What are quirks of the fining/suspension committee

What are quirks of the fining/suspension committee


Richard D. DeBoest II Esq.

Editor’s note: Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross PLLC respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, litigation, estate planning and business law. 

A reader poses several questions regarding the role and function of fining/suspension committee hearings.

Q: I have several questions about the fining/suspension committee hearing.  

— F.P., Estero 

Q: Can the owner who appears before the Hearing Committee bring a witness or their attorney to the hearing? 

A: Yes, within reason. They should not be allowed to parade in 10 witnesses. You should allow them to bring an attorney, but if they have not given you notice of doing so, the committee should consider postponing the hearing so the HOA can decide whether or not to have its attorney attend. So, I would suggest you add some type of “pre-hearing” rules to the fining committee hearing notice that if the owner is intending to bring an attorney they need to tell you in advance otherwise the attorney will be excluded. 

Q: If not, can such people be excluded? 

A: The only people legally entitled to attend would be the owner and other owners as witnesses. All others including an attorney could be excluded, but I would allow the attorney as long as you were notified in advance. 

Q: If they are permitted, must they be allowed to speak? 

A: The owner accused of a violation should be given a reasonable amount of time to present their defense. So, yes, you should allow their witnesses to speak. 

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