The Essentials of Due Process:
Inevitably, from time to time, community rules are broken. When this happens, the association informs the residents about the problem and follows what is known as the due process procedure.
Simply stated, this means that the association always notifies residents of alleged violations before taking any action. We send written notice describing the possible rule violation and ask the residents to correct the problem voluntarily by a specific date. These notices also explain any action the association may take if the violation isn’t corrected.
The association understands that things aren’t always as they seem. So, any time we send notices to residents, the board wants to hear the resident’s point of view. We can arrange for residents to meet with the board before imposing any type of penalty. In fact, imposing penalties isn’t the goal at all! It’s more important that residents comply with the association’s rules for the good of everyone in the community. These meetings give residents and the board an opportunity to discuss rule violations informally and arrive at a solution.
Residents of the Community should not expect overnight remedies regarding the failure of some homeowners to cure their Covenant Violations. The following is a “typical scenario” of the “Due Process”:
1. A covenant violation is either spotted during a routine community drive or a homeowner calls and reports a violation to the office. A courtesy letter is always issued on the first occurrence of any violation when not witnessed by the HOA Manager or Board of Directors. This is an attempt to discover possible reasons for the violation; not home due to illness or vacation, unaware of the Covenant, repairs pending insurance claims, etc.
2. Either 10 days or during the next routine drive, if violation persists, a 2nd Notice is issued. In some severe cases, this action is skipped to next step.
3. During the next routine drive, if violation remains and all courtesy letters have been ignored, an official Violation Letter is issued giving homeowner xx number of days to cure and 30-days to request a hearing before the Board of Directors to present their case regarding the cited violation. Regardless of our Bylaws and Covenants, the Texas Property Code statutes take precedent at this point and we must allow 30-days notice before any legal action(s) can be taken. In addition, either the HOA Manager or a Member of the Board of Directors must visually witness the violation before a Violation Letter is issued.
4. If after the required 30-day notice the violation has not been cured, the Board of Directors must vote to take any further action(s). If the Board agrees to take the matter to litigation the HOA will have to pay attorney fees and court costs and attempt to recover these costs from the Homeowner if allowed by law.
To bottom line, most violations can take a minimum of two weeks and if the Homeowner is defiant and the violation goes to litigation can take 3 to 6+ months to be resolved.