Little can be more frustrating to an association than when a non-compliant homeowner files for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws are complex, and navigating them can be a challenge even for the most sophisticated managers. One of the broadest protections for homeowners that file bankruptcy is the “automatic stay.” This provision of the bankruptcy code immediately
For more than a year, community associations have been struggling with managing the use of their pools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With ever-changing regulations, vacillating infection rates, and differing opinions on boards and within communities, the decision may be overwhelming. However, with some simple education and adherence to guidelines, community associations can feel confident in reopening their pools while at the same time limiting liability. Last year, we provided information to assist community associations, and this year, with updated orders from the Governor, we hope to provide the most current information for community associations to make fully informed decisions.
On April 21, 2021, Governor Northam issued his Fifth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two. The language in the Order mirrored that of last year’s order regarding pools:
Outdoor and indoor swimming pools may be open, provided occupancy is limited to no more than 75% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy and all swimmers maintain at least ten feet of physical distance from others who are not family members.Continue Reading 2021 Update: Opening HOA Pools in the Pandemic: Community Association Considerations in Opening Pools in Virginia Amongst the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the world of enforcing covenants, deeds, and restrictions, injunctions are one of the most powerful tools association managers have in their arsenal. An injunction is an order from a Court either requiring a homeowner to comply with particular rules or restrictions or ordering the homeowner to cease violating the restrictions. Associations can request injunctive relief whether or not the association wishes to seek monetary damages against the homeowner.
Courts are often willing to award injunctions for several reasons. First, in most cases where injunctions are appropriate, the association has taken many steps prior to filing suit to enforce the covenants, including communications with the homeowner, calling the owner to a due process hearing of the board, assessing non-compliance charges, and oftentimes demands for compliance from the association’s attorney. The association can then plead with the Court, arguing that there is little else the association can do to enforce the restrictions. Judges are frequently sympathetic to these arguments, especially considering the fact that the restrictions are legally deemed to be a contract with the homeowner, and if the homeowner refuses to abide by the contract, then the only avenue for redress is with the Courts. Additionally, most violations affect the neighboring properties and often decrease home values and/or make it difficult for neighbors to sell their property.
Continue Reading The Almighty Injunction
“When will the community association pools open?” No question has been on the forefront of community association board members and frazzled parents more. On March 12, 2020, Governor Northam issued an executive order, declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. Five days later, the Governor limited capacity to fitness facilities, and on March 23, completely closed all recreational and entertainment businesses, which included public pools. Then, on June 30, Governor Northam issued his executive order regarding Phase 3 of reopening Virginia, which included the following provision:
Outdoor and indoor swimming pools may be open, provided occupancy is limited to no more than 75% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy and all swimmers maintain at least ten feet of physical distance from others who are not family members.
Community association residents rejoiced, but board members began handwringing at the prospect of potential liability. This article is intended to provide clarity to the issue and give community associations the knowledge and tools they need to decide if and how to open community pools safely.
Continue Reading Opening HOA Pools in the Pandemic: Community Association Considerations in Opening Pools in Virginia Amongst the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Virginia General Assembly passed hundreds of bills during the 2020 legislative session. For those who lead, live in, or associate with community associations, many of these changes could impact the day to day operations of how individuals and these associations interact. Below is a summary of some of the General Assembly’s more significant recent bills that effect community associations.
House Bill 176 – Contract Disclosure Statement with regards to the Property Owners’ Association Act and Virginia Condominium Act
With House Bill 176, the Virginia General Assembly updated Virginia Code Section 55.1-1808. Section 55.1-1808 is a provision that requires the seller of a lot to disclose that the lot is located within a development that is subject to the Property Owners’ Association Act and provide to the purchaser of the lot an association disclosure packet. Under certain terms, the purchaser has the right to cancel the contract to purchase the lot upon receipt of this disclosure packet. The new law updates the language of the statute to include the term “ratified real estate contract.” Generally, the purchaser previously had the right to cancel the contract within three days of receiving the association disclosure packet. Now, the purchaser also has the right to cancel the contract of purchase for a period of up to seven days if specified in a ratified real estate contract.
Continue Reading Summary of New Virginia Legislation Impacting Community Associations in 2020