A lame duck is a political term for an elected official whose successor has already been elected or will be soon. In the context of a community association, a “lame duck” could be a director whose time on the board is coming to an end. The issue that sometimes arises is that these individuals make last-minute decisions that should probably be left for those next in line. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is to offer some best practices for outgoing directors that, for whatever the reason, will not be seeking reelection to the board.
Georgia is becoming a popular destination to film movies, television shows, commercials, and other visual media content. As a result, boards and property managers are seeing an increase in demand for their communities to be used as filming locations.
As we gladly bid farewell to 2020, the harsh reality is that many of this year’s issues may stick around for part of 2021. Therefore, to ensure your community association remains vigilant into the New Year, here are some of the things we learned from 2020.
On January 5, 2021, all eyes will turn to Georgia voters as they determine which political party will control the U.S. Senate in two separate runoff elections. This means that, in addition to the abundance of holiday decorations, many homeowners will also pepper their yards with political signs to support their candidates. For those living in a Georgia community association, it is important to understand that your First Amendment right to free speech does not trump—no pun intended—the association’s right to impose reasonable restrictions on political signs.
As everyone knows by now, COVID-19 dramatically impacted (and continues to impact) day-to-day business for community associations. Part of the initial fallout was a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction proceedings. Although these are handled at the county level throughout Georgia, the Statewide Judicial Emergency-which has been extended numerous times-temporarily put things on hold for every jurisdiction. It was not until the end of this summer, however, that some restrictions were lifted and counties could decide to resume with foreclosures and/or evictions.
Change to the Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act Restricts Leasing Amendments Beginning in 2021
Effective on January 1, 2021, the Georgia Property Owners' Association Act ("POA") will add language to O.C.G.A. § 44-3-226(a) that restricts prospective leasing amendments for community associations submitted to the POA. The change, however, will not impact condominium associations, and it will not initially impact common law community associations (i.e. community associations that are not submitted to the POA) unless and until they subsequently submit to the POA and amend their covenants to restrict leasing.
On July 29, 2020, Governor Kemp signed House Bill 1070, which adds a subsection (c) to the insurance coverage provision in the Georgia Condominium Act, O.C.G.A. § 44-3-107.
Senate Bill 359 has become law. We encourage all community associations to place signage at their entrances, amenities and/or building consistent with the language provided for in the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act.
COVID-19 has certainly presented a number of challenges for community associations over the past few months. Regardless of the specific issues coming up, they have no other choice but to continue operating as best and as safely as possible. One way to do this is for boards and property managers to find alternative ways to conduct business and/or present information without in-person meetings.
On June 26, 2020, the Georgia Legislature passed SB 359, which is titled the "Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act." If signed into law by Governor Kemp, SB 359 will provide immunity from liability claims regarding COVID-19 for community associations and other specified entities.