find links to this webinar as well as all of the team's other webinars.

Upcoming Webinar on the Fair Housing Act

On Wednesday, May 19th, LeClairRyan's Community Association Industry Team will be hosting a free webinar entitled "The Fair Housing Act: Keeping your Community Association in Compliance and Out of Court.”

On Wednesday the 19th from noon to 1 P.M. EST, attorneys Liz White and Brian Muse will provide an overview of the Fair Housing Act and how it applies to Community Associations, and offer practical advice for how Associations can avoid fines, penalties, and lawsuits.

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

POA Disclosure Packets Webinar -- Q&A Follow-up

Thank you to all those who participated in our March 31st webinar on POA Disclosure Packets. To follow up, the following are answers to those questions you submitted that were left unanswered at the end of the program. Thank you for your insightful questions!

Q. Is HB 702, the new law regarding time of payment for disclosure packets (effective July 1, 2010), applicable to professionally managed associations as well as self-managed associations? 

A. The new law will apply only to self-managed associations. For the time being, professionally-managed associations should continue to ensure that fees for disclosure packets are collected at settlement.

Q. Must a copy of an insurance document or certificate for the Association be included in the disclosure packet, or only a notation of the coverage amount?

A. The disclosure packet must include a "statement setting forth what insurance coverage is provided for all lot owners by the association, including the fidelity bond maintained by the association, and what additional insurance would normally be secured by each individual lot owner." A document from the insurance company is not required.

Continue Reading...

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.

Property Listings & Residential Purchase Agreement: How to Check the Right Box

Anyone selling a lot or home that is part of a Property Owners’ Association (POA) is responsible for providing potential lot purchasers with information about the POA, referred as a “disclosure packet.” Sellers rely on their associations to provide complete and current disclosure packets to prospective purchasers. If a POA is managed by a POA manager, the POA’s contract with the manager typically gives the manager this responsibility. 

It’s not always obvious that a property is or is not part of a POA, so it’s a good idea for the seller to know and to share this information with his realtor. A purchaser’s first clue that a property is part of a POA comes from the property listing prepared by the seller’s realtor. And, of course, the residential purchase contract must disclose whether or not the property is part of a POA. 

Unfortunately, sometimes sellers and realtors are not sure which box to check when preparing property listings and residential contracts. To avoid unintentional misrepresentation, here are some guidelines from the Virginia Code:

The Virginia POA Act does not apply to every subdivision subject to a recorded declaration. It applies only to “developments” (a defined term) subject to a “declaration” (another defined term) initially recorded after January 1, 1959 and to subdivisions created under the former Subdivided Land Sales Act (§ 55-536 et seq.), which is superseded by the POA Act.

The following five elements must be present for a “development”:

  1. lots, at least some of which are
  2. residential or recreational;
  3. common area;
  4. automatic membership in an association; and
  5. (potential) obligation to pay assessments.

And, a “declaration” must do one or both of the following:

  1. impose responsibilities on the association to maintain or operate the common area; and/or
  2. give the association authority to impose on lots or their owners a mandatory obligation to pay money in connection with such responsibilities. (I stress “authority” because sometimes an association may have the authority but not have a regular assessment in place.)

So, even if a neighborhood looks like a development and is subject to a recorded declaration, it is not a “development” for purposes of the Property Owners Association Act unless each lot owner is a member of an association, the association has a duty to maintain common area, and the declaration gives the association the power to charge mandatory assessments against the lot owner.