Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman
The primary responsibilities of the Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman are to:
1. Assist members in understanding rights and the processes available to them according to the laws and regulations governing common interest communities and respond to general inquiries;
2. Make available, either separately or through an existing website, information as may be deemed appropriate;
3. Receive Notices of Final Adverse Decisions;
4. Upon request, assist members in understanding the rights and processes available under the laws and regulations governing common interest communities and provide referrals to public and private agencies offering alternative dispute resolution services, with a goal of reducing and resolving conflicts among associations and their members; and
5. Ensure that members have access to the services provided through the Office and that the members receive timely responses from the representatives of the Office to the inquiries.
A common interest community can be a Condominium Association, a Property Owner Association, or a Real Estate Cooperative.
The Common Interest Community Board is separate and distinct from the Office of the Ombudsman. The Board is the regulatory body responsible for licensing association managers, certifying certain employees of licensed management firms, receiving annual reports filed by associations, and registering condominium and time-share projects registrations.
* The Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman can only provide guidance and answer questions related to common interest community law (the Property Owners' Association Act, the Condominium Act and the Real Estate Cooperative Act) and regulations. We cannot provide legal advice.
- Filing a Complaint Against your Association (PDF)
- CIC Complaint Form (PDF) - Interactive | Static
- CIC Sample Association Internal Complaint Form
- Filing a Notice of Final Adverse Decision (PDF)
- Notice of Final Adverse Decision Form (PDF) - Interactive | Static
- Filing Fee Waiver Request Form (PDF) - Interactive | Static
- Association Complaint Procedure Flow Chart (PDF)
- Video - Filing an Association Complaint (Owners)
- Video - Creating an Association Complaint Process
What is a Common Interest Community?
Common Interest Communities (CICs) are designed for community living by a developer (also known as a "declarant"). The community is created by a specific set of legal documents, generally drawn up by the developer and subject to change by the membership (owners). When the developer relinquishes control of the community, the community's affairs are then governed by the Association of owners through an elected board. The Association board is authorized by law to enforce rules and restrictions (for example, regarding aesthetics), and to collect mandatory assessments to pay for maintenance and improvements to common elements (such as a pool, clubhouse, or just a road or signage). The obligation for owners to pay for insurance, maintenance assessments, and upkeep of shared property other than their own units/lots is the essential characteristic of a Common Interest Community. The relationship between owners and the Association is a financial and legal one. Neighborhood or civic associations with voluntary dues are not Common Interest Communities under Virginia law.
What can the Ombudsman do?
Assist members in understanding and exercising their rights in resolving issues with their common interest community associations (condominiums, property owners' associations, and cooperatives). Issue non-binding explanations (not interpretations) of laws and regulations governing Associations. Offer referrals to alternative dispute resolution services. Assist members in using the procedures and processes available to them in their association to resolve conflicts within the community. Receive complaints concerning timeshares, and refer potential violations of timeshare law or regulations to the Common Interest Community Board for further action as warranted. (View complaint form.) Receive "notices of final adverse decisions" from individuals who believe an Association violated common interest community laws or regulations. Such notice must be filed on the Board-approved form within 30 days of an Association's notice to a member of its final decision, accompanied by a $25 filing fee (required by law).
What can't the Ombudsman do?
Offer legal advice or interpretation. Interpret Association documents such as governing documents, bylaws, etc.
- CIC Ombudsman Statutes - Code of Virginia Chapter 23.3 of Title 54.1
- Common Interest Communities Statutes - Code of Virginia Chapter 23.3. of Title 54.1
- Condominium Act - Code of Virginia Chapter 19 of Title 55.1
- Property Owners' Association Act - Code of Virginia Chapter 18 of Title 55.1
- Cooperative Act - Code of Virginia Chapter 21 of Title 55.1
- Virginia Non-Stock Corporation Act - Code of Virginia Chapter 10 of Title 13.1
- Common Interest Community Ombudsman Regulations pdf | online
- provisions governing the association complaint process
- Sample Association Complaint Form (include regulations and sample complaint form under the Complaint tab as well)
- CIC Management Information Fund Regulations (annual report filing requirements and fees) pdf | online
- CIC Manager Regulations (licensure) | pdf | online
- Condominium Regulations (project registration) pdf | online
The Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman issues Determinations in response to property submitted Notices of Final Adverse Decision which results from the submission of an Association Complaint through an Association Complaint Procedure and the receipt from the association of a final decision on the complaint.
An Ombudsman Determination is not a judicial verdict, court decree, Board order or official opinion. It is legally non-binding and strictly limited to common interest community laws and regulations (the Property Owners' Association Act, the Condominium Act and the Real Estate Cooperative Act).
Determinations are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and the Ombudsman's Office makes them available online to serve as an information resource on common interest community topics.
Please refer to the Association Complaints tab for information on filing an association complaint.
Recent Updates to State Laws Affecting Associations
- Coming soon...
CIC Ombudsman Annual Reports to the General Assembly
- 2020-21 Annual Report
- Previous annual reports are available here.
Newsletters + Articles
- Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys! Or...Is it? - Condominium Casualty Losses and Insurance Issues
- Legal Counsel's Two Cents on Community Association Budget Considerations | Vandeventer Black LLP article
External links and associated content are provided for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by DPOR of the information, services, opinions, or products of the individuals or organizations.
Community Associations Institute (CAI)
6402 Arlington Blvd., Suite 500
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: (703) 970-9220 | Toll-Free: (888) 224-4321
Central Virginia CAI Chapter
P.O. Box 5118
Midlothian, VA 23112
Southeastern Virginia CAI Chapter
1300 Diamond Springs Rd., Suite 400
Virginia Beach, VA 23455-3645
Phone: (757) 558-8128
Southwest Virginia CAI Chapter
P.O. Box 21391
Roanoke, VA 24018-0141
Phone: (540) 339-1224
Washington Metropolitan CAI Chapter
7600 Leesburg Pike, Suite 100-W
Falls Church, VA 22043-2004
Phone: (703) 750-3644
Links and associated content are provided for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by DPOR of the information, services, opinions, or products of the individuals or organizations.