Three Factors An HOA Should Consider When Hiring An Attorney

June 23, 2014 on 11:28 am | In Common Interest Community, HOA, HOA litigation, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-12-22 09:22:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Selecting an attorney is one of the more significant decisions made by the board of directors for a community association. Often times, the association makes its decision based upon price alone. Although “price” is a valid factor to consider, there are other important factors the board should review during its selection process. This article addresses three of the major considerations.

First, the board should determine the prospective attorney’s experience level in the representation of community associations. Attorneys for common interest communities are similar to the general counsel in major corporations because of the wide range of issues that arise. Extensive experience in many of the possible legal issues facing community associations should be a prerequisite.

Tarley Robinson

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What can an HOA do to collect past dues when a bankrupt homeowner surrenders property but the lender does not foreclose?

June 23, 2014 on 11:28 am | In Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, John Tarley, Real Estate Litigation, State & Federal Litigation, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-07-20 08:22:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

An all-too-common scenario occurs when a homeowners association attempts to collect past dues and the homeowner files bankruptcy. The law is clear that the bankrupt homeowner is still liable for those post-petition dues. The United States Bankruptcy Code at Section 523(a)(16) makes the homeowner liable for “a fee or assessment that becomes due and payable after the order for relief to a [homeowners association] for as long as the debtor . . .  has a legal, equitable, or possessory ownership interest in such unit.”

In other instances the homeowner decides to walk away from the property and surrenders the property to the lender. Instead of foreclosing, however, the lender simply does nothing. Therefore, the title of the property is still in the name of the bankrupt homeowner who walked away from the property, and they are not paying the assessments. The lender has not foreclosed so they are not paying the assessments. How can the homeowners association collect these past due post-petition assessments?

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Enforcing HOA covenants important for common interest communities

June 23, 2014 on 11:28 am | In General Interest, HOA, John Tarley, State & Federal Litigation, Susan B. Tarley | 2 Comments

Originally posted 2010-11-22 09:04:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

 

We have written previously on the litigation of homeowner association cases. Generally, homeowner associations can file a lawsuit in the General District courts to enforce collection of assessments. However, If an HOA needs to enforce a covenant, seeking an injunction to require a homeowner to comply with the restrictive covenant, as of 2011, the HOA must file a lawsuit in the Circuit Court can now file a lawsuit in the General District Court, as well. Virginia Code sections 55-79.80:2, and 55-513 give jurisdiction for those matters to the General District Court. Those lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming.

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4 Tips to help your HOA protect its Attorney-Client Privilege

June 23, 2014 on 11:28 am | In Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, State & Federal Litigation, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-09-20 11:59:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Attorney-Client Privilege protects confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client.  This privilege includes communications made to the attorney and communications from the attorney. The Attorney-Client Privilege is designed to encourage clients to communicate with their attorney freely, without fearing disclosure of those communications made in the course of representation. The Attorney-Client Privilege is important because it permits clients to give their attorney complete and uncensored information, enabling their attorney to provide informed and thorough legal advice.

For community associations, the Attorney-Client Privilege belongs to the association and can only be expressly waived by the a decision of the association board or executive organ. However, the privilege can be impliedly waived based on the client’s conduct.  A determination on whether the privilege has been waived will depend on the specific facts of each case. The association will have to establish that the attorney-client relationship existed, that the communication is privileged, and that the privilege was not waived.

Here are four basic tips for the board of your Common Interest Community to follow so that it protects the association’s Attorney-Client Privilege:

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Unauthorized Practice of Law: When unlicensed attorneys serve as HOA board members

June 23, 2014 on 11:28 am | In Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, Merger & Acquisition, Real Estate Strategies, Susan B. Tarley | No Comments

Originally posted 2010-12-02 06:55:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

An article in the Virginia Gazette featured a story regarding the indictment of a local attorney for the unauthorized practice of law; a criminal charge classified as a class 1 misdemeanor. Although those allegations did not involve a homeowner association, it highlights a recurring issue for volunteer boards of directors for many organizations including homeowner associations and not-for-profit organizations on which attorneys serve. This article focuses on those issues facing boards for homeowner associations (“HOAs”) but the issues are similar for other volunteer boards of directors.

 

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7 reasons to consider amending your HOA’s governing documents

June 23, 2014 on 11:28 am | In Common Interest Community, HOA, HOA litigation, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-10-11 08:45:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

In other posts we have discussed a homeowner association’s governing documents. Many communities were established 20-40 years ago with governing documents that worked well for the developer, and for the most part the community association. However, many of these governing documents are outdated.  Virginia and federal laws pertaining to community associations have changed substantially.  If your board of directors has not engaged in an audit of your communities governing documents in the past 5-7 years, it should.

What is an “audit” of our governing documents?

An “audit” of your documents is an in-depth review by your HOA’s board of directors in conjunction with your association attorney.  The Board reviews each document noting any sections that lack clarity, are no longer enforced, appear to not apply to your community, protect a long-gone developer, or do not provide the association with adequate remedies.  The Board prepares a list of concerns or issues facing the community, such as homes that are not being maintained, large amounts of delinquent assessments, or enforcement capabilities of the association.  The Board provides this information to the association attorney.

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Get your fence off my property!

June 23, 2014 on 11:27 am | In Common Interest Community, HOA, HOA litigation, John Tarley, Real Estate Strategies, Susan B. Tarley | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-02-07 13:54:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Clients sometimes come to us with disputes regarding real estate litigation matters involving boundary line and easement encroachments. We provide legal advice and counsel, trying to balance your real estate rights with neighborly harmony, always looking to avoid a lawsuit when possible.

Easements provide a broad range of legal rights and obligations. In a fairly recent Virginia Supreme Court case, Snead v. C&S Properties Holding Company, a landowner blocked access to a validly recorded easement. The easement holder filed a lawsuit, asking the court to order the obstruction removed. The Virginia Supreme Court ordered the fence removed, concluding that “a significant portion of the easement would be rendered unusable for ingress and egress if injunctive relief were denied.”

Common Interest Communities

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ADA, FHA, and HOAs And Service Animals: Florida Association Sued for housing discrimination

June 23, 2014 on 11:27 am | In Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, John Tarley, State & Federal Litigation, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-05-26 09:10:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A short while ago we wrote a blog piece on the issues relating to community associations regulating service animals. In that blog we noted that the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”)  ”permits individuals with disabilities to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation when there are limitations imposed by the homeowner or condominium association on animals and pets.”  In Broward County, Florida, that county’s Civil Rights Division filed suit against a condominium association for violating the FHA by refusing to consider a person’s request for an “emotional servant animal,” a chihuahua.

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How important are state statutes and case decisions in governing your HOA?

June 23, 2014 on 11:27 am | In Common Interest Community, HOA, HOA litigation, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2011-02-08 09:18:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

We discussed Governing Documents for homeowners associations and Governing Documents for condominium associations. These governing documents for your community association must be read in conjunction with certain state and federal laws. In this article, we will discuss those relevant laws that must be considered by your HOA.

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“Aging In Place” – How can HOAs address aging communities?

June 23, 2014 on 11:27 am | In Common Interest Community, HOA, Megan Scanlon, Real Estate Strategies, Unit Owners Association | No Comments

Originally posted 2013-09-11 07:58:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

When we think of the challenges of overseeing homeowners associations, we might think of overgrown lawns, late assessment payments, and aggressive pets.  But another challenge has been waiting in the wings:  the aging of America’s “baby boomer” generation, many of whom are choosing to live out their golden years in their homes.  This rising trend is presenting new and unique challenges for Community Associations.  It is the wave of the future and the future is now.

Homeowner Association

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