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.


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!



 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 Records Inspection Requests by Members: An Overview

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.

We received the following question relating to disclosure packets and financial updates: Va. Code § 55-509.9 provides that settlement agents may request escrow instructions from the disclosure packet preparer, who would be the association manager in the case of a professionally managed association. No fee may be charged for escrow instructions, whereas an association manager may charge a $50 fee for a financial update. Settlement agents and other parties involved in the sale of a property (e.g. real estate agents) regularly request written confirmation of outstanding assessments, special assessments, HOA insurance coverage, insurance agent contact information, etc. Since this information is in the disclosure packet already provided, does this information qualify as a “financial update” for which a fee may be charged? Is there a definition of what is included in a settlement agent request that is not subject to a fee and one that is?

Continue Reading Disclosure Packets and Financial Updates

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.

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 POA Disclosure Packets Webinar — Q&A Follow-up

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.

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.