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Subject: HOA Manager Response to Report of Intruder
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AugustinD


Posts:386


04/11/2017 8:10 PM  
Suppose you live in a condo community that (1) is gated; (2) has a security guard patrol the grounds on foot and by car; (3) has security cameras for the pool area and immediately outside the clubhouse; (4) from time to time has had a security guard attend board meetings. Suppose one day a resident phones the HOA's on-site manager, hysterical, and states that a vendor's employee (say a landscaper) had just entered, uninvited, her condominium unit and made vulgar, sexual comments towards her, causing her to fear imminent harmful physical contact. (Assume the resident screamed at the vendor's employee to get out, now. As soon as the intruder left, the resident then made the phone call.) If you were on the board, how would you hope the HOA's on-site Manager would respond?
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1255


04/11/2017 8:22 PM  

1. It's a police matter where 911 should've been called first by the resident as the priority.

2. The manager should've been called, who would then immediately contact the board and landscape company

3. The response of the landscape company would determine the business decision

4. The results of the police investigation would determine any criminal charges against the individual.

That's basically how I see it. I wouldn't blame the company first as I doubt they sanction that behavior.
LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


04/11/2017 9:44 PM  
I would have serious doubts as to whether there was an intruder at all.

The physical layout you describe with gates, guards, and cameras is very attractive to those who value security. Maybe too attractive to the point that it brings in at least one owner with paranoid delusions. Why would anyone leave their door unlocked? Or did the phantom intruder have a key? (Where he get that?) Did anyone else see the intruder? Did anyone else hear the screaming? Why was the owner's first call to the on-site manager and not to the police? Did she ever call the police?

My own mother suffered from paranoid delusions late in life, before we got her into a nursing home. She had story after story about people - both neighbors and strangers - entering her home. She accused the teenage girl down the street of having obtained a duplicate key, entering whenever my mother was not at home, and "moving things around." There was no evidence to support any of her allegations.

The HOA Manager should document the entire incident as well as he can. This would include obtaining any police reports. I would hope that he would enlist the aid of social workers from public agencies to interview and evaluate the homeowner before moving ahead with any other action.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:2849


04/11/2017 11:56 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 04/11/2017 8:10 PM
Suppose you live in a condo community that (1) is gated; (2) has a security guard patrol the grounds on foot and by car; (3) has security cameras for the pool area and immediately outside the clubhouse; (4) from time to time has had a security guard attend board meetings. Suppose one day a resident phones the HOA's on-site manager, hysterical, and states that a vendor's employee (say a landscaper) had just entered, uninvited, her condominium unit and made vulgar, sexual comments towards her, causing her to fear imminent harmful physical contact. (Assume the resident screamed at the vendor's employee to get out, now. As soon as the intruder left, the resident then made the phone call.) If you were on the board, how would you hope the HOA's on-site Manager would respond?


To protect the homeowners and because the homeowners are the ultimate responsibility. My response to the Vendor would have been to state the complaint and then to let the Vendor know your (a.k.a. Employee "Joe Blow") is no longer allowed on our HOA property. While this is potentially one person's word against another ... the HOA needs to side more with their Member in this type of circumstance.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:3857


04/12/2017 12:50 PM  
Imo, the PM should have instructed the resident to call the police immediately. After that, the PM would take a statement from the woman with evidence if possible.

With Larry, I'm a little skeptical about this story
AugustinD


Posts:386


04/12/2017 5:50 PM  
Larry and Kerry, this was during the day. Multiple witnesses saw the intruder and the HOA maintenance man confront him over this intrusion. The resident's parent called the vendor directly and demanded a letter of apology from the worker, which they got. The resident never called the police. The manager's response was that conflicts between HOA members and HOA vendors are not management's or the Association's business. Ultimately the resident called the HOA attorney. The attorney took this call but does not usually take calls from residents or members. The HOA attorney attacked like a shark, demanding the landscaping company put in writing that this particular employee never again appear on the HOA grounds. The company complied.

Kelly's and Janet's response are more like my own. My response, and I think the HOA attorney's response, is based in part on:

http://www.floridacondohoalawblog.com/2012/02/articles/operations/association-liability-for-criminal-attacks/

http://hoalaw.com/WPnews/potential-liability-for-crimes-on-premises/ :

http://www.wtplaw.com/documents/2016/11/hud-adopts-new-rules-clarifying-associations-liability-for-harassment-and-third
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:904


04/12/2017 8:39 PM  
Posted By AugustinD . . . If you were on the board, how would you hope the HOA's on-site Manager would respond ? . . . . The manager's response was that conflicts between HOA members and HOA vendors are not management's or the Association's business. Ultimately the resident called the HOA attorney. . . .




AugustinD : If the allegations are substantially correct I would disagree with the manager as to short term response.

Whatever happened IF at all, is a determination of alleged facts that might require a much more sophisticated skillset than the manager's, the Board & the attorney.

But For the contractual relationship, the resident would not at home be allegedly vulnerable to whatever interaction if any. Nor share some sort of risk with other residents if the claim is valid.

If the manager in response to the call just flat out declined involvement - "not our job" - nor some sort of prompt response to the unit, looks short of professional judgement. Particularly so if the resident with parents away daytime was a 10 year old, for example ( unknown ) .

The manager may actually have had some degree of knowledge of the resident & the alleged trespasser. The manager might have been in a much better position to assess the unproven allegations. But the response looks professionally weak.
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:904


04/12/2017 8:59 PM  
Posted By LarryB13 . . . The physical layout you describe with gates, guards, and cameras is very attractive to those who value security. Maybe too attractive to the point that it brings in at least one owner with paranoid delusions. Why would anyone leave their door unlocked ?




LarryB13 : Whatever level of visible security, is there a Backup Camera effect ? Careless folks now more relaxed about strolling into a rear blind spot ? Or leaving the unit door unlocked, particularly the elderly ?

Illusionary security is central to a condo triple murder trial underway in my jurisdiction.

A retired chief taxcourt justice, his wife & a neighbour found brutally murdered in their luxury highrise in 2007.

CCTV Cameras & double gated security everywhere. But no retained images.

Then almost 8 years later a botched murder attempt in a different condo, and the arrest of a 'citizen above suspicion' totally off anyone's radar . . .

http://ontario.cafcor.org/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=46&func=view&id=18134&catid=2
AugustinD


Posts:386


04/13/2017 6:24 AM  
Posted By BobD4 on 04/12/2017 8:39 PM

If the manager in response to the call just flat out declined involvement - "not our job" - nor some sort of prompt response to the unit, looks short of professional judgement.





BobD4, correct, the manager stated it's not his or the Association's job to respond in the short- or long-term to such an incident, between a HOA vendor and a HOA resident, and is so far sticking with this odd notion. He is the sole person who can on-the-spot ask a HOA vendor to leave.

Thank you for the further citations.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14072


04/13/2017 5:12 PM  
My reply would be:

I'm sorry to hear that this happened and you should hang up and immediately contact the police to report the crime.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:2849


04/13/2017 10:20 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 04/12/2017 5:50 PM
The manager's response was that conflicts between HOA members and HOA vendors are not management's or the Association's business. Ultimately the resident called the HOA attorney. The attorney took this call but does not usually take calls from residents or members. The HOA attorney attacked like a shark, demanding the landscaping company put in writing that this particular employee never again appear on the HOA grounds. The company complied.


I would have FIRED that Manager who made such a statement. Sorry ... the Vendor was hired by the Association and therefore is in essence an "employee" of the association. Employers are responsible for the conduct of their "employees" and "vendors". Nice to know the HOA attorney was on top of the issue and protected the HOA .
AugustinD


Posts:386


04/14/2017 7:17 AM  
Tim, thank you for your opinion.

Thank you, Janet. I believe that, were this matter to elevate, the law would say what you said: That the vendor and his employees are agents of the Association, under the partial supervision of the Manager while the vendor's employees are on the HOA's grounds. Also from my HOA's Rules and Regs: "Residents shall, at all times, obey these Rules and Regulations and shall use their best efforts to see that they are faithfully observed by their household members, guests, tenants, contractors, and persons for whom they are responsible and persons over whom they exercise control and supervision." I think the obvious corollary is that the Manager is responsible for the HOA's contractors.

The issue is not yet over. I believe the only reason the victim and her family have not elevated this is because of the rapid response of the HOA attorney. The family is very pleased with the HOA attorney's actions, as am I.

BobD4
(up north)

Posts:904


04/14/2017 4:00 PM  
Posted By AugustinD ... the manager stated it's not his or the Association's job to respond in the short- or long-term to such an incident, between a HOA vendor and a HOA resident . . . . He is the sole person who can on-the-spot ask a HOA vendor to leave.



Whether or not your state's law makes a client vicariously liable for whatever the contractor's employee may - may - have done, the manager seems to have left the owners potentially high & dry without some sort of response or a good reason not to.

It would be interesting to know if the 'resident' - without other family present - was a minor and/or under some sort of disability. . . .

Couldn't it instead have been the latest delusion or a pattern of false reports ? The attorney obviously doesn't think so.
AugustinD


Posts:386


04/14/2017 4:55 PM  
Bob, I think there are three scenarios as follows:

1.
Out of the blue, during the work week, the Manager gets a call reporting an intrusion by a vendor's employee. He is the sole person who can order a vendor off the grounds. He has to make a decision on the spot about how to respond so as to comply with the law and act in the interests of the Association. What should this decision be?

2.
Within a few days of the alleged unlawful intrusion, management receives the eyewitness testimony of the HOA maintenance man, the letter of apology from the employee, a full statement from the resident, providing the time of day and the exact words the employee used, and statements from a few others confirming how upset the (adult) resident was. The resident, supported by her parents financially, has never before made such a report in the two years she has resided at the HOA. She never before had any run-ins with vendors. What should management do?

3.
Suppose the resident were a disabled person but, as here, had never made a false report about a vendor or anyone. Does this mean the possibility of a cry of wolf should be ignored? I think not. Even if the police were never called, I think Management still needs to pursue this with the board, talk to the vendor and go from there.

I agree that the resident should have called the police. But this is not something I as a director can control. So I have not queried about 'what the resident should have done.' All I have right now is hindsight and partial supervisory control of the Manager. Was the manager's refusal to do anything, about a HOA vendor whose employees are alleged to have committed a crime, appropriate and in the best interests of the Association?
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:904


04/15/2017 11:01 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 04/14/2017 4:55 PM
I think there are three scenarios as follows:
1 What should this decision be ?
2. She never before had any run-ins with vendors. What should management do?
3. Was the manager's refusal to do anything, about a HOA vendor whose employees are alleged to have committed a crime, appropriate and in the best interests of the Association?




AugustinD :

1 - My best judgment for what its worth : The manager respectfully would have been best to try - while triaging management priorities which could be FAR MORE urgent at that time - to get some sort of presence into place ( "Is the caller in danger ?" etc ) & to secure / identify evidence that could be detrimental to the legal interests of the overall community.

I disagree with the manager's contention that either in the short or long term there is zero management role - even if it is only to look out for claims against the general stakeholders.

And especially so if the daytime help-seeker is a child or under some sort of disability without caregiver presence.

2 - Respectfully it should make sure its ongoing management understands & is on the same page with the management duty. But its an obscure enough issue not to justify a termination in my opinion.

3 - Respectfully I don't think it was .

In between retirements I managed several rental complexes 50 Km away. Got a call at 8 Pm : '(tenant) Paul xxx has just hanged himself. Drove down & attended onsite for several hours merely to offer assistance to cops there - declined - & watch out for inculpatory evidence if there had been any & be prepared about biohazards/ press etc/ ; there was none such. But what manager's got a crystal ball ?

Your manager may have been huge stress, but s**t can hit the fan unfairly. And go viral. Respectfully, has a duty to stakeholders to watch out for their legal interests even if barely vicarious.
AugustinD


Posts:386


04/15/2017 1:14 PM  
Bob, we are in general agreement. Termination is not on the table, for reasons I do not want to post here. "Education" or "re-programming" of the manager is underway, in my estimation. As a friend of mine put it recently, rarely does the first response predict the final outcome in situations like this. If a competent HOA attorney ultimately gets involved, then I think things will sort out.

I appreciate yet again the reality check from all. I am getting out to members the importance of immediately notifying both the police and HOA management when a contractor commits a serious crime against a person.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:3857


04/15/2017 6:37 PM  
And with, at minimum, Larry & Kelly, the police should be called first. I think it's similar to a situation here where there's AED in our access control officer's Kiosk, which they can bring to a condo unit if someone's heart stops and someone phones to request it.

But our instruction to residents is: CALL 911 first!

We have 24/7 kiosk officers, but many HOAs don't have staffers of any kind on the premises; then what?
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