Charlotte, NC

HOA boards should tread carefully on assistance animals

January 24, 2015
We are often asked about pet restrictions in the context of homeowners’ associations (HOAs) and their enforceability with respect to assistance animals for persons with disabilities.
     An HOA’s governing documents often restrict the type, size, and quantity of pets allowed. Like all good rules, there are exceptions.
     In this case, they come in the form of the federal Fair Housing Act. The act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or familial status in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, mandates that HOAs provide reasonable accommodations to homeowners with disabilities.
     The act should not be confused with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA governs only public spaces, including public housing. It is not applicable to HOAs in most cases, since most HOA-owned common areas are not places of “public accommodation.”
     

Man with disability frustrated by neighborhood’s parking policy

March 12, 2012
Each step Nowell Yrizarry takes, he feels pain. Yrizarry's disability makes it so difficult to walk that he often has to drive to visit his neighbor, who lives just about 70 yards away. "The moment I start moving," Yrizarry said, "I begin to wear upon my spine."
     The physical pain is bad enough, but Yrizarry said he's now dealing with added turmoil of a parking policy in his Ballantyne neighborhood. The Homeowners Association at Adair at Ballantyne doesn't allow residents to park on the street. Rather, they are required to park in their garages or driveways.
     "It's very frustrating," said Letitia King. She's Yrizarry's friend and neighbor, who he often visits by car. After one recent visit, he found a warning sticker on his car telling him he'd violated the HOA's parking policy. He now has to appear in front of the HOA board and might have to pay $100 per ticket.

NAACP takes on HOA over "white only" deed

December 14, 2009
The lot hereby conveyed shall be used for residential purposes only and shall be owned and occupied by people of the Caucasian race.”
     That inflammatory statement is the first rule listed on Myers Park’s deed restrictions. Two years ago, Newschannel 36 spotted the wording on a “sample deed” listed on the Myers Park Neighborhood Association website.
     Now, Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Community Relations Committee (CRC) has formally called that publication “discriminatory” and the NAACP is making demands.
     “You have to do more than say, ‘Oops I’m sorry.’ We’re tired of people getting caught doing racist things and then just saying, ‘Oops, I’m sorry,’” NACCP NC president Dr. William Barber said Monday.
     That wording is nearly a hundred years ago from a time when rules like that were common in Charlotte neighborhoods. Myers Park’s attorney, Ken Davies, tells Newschannel 36 it is illegal, and has not been enforced.

Minority loan gap widens

July 13, 2009
As the credit spigot dried up in 2008, blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be denied mortgage loans than whites, an Observer analysis of the latest national mortgage data found.
     And the rejection gap is growing between whites and minorities, causing some community activists to worry about recurring discrimination in lending.
     Nearly one out of two African Americans who sought to buy a single-family home or refinance a loan were denied, compared with about one in four for whites, according to the analysis of top U.S. lenders. Hispanic loan applications were denied nearly as often as those submitted by blacks.

Beazer execs to forfeit $1 million in bonuses

July 02, 2009
Two top Beazer Homes executives have agreed to pay their bonuses from last year into the $50 million restitution fund the homebuilder is establishing for victims of its predatory lending practices, according to company filings.
     Ian McCarthy, president and chief executive officer, and Michael Furlow, executive vice president and chief operating officer, have contributed the after-tax proceeds of their 2008 bonuses in recognition of the financial challenges currently facing the Company, Beazer said. The money will be used to defray the company's payments into the fund.
     Securities filings show McCarthy's bonus was $600,000 last year, before taxes, in addition to his $1.2 million salary and $223,000 in other compensation. Furlow's bonus was $400,000, pre-tax, in addition to his $800,000 salary and $112,000 in other compensation.
     

Racist language in deeds prompts questions

October 10, 2007
Some people want answers about illegal language in deeds on thousands of Charlotte homes.
     It says black people can't live in the neighborhood. A sample of that 1936-era deed is displayed on the Myers Park homeowners association Web site and some question whether it should be there.
     The sample deed, which is common for homes in the Myers Park neighborhood, lists restrictions that include, "The lot...shall be owned and occupied by people of the Caucasian race only."

Low-income clusters thwart housing goal

September 11, 2006
A group of east Charlotte homeowners erupted into applause in April when residents told City Council member Nancy Carter that too many public housing recipients were moving into their neighborhoods.
     Carter took the complaint to city administrators, triggering months of debate over the Charlotte Housing Authority's largest rental-assistance program, commonly known as Section 8.

GOP Freudian Slip Watch: N.C. Rep. admits making stupid race comment

December 20, 2002
Responding to Sen. Trent Lott's recent comments, Rep. Cass Ballenger told a newspaper he has had "segregationist feelings" himself after conflicts with a black colleague. Friday morning, he went on local radio to say it was a stupid comment to make.
      Ballenger, a North Carolina Republican, had said in Friday's Charlotte Observer that former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., so provoked him that "I must admit I had segregationist feelings."
      "If I had to listen to her, I probably would have developed a little bit of a segregationist feeling," Ballenger told the Observer. "But I think everybody can look at my life and what I've done and say that's not true.
      "I mean, she was such a bitch," he said.

Eastside residents claim discrimination in buses

October 30, 2002
Federal transit officials say they will look into complaints by eastside residents that the county is discriminating against lower-income neighborhoods by offering them busways instead of light rail.
     The Eastside Neighborhood Council told the Federal Transit Administration's regional office last week that it's wrong that communities with more lower-income residents and minorities would get busways while trains are proposed for what they say are wealthier areas.
     The civil rights officer in the Federal Transit Administration's Atlanta office will assess the complaints, said regional FTA official Alex McNeil. McNeil couldn't be reached Tuesday, but he said in an e-mail to the eastside council he had received many complaints from Charlotte residents and "we consider this a serious matter." 

Housing authority cracks down on criminal conduct

August 21, 2002
Charlotte's public housing residents will be held responsible for the criminal conduct of their guests under a sweeping set of new rules approved by the Charlotte Housing Authority board Tuesday.
     Tenants will also have fewer days to pay their rent and will be required to attend at least four resident association meetings per year. And new residents will have to pay a higher security deposit before they move in.
     A few residents and local housing advocates have expressed concerns that doubling the maximum security deposit from $150 to $300 would make it difficult for needy families to qualify. 

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