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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Properly Conduct a Disciplinary Hearing

Parking violations. Architectural violations. Nuisance violations. These are just a few examples of the many violations that homeowners associations deal with on a regular basis. We frequently see associations simply fine the homeowner without a notice and hearing. Most of the time, people pay it and move on, but sometimes, the fine is challenged. Without giving the violating homeowner due process, the disciplinary measure is invalid.

Here is what is required under Civil Code ยง5855 for a proper hearing:

"(a) When the board is to meet to consider or impose discipline upon a member, or to impose a monetary charge as a means of reimbursing the association for costs incurred by the association in the repair of damage to common area and facilities caused by a member or the member's guest or tenant, the board shall notify the member in writing, by either personal delivery or individual delivery pursuant to Section 4040, at least 10 days prior to the meeting.

(b) The notification shall contain, at a minimum, the date, time, and place of the meeting, the nature of the alleged violation for which a member may be disciplined or the nature of the damage to the common area and facilities for which a monetary charge may be imposed, and a statement that the member has a right to attend and may address the board at the meeting. The board shall meet in executive session if requested by the member. (c) If the board imposes discipline on a member or imposes a monetary charge on the member for damage to the common area and facilities, the board shall provide the member a written notification of the decision, by either personal delivery or individual delivery pursuant to Section 4040, within 15 days following the action.

(d) A disciplinary action or the imposition of a monetary charge for damage to the common area shall not be effective against a member unless the board fulfills the requirements of this section." (Emphasis supplied.)

This is the bare minimum required to have a proper disciplinary hearing. Oftentimes, the association's governing documents require additional documentation and disclosure language. We have seen some By-Laws require a formal complaint with a procedure for a written response prior to the disciplinary hearing. All of this might seem oppressive, but the point of it all is to protect the Association's interests in the event the matter is litigated.

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