Association (both property owners’ association and condominium association) meetings are typically held at the community clubhouse or other local building.  However, with the increasing availability and utility of technology, virtual meetings are becoming more commonplace.

Virginia’s General Assembly (Virginia’s state legislature) recently passed legislation, House Bill 1205 (the “Amendment”), amending the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, that may increase the use of virtual meetings for property owners’ associations in the Commonwealth.  Note: property owners’ associations are typically non-stock corporations, subjecting them to the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act.  Continue Reading Virtual HOA Meetings?: Virginia’s General Assembly Makes It Easier For Property Owners’ Associations To Hold Entirely Electronic Meetings

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.

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 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.

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.

 

 

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.

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 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.

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.

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.