Written by attorney John Tarley Jr.

4 things your HOA needs to know about Virginia’s new complaint process

In 2008, Virginia enacted legislation requiring condominium and property owners’ associations to establish reasonable procedures for resolving member and citizen complaints. The legislation further required the Common Interest Community Board (the “CICB") to establish regulations for the associations to govern the complaint process.

The CICB has proposed regulations that are currently pending final approval and enactment. We anticipate that the regulations will go into effect in early 2011.

What does this mean for your association? You will need to establish, or amend, your written procedures to comply with the regulations.

  1. The pending regulations require associations to establish a written process for resolving complaints. The written process must (i) address how claims will be delivered to the association; (ii) require the association to acknowledge the complaint; (iii) require the association to establish a reasonable method to identify and request additional information from the complainant to process the complaint; (iv) require the association to provide notice to the complainant of when the complaint will be considered and notice of the final decision by the association.

  2. Associations will be required to certify with each annual report filing that it has adopted a complaint procedure, and will be required to remind its members on an annual basis of the complaint procedure. The complaint procedure will have to be included as an attachment to the resale certificate or disclosure packet.

  3. If an association fails to adopt complaint procedures, the CICB will enforce the regulations by issuing orders to the association, filing suit or assessing monetary penalties not to exceed $1,000 per violation.

  4. The regulations require an association registered with the CICB to establish and adopt its complaint procedure within 90 days of the effective date of the regulations. Our advice is that you should establish a procedure now. By establishing your procedures now, the association can start using a process, prior to the deadline established by the CICB, and determine whether it works. The process can be tweaked to address any inefficiencies or ineffectiveness.

Contact your association attorney to review your current complaint procedure or to assist in drafting and implementing your complaint procedures.

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