Mandate from the Legislature-Complaint Procedure

QUESTION: 

I understand that at this time all associations are required to have a complaint procedure in place in order for their members to be able to let the CIC Board know of issues they have with their association. I also know that the Annual Report form requires an Association to state whether or not it has a complaint procedure. What is the consequence if an association fails to comply after getting the DPOR’s letter about non-compliance when they have checked “no” on the Annual Report?

ANSWER:

If the association representative checked “no” on the Annual Report, the CIC Board will send a letter requiring that they provide proof that they have a complaint process in place. If they do not implement a procedure, then the Board will keep the registration in limbo, essentially, until the Association has satisficed the requirement that they have a complaint procedure in place. 

So, that means that until the Association has a complaint process in place, an association is violating at least two provisions of Common Interest Community law and regulations – they have failed to register the association (18VAC48-60-30. Annual report by condominium association; 18VAC48-60-40. Annual report by cooperative association; and 18VAC48-60-50. Annual report by property owners' association), and they have failed to adopt a complaint process (55-530(E) and 18VAC48-70-30- Requirement for association to develop an association complaint procedure).

The CIC Board has clear jurisdiction under 54.1-2352(A) to issue a cease and desist order if the association fails to register/file an Annual Report.  Finally, all associations are required to provide a copy of the complaint procedure with any disclosure packet or resale certificate (18VAC48-70-60 Distribution of association complaint procedure).  In addition, registration of the association is a requirement under the law (§ 55-79.93:1. Annual report by unit owners' association; § 55-516.1. Annual report by association; § 55-504.1. Annual report by associations) and must be confirmed in any disclosure packet/resale certificate (55-79.97; 55-509.5;55-484).

Ultimately, the CIC Board’s goal is compliance.  If the Board learns that an association has not adopted a complaint process it would much rather encourage them to adopt one then “punish” them for not having one.  If the association works toward getting its complaint process in place in a reasonable timeframe it really shouldn’t have any problems.  But if an association chooses to ignore its legal obligation to have a complaint process in place, even after being asked to adopt a complaint procedure, the matter will be referred to the Common Interest Community Board for whatever action it deems appropriate under the law and regulations.  The CIC Board has the authority to issue a cease and desist order, levy a monetary penalty, or pursue some form of legal action or intervene in existing legal action if necessary.

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