The South Riding Proprietary is a homeowners’ association (HOA) that acts as a de facto local government for the South Riding community in Loudoun County, Virginia. At the proprietary’s annual meeting on May 24, 2022, two seats on the Board of Directors are up for election. Members of the board serve three year terms. South Riding property owners may cast votes by attending the annual meeting in person, submitting a paper proxy vote by mail, or submitting an electronic proxy vote on the Proprietary’s web site.
Under the Proprietary’s bylaws, at least 10 percent of South Riding property owners must cast votes to achieve a quorum. Without a quorum, the Board of Directors cannot seat new members or perform any official work. If a quorum is not achieved, the meeting will be recessed for up to a month, and, when resumed, the quorum requirement drops to only 5 percent. The meeting may then be repeatedly recessed and resumed until the 5 percent quorum is achieved.
Two candidates appear on the director ballot: former Director Michael Hardin and incumbent Director Steve Pasquale. Property owners may vote for up to two candidates, and may write-in other names if desired.
Compulsory HOAs are perpetuated by the disclosures (i.e., covenants) that owners must accept when purchasing property in an HOA neighborhood. Among these terms is a requirement that owners will include the same disclosures when selling their property later. This has the effect of creating permanent de facto private governments with responsibility for shared community services like the maintenance of common areas and private streets, trash services, snow removal, community pools, playgrounds, and parks. But most HOAs—ours included—claim various other authorities that violate homeowners’ property rights.
These claimed authorities violate Article 1, Section 11, of the Constitution of Virginia, which guarantees that citizens may not be deprived of their property without due process of law (paragraph 1) and states that the right to private property is fundamental (paragraph 3). They also violate similar protections in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Until the South Riding Proprietary’s board promises to repeal all unconstitutional regulations and stop all extralegal civil enforcement, I recommend that South Riding property owners abstain from the Board of Directors election and deny the board a quorum.