Bob Frank, a Commissioner on the Nevada Commission for Common Interest Communities and Condominium Hotels, asked in the LinkedIn group, Condo Association (and HOA) Network, Should States Pass “Due Process Regulations” Along The lines of The Following Draft?
My comment follows:
Bob, an excellent in depth presentation of HOA due process procedures. Allow me to provide the authority for your proposal. Judge Henry Friendly in his well-regarded article, “Some Kind of Hearing,” generated a list that remains highly influential, as to both content and relative priority (my emphasis):
- An unbiased tribunal;
- Notice and grounds for the proposed action;
- An opportunity to show why the proposed action should not be taken;
- The right to call witnesses;
- The right to know opposing evidence;
- The right to have the decision based only on the evidence presented;
- The opportunity to be represented by counsel;
- A record of the proceeding;
- A statement of reasons;
- Public attendance; and
- Availability of judicial review.
As you will note, the first listed item above requires “an unbiased tribunal.” What would you add to your proposal to further protect the integrity of your HOA due process procedures? Obviously some sort of code of conduct for those sitting on the “hearing tribunal” is in order. Following are the four Canons taken from the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct.
A judge shall uphold and promote the, independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.
A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.
A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.
I would think that third-parties with some legal background would be the way to go, but this would run into the dogmatic “the HOA members shall judge their ‘peers.’” But, then again, is that possible?
You have touched upon one of my 5 HOA substantive reforms arguments, “Fair and Just Hearings, the absence of which is a clear indication of the oppressive and authoritarian nature of the HOA legal scheme. If it is possible to obtain fair and just hearings, would this move toward democratic reforms cause the HOA legal scheme as it exists today to collapse, or can the real estate package governed by an HOA government survive governed by a true democracy?
 Judge Henry Friendly, “Friendly, Some Kind of Hearing,” 123 U. PA. L. Rev. 1267, 1279-1295 (1975).