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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118304
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Just a quick question about the definition of a violation. I

Customer Question

just a quick question about the definition of a violation. I understand what it means, but my question is more about a specific ending.
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: So, it is understood that long grass is a violation. But when the homeowner cuts the grass and comes into compliance, is that violation complete? or can the HOA determine this is an "on-going" problem and skip the warning letter and go strait to a fine? In North Carolina
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: Just a notice of hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, there could be a fine imposed, but I did not receive a warning letter for this violation.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I'm not worried about the fine, as the violation has been corrected. I am more interested in the fact that the HOA thinks they can skip the process of issuing a warning letter; because they believe that a violation letter containing a warning needs only be sent once, and that every future violation for the same offense (even after the violation has been corrected) is actually a continuation of the first offense. So is this one offense or multiple individual violations that have a beginning and and end - upon resolving the violation.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Please include a North Carolina case of precedence in your response (if there is one) or a statute defines this type of tort. Thank you.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The NC courts have not further defined a "violation" outside of the normal definition of the word found in the dictionary. Furthermore, these HOA cases do not make it to the appeals court's where the case law is reported. The HOA violation occurs at the time it is issued, the fact it is subsequently corrected does not mean the violation did not take place at the time it was issued. Similar to speeding, for example, if you are driving 70 in a 55 and the police see you and you subsequently slow down to 55 before the officer stops you, that does not mean that the violation of speeding did not occur at the time the officer radar stated you were doing 70. The subsequent correction of your speed does not make you any less guilty of speeding. Here if your grass was not kept properly at the time they issued the violation in the morning, if you cut it later that day that means only that you were no longer violating the rule, but it does not mean you were not in violation in the morning when it was written.
Now, if your bylaws state the first time you would receive a warning or notice and you did not receive such a warning notice, then you have rights to appeal not receiving any warnings.. However, again, these types of HOA cases do not make it to appeals courts for written case decisions because of the costs of trying to even bring it to the appeals courts and people do not have the time or money to fight these minor issues into the courts.
As far as habitual violations go, if you are warned one time to not allow your grass to grow too high, this is up to the discretion of your board and the law does not address this either. If you received one warning to keep your grass cut and subsequently you let your grass grow too high, they can take the fact you had been previously warned as your notice and there is nothing in any of the NC statutes addressing this issue at all. There is nothing saying they have to warn you every month and allow you to correct it. By analogy, in NC landlord tenant law, if a tenant is late on their rent every month and they pay late, this is grounds for a landlord to terminate a lease for breach even if the tenant pays late based on habitual late payments.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I appreciate the clarity of the answer, and how easy it was for me to understand. I will use this service in the future.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you so much. Please do not forget to click on the 5 star feedback at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of this site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless the customer clicks on that feedback. Thank you for your understanding.