Category Archives: Ask the Experts

Articles provided by Charlotte Observer

Must an HOA allow therapy dogs and handicap ramps?


In this week’s column, I am addressing questions from two readers that relate to accommodations for disabled persons:
Question 1: We have an owner who has requested that he be allowed to construct a handicap ramp on the front of his home. There is nothing in our CCRs or in our Rules & Regulations that allows or prohibits such structures. However, all owners must obtain approval of the ARC (architectural review committee) prior to construction on any homesite.

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Working Well With Your Homeowner Association’s Attorney

Love them or hate them. But you must work with attorneys to run your association effectively. Here are six tips for getting the most out of your attorney-client relationship.

1) Get it in writing. “Make sure you have an engagement letter,” says Justin D. Park, an attorney at Romero Park & Wiggins P.S. in Bellevue, Wash. “It really protects both sides.” The engagement letter should identify at least two basics: what you’re hiring the attorney to do and how the attorney will be paid.

2) Designate a contact person. “The best relationships I’ve had with clients have been when they’ve had a clear contact person,” says Park. “Sometimes two or three people will contact me and say, ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that,’ and I don’t have a clear line of communication. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as everybody on the board knows who it is and the attorney knows exactly whom to call. Associations can even designate different points of contact for different purposes. For instance, there may be a board member responsible for dues collection. But if there’s a litigation, contacts go to another person.”

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HOA’s rules aren’t being enforced

Q: We live in a Charlotte townhome community. In 2010, the HOA board revised the community’s existing “Rules & Regulations,” taking special care not to be in conflict with the decade-old Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs). Prior to implementation, all owners signed for the hand-delivered, revised Rules & Regulations booklet (including a notice of the rule changes) along with a letter announcing a monthlong transition period to the new rules.

 It has been months since the transition period has expired, and one owner has refused to comply with the revised rules and has threatened legal action, stating that he is only obliged to follow the rules that were in effect when he moved in. The board’s reaction has been to avoid confrontation and not enforce the revised rules. Are the new rules enforceable, regardless of when the owners moved in?

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Can we Change our Annual Meeting Date?

By Mike Huntermike_hunter

Attorney Michael Hunter specializes in community and condominium association law for the firm of Horack Talley

Question: Our covenants, conditions and restrictions say that the annual meeting is to be held the first Saturday in October. However our meetings have never been held on that day, due to the fact the board members have never been available that date – even with changing members through the years. Our management company advised that as long as the meeting is held reasonably around that date, and notice is sent properly according to the rules, then the actual date of the meeting doesn’t have to be on the first Saturday of October.

A few homeowners have balked at the Saturday meeting date: They’d rather not waste a Saturday with a HOA meeting. Is the board required to have the meeting on the first Saturday of October, as bylaws require?

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