Sometimes, we all need a reminder to handle recurring action items that might be overlooked. That is particularly true this year when we are wrestling with a pandemic and other unexpected challenges. This is your reminder of the items that must be addressed annually in North Carolina so that you can take steps to ensure that they are not overlooked. The provisions that apply only to “new” condominium associations (formed after October 1, 1986) or “new” planned community associations (formed after January 1, 1999) are so marked.
- An annual meeting of the association must be held every year. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-108; N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-108. The annual meeting must be held even if the association remains under declarant control.
- A meeting must be noticed and held for the ratification of the annual budget. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-103(c); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-103(c). This is a unique meeting for the sole purpose of allowing the membership to reject the budget. Due to a drafting oversight, the statutory requirement for this meeting applies to all condominium associations, but only “new” planned community associations. Within thirty (30) days after a budget is adopted, a meeting must be scheduled and noticed, at which time the membership can reject the budget. The budget is ratified and approved unless a majority of the total membership votes to reject the budget, in which case the budget for the previous year continues in effect. A quorum need not be present at this meeting and the meeting notice must specifically indicate that a quorum is not required. This special budget meeting is often combined with the annual meeting if the timing of those meetings coincides to make that possible.
- The names and addresses of the officers and directors of the association must be published within thirty (30) days of their election. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-103(f); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-103(f). In our opinion, this requirement applies whether officers and directors are elected or are subsequently appointed to fill vacancies that may be created for one reason or another.
- Within seventy-five (75) days after the close of the association’s fiscal year, a statement of income and expenses must be available to members of the association at no charge. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-118(a); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-118(a). The law does not require that this statement be distributed, but only that it be available without cost.
- Members of the association must be given the opportunity to appear before the executive board of the association “at regular intervals” to speak about issues and concerns. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-108(b); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-108(b). The executive board may place reasonable time limitations on those who appear to speak. In our opinion, such an opportunity should be provided not less frequently than once per calendar quarter. The board may provide this opportunity as part of a regularly scheduled board meeting or schedule a special board meeting for this purpose. By scheduling a separate board meeting for this purpose, the board avoids the problem of having to “close” the meeting after the open forum portion is concluded. Members should be given reasonable notification of when and where the meeting will be held where they will be given the opportunity to speak. This statutory requirement for a “membership forum” does not supersede any requirement contained in the bylaws requiring that all meetings be open or more frequent opportunities for members to appear and be heard by the board.
- Except as otherwise provided in the association’s bylaws, meetings of the association and the executive board must be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. N.C.G.S. § 47C-3-108(c); N.C.G.S. § 47F-3-108(c).
7. Each year, the members must be notified that they may initiate mediation under N.C.G.S. § 7A-38.3F to try to resolve a dispute with the association (excluding disputes related to the payment of assessments, fines, or fees). The Association must publish this notice on its website, or if it does not have a website, the Association must publish the notice at the same time and in the same manner as the names and addresses of all officers and board members. See 3 above. While the Association is not required to participate in mediation if initiated, it is required to give this notice each year.