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Can Community Privileges or Services Be Suspended?

Adam Marshall
Adam Marshall

We are often asked what can be done when a homeowner is
violating the governing documents.  That
answer depends on the language of the association’s declaration, and whether or
not the association is subject to the North Carolina Planned Community Act or
Condominium Act.  Quite frequently, the
answer results in a discussion on the association’s ability to issue fines to
owners who are in violation.  However,
the same North Carolina statutes that grant the ability to issue fines also
grant the association the ability to suspend community privileges or services.

As with issuing fines, an owner’s community privileges or
services may not be suspended without following the proper statutory
procedure.  Essentially the statutes
require that owners be provided with “due process” prior to issuing a fine
and/or prior to suspending community privileges or services.

NCGS 47F-3-107.1 and 47C-3-107.1 state that: “Unless a
specific procedure for the imposition of fines or suspension of planned
community/condominium privileges or services is provided for in the
declaration, a hearing shall be held before the executive board or an
adjudicatory panel appointed by the executive board to determine if any
lot/unit owner should be fined of if planned community/condominium privileges
or services should be suspended…”  Both
statutes require that the owner receive notice of the charge, an opportunity to
be heard and to present evidence, and notice of a decision regarding the alleged
violation or delinquency. If the executive board or adjudicatory panel decides
to suspend privileges or services, the suspension may be continued without
further hearing until the violation or delinquency is cured.

This procedure is most often used when the association
has an amenity available to the homeowner. 
For example a pool, tennis courts, or a clubhouse.  Associations can suspend the right to use
these community amenities until the owner cures the particular violation or
delinquency.  During the summer months we
sometimes see associations suspend the ability to use the pool until the owner
becomes current on their assessments.

Suspension of community privileges and services is seen
less often than the issuance of fines. However, the same statutory process is
to be followed for both.  For associations
with particularly attractive amenities, suspension of privileges or services
may entice compliance faster than issuing fines.

For advice on the process of issuing fines or
suspending community privileges or services, please contact one of our
community association attorneys in our Greensboro, Charlotte, Triangle, or
Coastal offices.  Note that the specific
procedures outlined above pertain to North Carolina communities.  For help with your community in South
Carolina, please contact one of our South Carolina licensed attorneys.

Author: Adam Marshall
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from Black, Slaughter, Black.

* These articles and related content on this website are provided without warranty of any kind and in no way constitute or provide legal advice. You are advised to contact an attorney specializing in Association Management for legal advice related to your specific issue and community. Some articles are provided by thrid parties and online services. Display of these articles does in no way endorse the products or services of Community Association Management by the author(s).