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Subject: Can I insist on written communication only?
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PaulM30
(B)

Posts:9


04/12/2019 10:24 AM  
Hi, I'm the HOA President of a small condo building. We only have 15 units, and several of them are either rented out, or owned by part time residents. As a result, I'm the HOA President by default, and the 2 other board members are not full time residents. Nobody else in the building is willing to serve on the board. I want to protect my investment, so we need a functioning board, but other than that, I have no personal desire whatsoever to serve on the board. We have a property manager who is not 'on site', and mainly coordinates with vendors, and will visit the building periodically or for major projects. He operates from 8am-6pm, and the company provide an emergency number where he can be paged. We operate a relaxed HOA, and enforce the major rules, but we're not trying to micro manage anyone. In 3 years of being there, I believe we've only issued 2 warnings for minor violations around garbage disposal.

I have a very busy job, and travel pretty frequently, so I've made it clear that all building issues need to be sent to our property manager, who will then address them with me and the board, as I simply don't have the time to manage the workflow, and I don't want to be thought of as a proxy property manager. I usually forward emails on to the property manager that are sent to me directly, but I have told several owners that I will no longer do so, and to consider any emails sent to me as unread and that all communication must go via the manager.

I'd like to go one step further and tell owners that I am unwilling to discuss HOA issues other than in writing via the property manager, or at HOA meetings. It's reached a point where two or three owners will always bring up some minor issue with me whenever I see them, and on a couple of occasions have even knocked on my door because of a stuck garage door, and even an internal electrical problem in their unit. One owner even called me on a Friday night to say they had a delivery arriving tomorrow and could I please hang up the pads which protect the elevator because the property manager hadn't responded at 9pm on a Friday. I want to make it clear that if our property manager is not available, or hasn't responded to a short notice request, I am not his 'back up'.

As HOA President, do I have any obligation to talk to owners or to make myself available to them? I don't see anything in our CCR documents. I'm generally a social person, but I basically just want to tell everyone (in person, not in writing) that I'm no longer willing to discuss building issues in person, other than that meetings, and all communication must go through our property manager. Is this something I likely can do from a legal standpoint?
RoyalP


Posts:0


04/12/2019 11:06 AM  
..... As HOA President, do I have any obligation to talk to owners or to make myself available to them? .....


NO

Your only obligation is to preside over the (corporate) board of directors in accordance with its bylaws and state corporate law (if incorporated).

If the 'members at large' don't like it they are free to elect another person to do the work.
PaulM30
(B)

Posts:9


04/12/2019 11:17 AM  
Great. That's what I suspected. I wouldn't be like this if I actively wanted to be on the board, but I basically consider it 'best effort' at this point. At our last HOA meeting, I told one of our most active complainers (usually about stuff not even related to the HOA, he once emailed me because the building across the street was being loud) that he could take my spot on the board if he wanted, and he went quiet. It sounds dramatic, but it's genuinely affecting my quality of life at this point, and I've started parking in the street and not even using my spot, as our garage is where I run into people most often.
FredS7
(Arizona)

Posts:915


04/12/2019 12:37 PM  
"Our process has all issues go to the manager (by email) or brought up during the owner comment period at a board meeting."

You could add that this is done to guarantee that nothing falls through the cracks. Or maybe try some managerspeak about benchmarking.

Then wish them a nice day and move on.

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1285


04/12/2019 1:12 PM  
Paul - this one sounds easy :-)

You are the Prez to manage the manager. Have announced meetings, preside, limit member to 3 min, etc.

Don't answer the calls from owners - have VM that has PM's name and number on it. Don't answer the emails from owners.

I feel for you ...

You MIGHT think about writing a humorous book using your experiences as fodder.

PaulM30
(B)

Posts:9


04/12/2019 1:49 PM  
Ha, that's a good idea. It's crazy, as most of the people are actually quite pleasant otherwise, but something about living in an association really brings the worst out in people. I even had a renter email me to ask if I knew why the smoke alarm in her unit was beeping periodically. I think it's also the fact that they're not aware of how quickly this stuff builds up. The occasional question from an owner is fine, but when every owner has an 'occasional' question, it quickly adds up.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8728


04/12/2019 1:54 PM  
Set up an Email account like MybestHOA at gmail and require all communication got through this account. Let the PM have access to this account. Refuse any other type communication. Even if you have to be rude, tell people Emails or nothing.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8728


04/12/2019 2:00 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 04/12/2019 1:54 PM
Set up an Email account like MybestHOA at gmail and require all communication got through this account. Let the PM have access to this account. Refuse any other type communication. Even if you have to be rude, tell people Emails or nothing.




ADDON

We have instructed our PM to refer all Emails and phone calls to our HOA Email.
RoyalP


Posts:0


04/12/2019 2:34 PM  
Written AND Signed.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3758


04/12/2019 3:43 PM  
If all else fails

Prepare a monthly calendar. For each week, put the name and phone number of a resident on the calendar. The name you put on the first week should be your biggest PITA. Whoever you put on the calendar is the designated concierge-of-the-week for the building.

At your next meeting, hand out copies of the calendar.

Try not to giggle too much.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2700


04/12/2019 9:42 PM  
All good suggestions.

Keep in mind some of these folks will then attend the board meetings and want to stand up and yap on and on about whatever's bugging them at the moment and using all sorts of $5 adjectives (you know the ones!) If you already have one, make a 5-10 minute resident forum part of your meeting agenda, putting it at the beginning of the meeting. Limit comments, questions and whatnot to 2 minutes or so, depending on how many show up (and time them). Before the meeting starts, remind everyone that name calling, threats, backhand slaps and all that will not be tolerated - if you can't or refuse to behave, you will be asked to leave, and if the cops have to be called to escort you out, so be it.

After the resident forum, tell everyone the business portion of the meeting has begun and from this point on, no questions or comments will be taken from the floor so you and your colleagues can get through all the business items on the agenda. Maybe if people sit down and listen, they may learn a few things and even offer to help. Have fun!
PaulM30
(B)

Posts:9


04/13/2019 12:21 PM  
Good idea, thank you. I've always tried to keep our meetings fairly relaxed, but for the next one, I'm going to do as you suggest.
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