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Can HOA Revoke Driving Privileges?

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by GotAQuestion, Jul 29, 2020.

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  1. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, my HOA has security patrols within the HOA community that issue traffic tickets (only applicable within the HOA, not on state record). I am a renter, and not a homeowner. This is a gated community. There is a provision in the regulations that say if a non-homeowner (renter, guest) gets 3 tickets within a 12-month period, the person's driving privileges can be revoked, meaning they won't be allowed through the gate. This essentially means the HOA can deny me the right get to my home, because if my driving privileges are revoked by the Board, I wouldn't be able to get to my home. Is this allowed under the law? Can an HOA generally deny someone the right to access their primary residence?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Sounds good to me. You're not being denied access, rather, you're simply being denied the ability to operate a vehicle in the community.
     
  3. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Let's say I owned a home with a really big yard. Do you think I would have the right to tell you you can't drive in after you did something I told you not to three times?
     
  4. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I wouldn't be able to get into the community without operating a vehicle.
     
  5. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    This doesn't really answer my question, but if I accept your analogy, it's not a comparable situation, as in your analogy, I would not live in the home. In real life, I live in the home and pay rent and a legally enforceable lease for the home.
     
  6. welkin

    welkin Member

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    What are you being ticketed for, speeding, parking or what?

    Do you have the CC&Rs so you can quote the section?
     
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  7. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Ok then, you live over my garage.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You could ride a bicycle, walk, jog, catch a taxi, use Uber or Lyft, or even hitch a ride with a pal.

    Whether the HOA can suspend or revoke your ability to drive a motor vehicle upon their property might better be addressed by speaking with and retaining legal counsel.

    You could also contact your municipal, county, or state elected officials.

    Whatever the state drivers licensing agency is called in your state might also be an excellent resource regarding what the HOA does regarding traffic stops and the issuance of traffic citations.

    The HOA might be operating a scheme that deprives people of certain due process rights, or it could be vastly overreaching.

    The easiest way to avoid a brouhaha with the HOA despots is to simply endeavor to OBEY all of their rules.

    Should that NOT be to your liking or within your abilities, you might wish to begin the search for new living arrangements.

    HOAs are hunting money, be careful little bunny.

    However, in VA laws allow “special conservators of the peace” — or SCOPs, as they are known — to create private police forces (sometimes a force of one), according to state records.

    The HOA has discovered a sweet, little money maker.

    You might find these articles interesting, OP:

    A little-known Virginia law is letting citizens start their own police force, carry a badge and arrest people | National Post

    Court Says HOA Can Issue Speeding Tickets; What’s Next, Undercover Ops?

    https://courts.illinois.gov/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2013/113907.pdf

    Do HOA security guards overstep their bounds?

    Can your HOA issue you a speeding ticket?
     
  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Just to be clear, what you're telling us is that, if a person walks or rides a bicycle outside the community, it is impossible to get back in, and that the only way for a person to enter your community is in an automobile. Is that really what you're telling us? I have a very hard time believing that could be true.

    It is certainly legal for the owner of private property to impose rules about who may and may not drive on his/her/its property.

    Also, do you believe yourself to be incapable of abiding by the rules of the road such that you can't keep from getting fewer than three tickets in a twelve month period?
     
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  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    It's not a matter of statutory law, it's a matter of contract law. When a person buys a home in an HOA that person's purchase contract binds him/her to the rules of the HOA. When you rent from that person you, in turn, are bound by the same rules.

    That being said, locking anybody out of a gated community is such an egregious abuse of power that a judge is likely to issue an injunction against it.

    If you want to avoid the hassle and expense I suggest you be a good little person and obey all the rules and regulations so you don't get locked out. Or are you already locked out?
     
  11. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your detailed response. Regarding access, it's complicated. The HOA is in a community out in the "country," a very rural area. I don't even know if Uber and Lyft serve this area, and it's a pandemic right now, making those unsafe options. Additionally, you have to have permission to enter the gate. Could I even give an Uber driver permission? Who knows. To catch a ride with a friend, I would have to have a friend that lives in the community with driving privileges, which I don't. Regarding bicycling etc., they still have to let me through the security entrance. I guess they couldn't deny my bicycle. At any rate, it would be incredibly impractical to enter the community without driving in. Literally no one does this. The community is full of retirees. The people in this community that work are taking at least 30 minute commutes at a minimum, as again, this is a "summer home" community out in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a large national park actually.

    Actually, I have legal counsel. She's like "They can do whatever they want," so...yeah.
     
  12. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm not locked out. I have a hearing and legal counsel. I'm trying to obey the rules (now at least), but I got into a rare car accident (hit a barrier) that was not due to any recklessness on my part, but was given citations as if it was. I have a hearing on the matter and legal counsel. I have speeding tickets from the past (38 mph in a 25) from when I first moved in. I use my cruise control now and have to lay on the brakes while going down hills.

    Also, while a matter of contract law, constitutional law supercedes contract law. Not every contract is always enforceable. Also, I don't know if it's relevant, but they have different rules for renting tenants and homeowners. A renter's driving privileges can be revoked. A homeowner's can't. Seems discriminatory, but perhaps it's legal discrimination.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  13. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, I would appreciate any helpful advice. I need assistance challenging HOA traffic citations and fines. I got into a car accident and struck a boom barrier (very slowly) due to being blinded and dazed by the sun. I accepted liability and paid back the HOA for replacing the barrier. However, I was issued two traffic citations by the HOA security. I do not agree with these citations. The citiations allege I broke the law, with one citation for "failure to control" and one for "destruction of property." The security officer alleged I broke the law because I was "wearing sunglasses." I challenged this charge to their safety committee. They charged me with violating their regulation which states that all state laws must be followed, and a $50 fine is issued if you break state law. At the hearing, I asked them what state law I had violated, and they could not tell me the statute. I asked if I was being charged with "reckless driving" (which is what "failure to control" refers to in Virginia), and they said "No," but could not tell me what law I had broken.

    I defended myself according to state case law on reckless driving, successfully so I thought, but I was still found guilty, presumably because I was "wearing sunglasses," which is absurd itself because people are supposed to wear sunglasses when the sun is bright. That is what sunglasses are designed for. These sunglasses were actually prescription sunglasses given to me by a doctor, who recommend wearing sunglasses when the sun is bright (which I noted at the hearing). They didn't actually explain their finding of guilt. My lawyer friend called this a "farce" and a violation of "due process." It is difficult to defend your self of violating the law when you don't even know what law you are accused of breaking, and they didn't seem to know either, but were certain I had violated Virginia law (without knowing what specific law). Given that they didn't even undestand what law I had violated, it is doubtful they had any idea of how to evaluate case law or my defense.

    Also, the second citation for "destruction of property" was not even coded for the proper section of the HOA regulations which prescribe a $50 fine. It was coded according to a completely separate regulation for which there are no fines. This section simply states that residents must pay back the HOA back for any damages (which I did), but is completely separate from the regulation that states you must follow the law or pay a fine. This section does not have anything to do with fines for law violations, which indicates to me this was improperly coded. "Destruction of property" is a midsdemeanor in Virginia that seems to be tacked on to reckless driving charges, but they again told me I was not being charged with reckless driving and could not tell me what statute I had broken.

    On a separate note, the officers at the hearing kept telling me they were "doing my a favor" by only charging me with violating HOA regulations instead of sending the case to District Court, but I don't view issuing me citations for something I didn't do a "favor."

    You may ask why I am making a big deal over $100 in fines? I am because it also states in the regulations that driving privileges in the community can be revoked for renters in the community for reckless driving (which I appear to be cited for), for causing an accident (which I presumably did), or for 3 or more moving violations in 12 months (which I now have). I need to be able to drive.

    I have been given the option to appeal to the Board. What would a successful appeal be given that it doesn't appear I have been provided appropriate due process? What would my options be if the Board upholds the citations? If I filed a complaint against the Board for a violation of due process, what strategy would I take? What laws would I cite?
     
  14. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Asked and answered.
     
  15. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Don't bother. It's the board that hires the management company that enforces the rules. I doubt that the board will overturn your fines. As I explained earlier, people who live in HOAs give up a certain amount of freedom and rights in exchange for the security that a private gated community provides.

    When you rent in an HOA you do the same. Your right to due process is what the HOA says it is, not the due process you are entitled to outside the HOA enclave.

    You failed to control your vehicle. Doesn't matter whether you were wearing sunglasses, had a bag over your head, were on your phone or engaging in anything else that distracted you. For that you had to pay for the damage and were fined $50. $50 is a darn sight less than you would have to pay for a comparable infraction outside of the HOA. I say comparable because the HOA version doesn't have to match, word for word, the state statute.

    § 46.2-853. Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes

    Outside the HOA your fine would have been a couple of hundred, would have gotten points on your driving record and increased insurance rates.

    You were also cited for destruction of property. That doesn't have to match a statute either which, incidentally, is a lot more serious than what the HOA charged you $50 for.

    § 18.2-137. Injuring, etc., any property, monument, etc

    You got fined for what you did do. And for a fraction of the consequences that would have befallen you had it happened outside the HOA.

    So, yes, you were given a gift by only being charged $50 each.

    Frankly, if you don't like what happened you should find a place to rent somewhere that doesn't have an HOA.

    Remember, he who gives up freedom (and rights) for security deserves neither.
     
  16. GotAQuestion

    GotAQuestion Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I strongly disagree with your post.
    "Your right to due process is what the HOA says it is, not the due process you are entitled to outside the HOA enclave."

    False. The United States Constitution, the Virgina State Constitution, and Virginia law trump any HOA procedures. I assume that HOA's are required by law to offer equitable due process procedures, regardless of what those procedures are. The HOA is not offering adequate due process through their own guidelines. I am not giving up any "freedom" or "rights." I of course have to abide by the contract that I agreed to, but they are not fulfilling their end of their contract.

    "You failed to control your vehicle."

    Yes, but everyone that gets into an accident "fails to control their vehicle." Everyone that gets into an accident cannot be charged with a crime, can they? Is that what you are suggesting? (this is not a rhetorical question, I would really like for you to respond). That is not the law anywhere in the United States. I cited Virginia case law that notes this. I did not break any laws. Outside the HOA, I would not have been cited for anything, because the cops would have presumably been smarter than the security guards here and understood the law (2 different lawyers told me this). If I had been cited, it would have also been done inappropriately, and the charges would have been tossed in District Court. The Virginia Supreme Court has established clear law on this matter, which you obviously don't seem to understand. See "Powers v. Commonwealth" and "Bacon v. Commonwealth."

    "2. "Recklessly" as used in statute imparts a disregard by the driver of a motor vehicle for the consequences of his act and an indifference to the safety of life, limb or property. Speed alone is not a violation of the statute. Mere happening of an accident does not give rise to an inference of reckless driving. Evidence that accused's car traveled in an erratic course for more than 900 feet and struck tree with such force that the motor was wrenched from it and defendant was thrown clear of car and injured, does not raise inference of reckless driving. Record does not disclose how and why accident happened. Momentum of automobile and its erratic course may be attributed to other causes. Evidence leaves much to speculation and conjecture and does not exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence."

    "Defendant's explanation that he was forced off the highway by another vehicle is not contradicted. If his statement is true, then the defendant was confronted with a sudden emergency that was not caused by his own negligence. If we reject his statement, we are left without any explanation of how the accident occurred and can only speculate or guess that it was due to excessive speed, to inattention by the driver, or to alcohol."

    "We cannot say that the defendant's explanation of how the accident occurred and of what caused him to lose control of his car is incredible on unworthy of belief. The evidence neither excludes every reasonable hypothesis of innocence nor is it consistent only with the guilt of defendant. The fact that the defendant was found guilty of improper driving, which indicates a slight degree of culpability, is not material. Both reckless driving and improper driving are criminal offenses and to sustain a conviction of either the Commonwealth's evidence must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

    Virginia law does not require you to be in complete control of your vehicle at all times.

    Kennedy v. Commonwealth
    ""[T]he driver of a vehicle has a duty to use ordinary care to keep his vehicle under proper control." Meeks v. Hodge, 226 Va. 106, 109, 306 S.E.2d 879, 881 (1983) (citing Voight v. Reber, 187 Va. 157, 164, 46 S.E.2d 15, 19 (1948)). The law does not impose the duty upon a driver to keep his automobile under complete control at all times. Gale v. Wilber, 163 Va. 211, 221, 175 S.E. 739, 743 (1934)."

    I of course was not in "complete control" of my vehicle, or I would not have been in an accident. The law does not require me to be. It only requires me to exercise proper care, which I did. I was blinded by the sun and had an accident. This is not a crime. To say that this is a crime is absurd.

    "You were also cited for destruction of property. That doesn't have to match a statute either which, incidentally, is a lot more serious than what the HOA charged you $50 for."

    Destruction of property is also a crime in Virginia, which can be charged if a person damages property based on their "reckless" or intentional behavior. As I stated, I wasn't driving recklessly or negligently. It was accidental damage, which I paid for.

    "Doesn't matter whether you were wearing sunglasses, had a bag over your head, were on your phone or engaging in anything else that distracted you."

    Yes it does matter, which the case law I cited illustrates (Powers v. Commonwealth, Bacon v. Commonwealth, Kennedy v. Commonwealth). It completely matters according to the Virginia Supreme Court. It may not matter to my HOA, but the Virginia Supreme Court trumps my HOA's interpretation of the law.

    "Remember, he who gives up freedom (and rights) for security deserves neither."

    This seems to be your mantra, and appear to be a gross overgeneralization. I am not living in an HOA for "security." I live in the middle of the country, where I also work. There is no crime in the country. The HOA runs one of the only communities that is close to my workplace, with affordable housing and is very scenic with many amenities. Quality, affordable housing is very scarce around here, with the most basic homes selling for about $300,000. Many sell for $600,000+, and I am not rich. I don't understand why you dismiss people's concerns simply because of their living situation. Everyone deserves rights, and everyone deserves security.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
  17. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    That is an untrue statement.
    I've been in three accidents in my life. None of those three involved my failure to control my vehicle. They all involved another party's failure to control their vehicle.
     
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  18. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I doubt it.

    Maybe. Here's the Virginia Property Owners Association Act. Study up.

    Code of Virginia Code - Chapter 18. Property Owners' Association Act

    I'm not getting into a debate with you. Your beef is with the HOA.
     
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  19. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    One can give up (waive) certain rights if they so choose. It happens all the time in both civil and criminal law.
     
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  20. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    It is discrimination. But it also is not illegal discrimination.

    The right to due process under the federal and state constitutions are a right you have with respect to the government. Private organizations like HOAs are not subject to those constitutional restraints. Any right to due process you'd have with the HOA would be whatever rights state law grants you, if any, and whatever rights the HOA itself decides to provide.
     
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