The North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 16 and presented it to the Governor on August 4th. The act creates a commission to study the process for mediation or arbitration of disputes between property owners and their association. The commission is required to report its findings and recommendations to the 2018 regular session of the General Assembly when it convenes next year. Litigation of such disputes can be very expensive and the cost of such litigation has discouraged some property owners and associations from pursuing their claims. However, requiring arbitration could likely include a prohibition on the appeal of any decision, leaving property owners and associations stuck with rulings by an arbitrator or arbitration panel that are in direct
Amendments to the Declarations of planned communities subject to the Planned Community Act must have the approval of at least 67% of the votes allocated by the Declarations. In most all circumstances, each lot has one vote meaning that there must be “Yes” votes cast by the owners of at 67% of all lots—not just the lots that vote. A lot that fails to vote is the equivalent of a “No” vote.
In an August 1, 2017 decision, Tanglewood Property Owners’ Ass’n v. Isenhour, et al., the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the duty of a property owner that has the right to use an easement in a subdivision to pay for a share of the cost of maintaining the easement. In this case a voluntary property owners’ association created prior to the Planned Community Act was awarded judgment against a lot owner who claimed that he did not use all of the roadway easement in a subdivision and was not a member of the association. The Court’s opinion restated the principle that the obligation to contribute to road maintenance can be calculated on a pro rata (per lot) basis without
If you have a problem with nuisance or dangerous bear, call the N.C. Wildlife Helpline, a service of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Do not attempt to trap or to kill a bear on your own. In addition to possible physical injury or death, you could face serious legal trouble for violating various federal or state wildlife regulations.
The best way to prevent problems with bears is to avoid unintentionally feeding them. Secure bags of trash inside cans stored in a garage, basement, or other secure area. Place trash outside, as late as possible, or trash pick-up days – not the night before. Keep all garbage sites clean. If a bear is in the area, remove bird or hummingbird feeders, even if they’re advertised as “bear proof”. Avoid “free-feeding” pets outdoors. Do not leave pet food out overnight. If you must feed pets outdoors, make sure all food is consumed and empty bowls are removed. Clean all food and grease from your grill or outdoor kitchen after each use. Bears are attracted to food odors and may investigate.
Damage to Your Automobile Yes. There’s insurance for that. Make sure your automobile insurance includes this relatively inexpensive type of coverage. Your deductible can be as low as Zero Dollars ($0), and will provide coverage for a number of scenarios, including: missiles or falling objects; fire; theft or larceny; explosion or earthquake; windstorm; hail, water or flood; malicious mischief or vandalism; riot or civil commotion; contact with a bird or animal; or breakage of glass. (Read more on auto coverage in the NC Department of Insurance Consumer Guide here.) While the missiles, explosions, or riots are uncommon here in WNC, we do have an abundance of wildlife who would just love to eat that leftover granola bar in your front
Arbitration and mediation have become more common in recent years. The inclusion of one-sided arbitration clauses in consumer agreements with large businesses has taken away the ability of consumers to obtain legal relief in courts. North Carolina’s requirement that all civil cases in Superior Court be mediated prior to trial has successfully reduced the number of cases going to trial and has shortened the time to conclude these cases. Arbitration and mediation both involve settlement of disputes but are different in one important way. The arbitration process requires a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators to hear evidence from the parties and reach a decision that is enforceable just like a judgment obtained in a trial. On the other
Too often we represent property owners who are surprised to find a lien on their property after hiring a contractor for new construction or renovations. Chapter 44A, Article 2 of the general statutes of North Carolina gives construction contractors, design professionals and suppliers the right to place a lien upon property that has benefited from their service or material and to foreclose the lien if they are not paid. There are two types of liens commonly used against property owners: (1) liens upon property and (2) liens upon funds. A construction lien upon property is a direct claim on the real estate improved that can result in the real estate being sold to pay the claimant. Liens upon funds enable
Criminals posing as IRS officials continue to bilk unsuspecting citizens out of their money using scam telephone calls threatening to have you arrested for nonpayment of taxes. If you receive a call that you suspect is an IRS impersonation scam, contact the Treasury Inspector General for tax administration (TIGTA) at 800 – 366 – 4484 to report the call. Find additional information on avoiding IRS scam calls here.
Every amendment to the Declarations shall be recorded in every county in which any portion of the Planned Community is located and is effective only upon recordation. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 47F-2-117.