In addition to representing owners' associations in residential condominium, townhome, and single-family communities, Ward and Smith, P.A.'s Community Associations Practice Group represents owners' associations in commercial/business communities, such as retail shopping centers, medical office buildings, business complexes, and parking lots, as well as mixed-use communities. Our mission is to provide experienced counsel and clear advice to boards of directors for the proper governance and administration of owners' associations and to protect and enhance the business operations of the members.
The services we perform for our commercial association clients include:
- Collect unpaid assessments and related charges;
- Advise on covenant and rule enforcement, including imposing fines and suspending privileges;
- Address road maintenance issues, including preparing easement agreements, license agreements, and cost‑sharing agreements;
- Address issues regarding the shared use, regulation, and maintenance of parking lots, sidewalks, open areas, and other common areas;
- Review and interpret association documents;
- Draft association documents and amendments;
- Guide Board members through annual and special member meetings, including the process of budget ratification and member-initiated meetings to remove Board members;
- Explain the fiduciary duties of Board members and how these duties are applied;
- Direct Board members on how to handle difficult situations when a community's governing documents intersect or conflict with statutory and regulatory legal standards;
- Assist with Declarant Rights issues, including negotiating with developers on community control and governance;
- Navigate community associations through developer transition, including representation in complex litigation over construction defects and Board control;
- Structuring and implementing transition procedures, including working with engineers, accountants, and other service providers needed during transition;
- Counsel community associations about stormwater maintenance and stormwater permit issues, as well as representing associations before environmental regulatory agencies and in litigation over environmental issues;
- Representing community associations in contested litigation and bankruptcy proceedings filed by owners; and
- Enforce architectural control restrictions against owners and builders who violate the covenants.
Other services we regularly provide community associations are resolution of construction, insurance, contract, and leasing issues, as well as the negotiation and preparation of contracts with various types of entities. The Practice Group also assists clients in complying with state and federal laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the North Carolina Condominium Act, the North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act, the North Carolina Planned Community Act, and the North Carolina Unit Ownership Act.
Our attorneys belong to many organizations relating to their practice areas, and they are members of numerous professional organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Bankruptcy Institute, Community Associations Institute, HOA-USA, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, North Carolina Bar Association (Construction Law; Real Property Law; and Zoning, Planning and Land Use Law Sections), and North Carolina Land Title Association.