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Subject: Nextdoor Website
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AK8
(Nevada)

Posts:4


03/05/2019 10:53 AM  
I'm a newly elected board member and have been told by the HOA that we will be required to sign an agreement that we will not post to the Nextdoor website. There are actually only three board members who are on the website. This comes after years of the HOA president and her husband posting comments and responses on the website. Is this legal?
AugustinD


Posts:1785


03/05/2019 11:24 AM  
Is such a prohibition in your state's statutes or your HOA's governing documents? If not, then the proposed prohibition is not legal. Nor can the friggin' board pass a resolution on same that is legally enforceable.

I think out of control board majorities pull this nonsense, of trying to gag their compatriots, all the time. The only gagging they can legally do is to prohibit directors from disclosing confidential information on the web site. If you are presented with an agreement, asterisk the main sections to which you object, and write at the bottom something like, ' *I intend to comply with state law and the governing documents with regard to confidential material. I reserve the right to speak about non-confidential material and make non-defamatory remarks, consistent with my fiduciary duty.' This advice comes from an attorney. I showed her one of these dumbass attempts to gag. He guffawed and gave the above advice. I would just bear in mind that your board majority may get mighty hostile to you mighty fast. But truth to power, they are in the wrong.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1419


03/05/2019 11:27 AM  
After a previous president set his Nextdoor signature to include "President of XXX HOA", our board adopted a social media policy. The policy includes that board members should not claim or imply to represent the association in social media. That said, it is really voluntary, the association has no ability to enforce if a director/officer does not comply.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
AK8
(Nevada)

Posts:4


03/05/2019 11:50 AM  
Actually, DouglasK1 that's how our president has been signing her posts for years. The president is upset that another member posting an incident on Nextdoor, so NOW they want to keep new people from posting on the site.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:350


03/05/2019 12:47 PM  
I have always asked my boards to be very careful posting on any private site like a facebook or nextdoor community sites. It is very easy to be drawn into arguments and all it takes is a miss statement to get the entire board involved.

I always advise them to start with the simple statement that reads. "I am stating this as a homeowner not as a board member". I do not think you lose your right to an opinion when you become a board member. You just need to only speak for yourself and not the board. This is also good to say when HOs come up to you and ask you questions. I am only speaking for myself here not the board. Obviously never discuss anything that has anything to do with board decisions.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2565


03/05/2019 1:16 PM  
Our former president organized a group for our residents on NextDoor, but has since passed away, so the only way anyone can join it now is if they know someone who’s already a member and receives an invitation. In my area, there are several HOAs whose members post on the site, but virtually no one posts on specific HOA issues. In fact, I think there was only one incident where someone tried that and several homeowners from that community made it crystal clear they were not amused, and it never happened again. Most of the time, people post stuff about crime trends, garage sales, announcements for the next school board meeting, etc.

NextDoor hasn’t been around very long, so I doubt there’s anything out there that says it is or isn’t legal. Not everything in HOA land is going to be addressed in state law or even your documents for that matter (some of which are older than dirt and there’s little or nothing to reflect modern times). It’s really a matter of applying common sense and in this case, I’m with Mark and Douglas – you don’t give up your freedom of speech when you become a board member.

However, you need to make it clear you’re speaking as Jack Homeowner and not Jack HOA board member (and president), what you say could be interpreted as an official board statement. If someone asks about official board business or views, suggest he/she attends a board meeting or send a letter to the board. Save association specific stuff for your community’s website.

As for an agreement, it’s not necessary and the others can’t kick you off if you refuse to sign it, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

AK8
(Nevada)

Posts:4


03/05/2019 1:52 PM  
Thanks SheilaH and I agree. I didn't feel comfortable being asked to sign away my rights, especially when it's a volunteer position. The post that caused all the uproar was not official board business, but just warning to parents about a homeless activity near the playground. It seemed completely reasonable to give parents a heads up.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


03/05/2019 3:02 PM  
I, like many, believe the BoD of an HOA should NOT be posting on nextdoor - it is social media site.

However, as a director, if someone asked me to sign such an agreement, I would politely decline.

If they threatened to have me removed, I would laugh in their faces.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6418


03/05/2019 3:07 PM  
Ak8 wrote: "...have been told by the HOA that we will be required to sign an agreement..." The HOA tells you nothing. Do you mean the board prez told you this? Did the Board vote on this muzzle? Is it in the minutes? That's the only way it could possibly be policy. Presidents don't run HOAs, Boards do.

Even then, I'm with all others who say the board cannot interfere with your freedom of speech in this way. Just make sure, as advised by others, to not appear to be writing on behalf of the board.

The NextDoor in my 'hood seems bent on frightening neighbors & is nasty. I read it twice and dropped out.

Our Board majority has moved in this free-speech-stifling direction for a couple of years now. Disgusting.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:350


03/05/2019 3:08 PM  
George,
I totally agree with you. I like to think of it more as a passive member on the site. I do want to know what people are thinking about and know when issues are popping up. The site we had in Ca. was really getting ugly with people on both sides of all issues fighting just to get the last word. The website was meant as a way to bring folks together but as usual when politics enters politeness exits.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8434


03/05/2019 3:25 PM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 03/05/2019 3:08 PM
George,
I totally agree with you. I like to think of it more as a passive member on the site. I do want to know what people are thinking about and know when issues are popping up. The site we had in Ca. was really getting ugly with people on both sides of all issues fighting just to get the last word. The website was meant as a way to bring folks together but as usual when politics enters politeness exits.




As often happens, it becomes ugly. Best not to have such.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16382


03/05/2019 3:34 PM  
Posted By AK8 on 03/05/2019 10:53 AM
I'm a newly elected board member and have been told by the HOA that we will be required to sign an agreement that we will not post to the Nextdoor website. Is this legal?




Is it legal for them to ask? Yes.

If you agree to it in writing, it's likely a binding contract.

Does it prevent you from serving? Probably not (check your Bylaws)

Keep in mind that anytime someone who holds an office posts anything on social media, the perception is that what was posted is the opinion of the office vs. the individual opinion of the person posting.
That is likely why you are being asked not to post.
AugustinD


Posts:1785


03/05/2019 4:02 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 03/05/2019 3:34 PM
If you agree to it in writing, it's likely a binding contract.


For this to be a binding contract*, both sides must give up something of value (either a good or service, with service including, inter alia, a commitment not to do xyz). The HOA and Board have given up nothing of value. But the director has given up his or her rights to comment online. It's like signing an agreement where one agrees to gift something to another:

"I promise to give you, Sally Jones, $100. Signed, Augie de La Sierra"

"I, Sally Jones, promise to accept the $100. Signed, Sally Jones"

This agreement is not a binding contract. This is because Sally is giving up nothing of value in exchange for the $100. If Sally went to court, she'd say, "Your honor, Augie promised me $100. Here's the original signed agreement. Please order him to pay up." Augie's attorney responds, "Your honor, the law of contracts requires that each side give up something of value. What has Ms. Jones given up?" Ms. Jones responds, "Nothing. But Augie signed. I want my money." Judge: "Ms. Jones, I rule in the defendant's favor. Please go home and google on the subject of contractual 'consideration.'"




*"Binding contract" is actually redundant. There either is an agreement whose terms satisfy the definition of "contract," or there is not. If there is such an agreement, then it is called a "contract." By definition, when a contract exists, it is enforceable.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6418


03/05/2019 4:44 PM  
Tim wrote: "Is it legal for them to ask?" And again I wonder, who is "them?" Can you tell us AK8? Is there a written board-approved policy about this?

Boards here have a written Code of Ethics board -voted and -approved years ago. Every year, the PM asks directors to sign it. Occasionally a director refuses. And that's it. Nothing happens.

The story goes that Louis the XIV declared, "L' etat c'est moi." I AM the state. Too many board presidents have the same attitude. And they can persist so long as lazy or frightened directors let them.
AK8
(Nevada)

Posts:4


03/05/2019 5:48 PM  
KerryL1 THEM is the property manager and HOA president. Like I said before, she has been posting for years, but we have new directors now, so it seems like she wants more control over what we do.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6418


03/05/2019 6:45 PM  
"They" cannot order you to do anything. Only the board as a whole acting (voting) at meetings can try to make you sign this. UNLESS, as I noted, the rest of the Board is too lazy or afraid of the prez to keep her forom making her own rules. If so, shame on them!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16382


03/05/2019 7:49 PM  
What, if they have said, is the consequence of not signing?
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:712


03/06/2019 6:57 AM  
Unless your governing documents has a social medial clause, they can ask, but that's all.

Can Nextdoor get out of control? Yes, The app can be used for just our community. or surrounding communities. I It is a great tool as long as it is not misused or abused.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3048


03/06/2019 12:40 PM  
Posted By AK8 on 03/05/2019 10:53 AM
I'm a newly elected board member and have been told by the HOA that we will be required to sign an agreement that we will not post to the Nextdoor website. There are actually only three board members who are on the website. This comes after years of the HOA president and her husband posting comments and responses on the website. Is this legal?

Probably not, especially if your governing documents do not give the association or the board of directors the power and authority to restrict anyone's speech. Personally, I have not and will not ever go anywhere near a NextDoor site on the web. Nevertheless, I would never sign any agreement like that.
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