• Recent Posts

  • Martindale Hubbell AV Rating

    The Greater Williamsburg area is an exciting place to live and work, especially because of the large number of entrepreneurs who have built businesses from the ground up. These entrepreneurs have taken their passion and made it their profession. Many of us want to take that step. Before you begin, you need to think of the type of business entity you want to form. Our attorneys have extensive business experience, from small one-person companies to publicly traded major corporations. Our attorneys are among the leaders in Virginia in the representation of Common Interest Communities. These communities are generally referred to as "homeowners associations," or "HOAs," and "condominium associations." In the greater Williamsburg area alone, we provide legal assistance to nearly 100 associations. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted and defended a wide array of civil disputes involving community association covenant enforcement, commercial transactions, construction disputes, contracts, real estate matters, boundary line and easement disputes, employment matters, antitrust litigation, copyright violations, administrative proceedings, and estate issues. Real Estate law encompasses a wide variety of matters, and our attorneys have vast experience to assist you. Whether you need assistance with a commercial or residential closing, or you have questions relating to residential or commercial leasing, we provide experienced advice and counsel to our clients. Zoning law can be a complicated maze of statutes and ordinances. We have ample experience in successful applications for rezoning, variance, and special use permit requests. Finally, commercial and residential construction provide special challenges with respect to financing issues and the construction process. We serve as counsel to various financial institutions.
Print This Post

Simple Tips for Effective HOA Due Process Hearings

This blog post focuses on addressing one major source of discontent in community associations: due process hearings for alleged violations of the community’s governing documents or condominium instruments.

HOA Due Process Hearing

Homeowners want fairness

Complaints about HOA due process hearings can be split into at least three different categories:

  • Before the hearing, the Board
    • did not attempt to settle reasonably;
    • did not explain variance procedure; or
    • did not properly send notice of violation or opportunity to cure.
  • During the hearing,
    • The Board was disorganized;
    • A Board member was rude;
    • The Board was not prepared for the hearing;
    • The Board did not give owner time to gather/present case; or
    • The Board did not view property/alleged violation.
  • After the hearing,
    • The Board did not give valid reasons for decision; or
    • The penalty was unreasonable.

Statutory Requirements for Due Process

The Property Owners’ Association Act and the Condominium Act each set out requirements for due process hearings. Prior to charges or suspension, an owner must be given a reasonable opportunity to correct the alleged violation after written notice. If the violation remains uncorrected, an owner must be given an opportunity to be heard and an opportunity to be represented by counsel. The Board must provide a notice of hearing, sent 14 days prior to hearing, either by hand-delivery or mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Following the hearing, the Board must provide notice of its result within 7 days after the hearing, delivered in the same manner.

Best Practices for Conducting HOA Due Process Hearings

It is important for HOA boards to “keep it simple” in order to comply with state statutes and the community’s governing documents, but also to preserve a sense of community fairness, objectivity, and consistency. All owners should be subject to at least the same “process” (although not necessarily the same outcome). To assist condominium boards and homeowners’ association boards, we have developed a simple checklist to follow:

  • Appoint one person to chair the hearing
  • “Script, script, and script” – prepare remarks and a clear statement of the alleged violation (to prevent rambling or editorializing)
  • Conduct the hearing in executive session
  • Keep the hearing informal, not court-like
  • Act professionally and cordially at all times
  • Listen to the owner, do not interrupt
  • Do not engage in a debate or argument with the owner
  • Talk with, not down to the owner
  • Only ask questions if necessary (at the end)
  • If the hearing becomes heated, end the hearing before it escalates
  • After the hearing concludes, the Board will discuss the issue in executive session, and then vote in an open session.

Conclusion

“Reasonableness” is the key for the Board; any consequences should be commensurate with the violation. Further, a board may make exceptions in exceptional circumstances, do not become fixated by the fear of “setting a precedent.” Your HOA lawyer should be able to provide guidance on that issue.

All of us want to be treated fairly, and with respect. Following these simple guidelines may help your Board avoid a highly charged and emotional hearing, while helping to establish a sense of community fairness and reasonableness.

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

John Tarley

John is the firm's managing partner and chairs the firm's small business, zoning, and litigation practice areas.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Filed under: Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, John Tarley, Unit Owners Association by John Tarley

Comments are closed.

« | »
Web Development by OneWaveMedia.Com