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Subject: Problem Owner
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LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:712


07/06/2019 8:26 AM  
If you remember, back in December the previous BOD in a knee jerk reaction closed the pool to all the owners because of ONE owner. This one owner is bringing in the surrounding homeless population into the pool area so they have a place to shower. Now this Owner is dong it again. The PM sent out another compliance letter, replied back to the PM and two other BOD, compliance letter do no good and this owners behavior is ongoing. The health and welfare of the owners are put at risk by having homeless people in the pool area. I feel this owner needs to be called to a hearing and be 86'ed from the pool due to past and ongoing treats to the safety and welfare of the community.


Your thoughts please.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2565


07/06/2019 9:56 AM  
If the board closed the pool, how are the people getting in the shower room? That question needs to be investigated and resolved because that's a security issue. You may need to change the locks and keep the pool and everything else closed until this is resolved.

You should also ensure this owner is the one opening the pool area before you turn this over to your association attorney -because you need to sue the help out of this guy. Among other things, your lawsuit should ask for cleaning expenses and whatever other expenses you've incurred to address this and perhaps ban him from using the and other amenities for a lengthy period (start with a year) and help no, he cannot deduct that portion of his assessments

In addition send a notice to all homeowners reminding them of the pool rules and proper use of amenities - villagers will be subject to fines and whatever penalties you have this should be effective immediately.

Unfortunately, it may take a little longer to fix this, so you may need to toss the pool season altogether. Explain why, but don't name names - people will know who you're talking abou. In fact a little peer pressure might help resolve this sooner rather than later.

One more thing - talk to local police about other options you may have - and to see if they might swing by periodically to catch people so they can be charged with trespassing. Good luck!





Meanwhile
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:299


07/06/2019 10:46 AM  
I agree with Sheila. I don't believe a hearing will be any more effective than the compliance letters have been, and there needs to be serious consequences for his misbehavior. As was noted in the earlier discussion, his actions are endangering other members of the community and putting the association at risk of a lawsuit if anyone is injured.

Make sure you have evidence that will stand up in court, lock down the pool facilities including the showers (shut off the water to them if possible), and get your attorney ready to rumble.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:712


07/06/2019 10:46 AM  
The pool was opened back up again in April, a moth later than planned because of the spa replastering. Nobody is talking lawsuit yet. This is the same guy that has a mental illness that past board and PM decisions treat like kid gloves because they fear a discrimination lawsuit if they any action against him.

This is a very frustrating situation all around. I can say that I will oppose closing the pool, but my board vote is 1 vs 2. Hopefully that will change very soon, the one board seat is up for election in November.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8436


07/06/2019 10:54 AM  
Your BOD needs to grow a pair and stop letting one crazie owner control them.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:299


07/06/2019 11:34 AM  
Posted By LetA on 07/06/2019 10:46 AM
The pool was opened back up again in April, a moth later than planned because of the spa replastering. Nobody is talking lawsuit yet. This is the same guy that has a mental illness that past board and PM decisions treat like kid gloves because they fear a discrimination lawsuit if they any action against him.




Ah. In that case you'll need to tread carefully. The one thing you have in your favor is that his conduct is so out of line that it would be difficult to make a case that he's somehow being discriminated against if you try to stop it. I can't think of any "reasonable accommodation" that permits someone to endanger others.

In this case I suppose a hearing is the next step in order to show that the HOA is bending over backwards to work with the guy. On the other hand, hearings are useful in cases where the owner needs to be able to present additional information or his side of the case, or if there would be any possibility for negotiating. I'm going out on a limb and assuming there is nothing the owner can do to make this situation acceptable other than to completely cease and desist, which he's indicated won't happen. So a hearing probably will be window dressing, but necessary window dressing.

The only other option I see if you don't want to close the pool and you don't want to take the guy to court right away is to really beef up security so that non-members can't use the amenities. In fact this is probably a good next step after a hearing since it focuses on improper behavior on everyone's part, not just the problem member. Hard to make a case that this is discriminatory. It will cost money, but on the other hand you're paying for an amenity that people are reluctant to use for safety reasons, so I don't know that this is much worse. Pools really should be properly secured anyway.




MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:350


07/07/2019 8:39 AM  
Let A,
First I want to start by saying I totally get your frustration on this issue. I am going to share some concerns that may come up with this issue.

1) I would assume HOs are allowed guests in the Pool area. What makes one guest better than the next guest?

2) People bring lots of stuff to the Pool when they go swimming for a afternoon. The homeless bring a shopping cart. What is the difference?

3) Homeless people are unsightly and smell bad. Are you going to put someone in place to smell everyone entering the Pool?

4) Homeless people may be sick. As you probably know many Pool rules say if you have had Diarrhea in the last 10 days you should not go in the Pool. Who checks that?

5) You state that the person may have a mental illness. Does that make him lose his privileges as a homeowner if he pays his dues?

I am sure if given a little time I could come up with more examples but I think you get the point. We live in a strange time and when people think this is an easy solution it may not be. People will see this from one side or the other.

The association I am currently the President of has nearly 1500 homes. I am sure you could find one of just about everything in those homes. It is very hard to go after 1 class of people without offending others.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:712


07/07/2019 9:07 AM  
Mark, It is a very complicated issue. I am the odd man out on the board. We have two board members along with the property manager that think it is perfectly ok to have a gate code in the vehicle gate, and the board replaced the keyed lockset in the pedestrian gate because one parent did not want their kid to carry a key to school.

So this particular homeowner has been observed propping the pool gate open and it is the assumption that this owner freely gave out the codes to the vehicle and pedestrian gates to the area homeless population.

Like you stated, yes owners are allowed to have two guest at the pool, but here comes the double edged sword. At what expense to the safety, health and welfare to the entire community do you draw the line?

Currently the showers are on the outside of the pool house, it is just a small building with two bathrooms and pump room. The bathrooms are large enough for one shower stall each.
I have a security plan that will remove the codes from the vehicle and pedestrian gates as well as replacing the key to the pool with all electronic fobs. "separate fobs of course for pool and ped gates"
Moving the showers to the bathrooms and putting fob access to open the bathrooms. Surveillance cameras in the common area of the pool. I'm guessing that this would cost about 20 grand to implement.


Like Cathy said, compliance letters mean nothing and this guy has received quite a few over the years because of his behavior. I the BOD needs to get CC to send him a C&D letter first before the owner is called to a compliance hearing.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:299


07/07/2019 10:33 AM  
Some random thoughts:

This probably wouldn't fly in a condo situation, but the last apartment complex where I lived moved to a biometric (fingerprint) system for pool and clubhouse access. Personally I had some privacy concerns about it, and it wouldn't stop someone from bringing in too many guests, but it did solve the problem of access codes and keys being given out freely.

As a board member, I was always weighing perceived benefits against the cost in time, money, effort and potential liability of these benefits. In LetA's position, I would start to ask myself at what point could I no longer justify keeping the pool open.

While on the board, I also dealt with a couple issues involving homeowners with possible mental health issues. We made sure our attorney was informed and vetted each step we took to make sure we complied with Fair Housing laws. No shortcuts, lots of bending over backwards and dotting i's and crossing t's. Lots of documentation, everything in writing, no unscripted one-on-one discussions with the persons involved.

Fair Housing laws are pretty unforgiving and the penalties stiff, so I completely understand LetA's board's hesitation on this. It's not a case of them not doing their jobs. Instead it's a recognition that in this particular instance, the stakes are much higher than they would be for run of the mill enforcement cases.

I think it's misleading to view the homeless as comparable to other guests. Guests are known personally to the homeowners who accompany them, and the homeowners are answerable for their guests' behavior. I'm pretty sure that the offending homeowner in this case does not "know" the individual homeless persons, especially if he simply props a gate open, nor is he answerable for their behavior.

At the risk of saying something controversial, I will point out that the homeless, as a group, bring added risks to the community. As a group, the homeless are more likely to be dealing with diseases and mental health issues than a random group of non-homeless citizens. This isn't discriminatory, it's an acknowledgement of the public health issues surrounding homelessness. Cities by and large haven't figured out how to deal with it successfully, and it's kinda above-and-beyond for a board made up of volunteers. However, given the potential liability and safety issues involved, the board has no choice but to deal with it as best they can.

Closing the pool will stop the showering, but if the problem homeowner opens gates and whatnot, there may still be the issue of unaccompanied strangers roaming the property. Maybe 24 hour security - even if they do nothing but check the gates each hour to make sure they're still locked, that would help. Then call the police if there are intruders, rather than dealing with it themselves. I think in this case just making the property uninviting will help.


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8436


07/07/2019 11:07 AM  
Maybe the Guests Allowed policy should be a guest must me visiting and/or staying at ones home to be considered a guest. Those not meeting this requirement shall be considered trespassing and the police will be called.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8300


07/07/2019 11:16 AM  
I am not against this owner helping out the homeless on a personal level. Sorry but I am not against humanity... That said. It should be a requirement that if you have a guest, you must be with that guest. You can't just give someone permission or access when you are not in their presence.

Understand that tenants/renters would be considered "guests" and owner would not be needed with them. However, every other situation, the owner should stay with their guests. So make them be at the showers with that person or call the police.

Former HOA President
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:350


07/07/2019 11:26 AM  
We all have great ideas on how we can control access. The problem is people need to respect the Rules and follow them. The comment about the guest must stay in your home or visiting is something else that is impossible to track.

LetA, Key Fob access is a great start. It can give you reports that can identify exactly who access specific areas at any given time. Another words proof that someone is coming and going. If this homeowner is constantly letting people in the restricted area his card access can be restricted by the board. The reports the system delivers gives you the proof you may need to support your decision. I am looking into purchasing a new system for our HOA and the pricing ranges from 3K to 5K for a standard system. The Fobs can be purchased in bulk for $2 to $3 buck per Fob. The reason why we are currently looking is our PMC has full control of our system and charges HOs $35.00 per Fob. Our board wants to have complete control of this system and feels like this is necessary. This system also works best when you have good Security cameras looking at the areas controlled by the Fob access. Your estimate of 20K for the whole thing is pretty accurate IMO. When you are attempting to sell this purchase to your board make sure you remind them that it is the only thing in your community that works 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
PestY
(South Carolina)

Posts:32


07/07/2019 11:35 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 07/07/2019 11:07 AM
Maybe the Guests Allowed policy should be a guest must me visiting and/or staying at ones home to be considered a guest. Those not meeting this requirement shall be considered trespassing and the police will be called.





+ the member should accompany their 'guest(s)'
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8436


07/07/2019 11:43 AM  
Access is not the issue. The crazy neighbor has access and is letting the homeless in I understand he all accompanies them thus he is accompanying his "guests". Guests has to better defined and held to.
\
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2565


07/07/2019 11:47 AM  
Hopefully I can type this minus all the typos in my first response! The game of using a tablet, I guess.

I understand your board colleagues being nervous about disciplining this homeowner, but as Mark said, there have to be consequences to bad behavior. That said, this does require special handling because you just separate the illness from the problem. Just because the man has a mental illness doesn't mean that's why he continue to break the rules. On the other hand, mental illness can impair the part of the brain that controls judgement and impulse control, so that could be part of the reason your letters haven't worked.

Does this man live alone? If not, have you spoken to his family about the problem? Do you know what type of mental illness this? Maybe there's a local mental health agency that can give you some ideas on how to address this (don't name names). Also take Kathy's advice in keeping your attorney in the loop because it this lands in court, you will have to show you aren't singling him out because of his condition.

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2565


07/07/2019 11:53 AM  
dang it, I still made a few mistakes.

Anyway, I should also suggest that you do a little research on mental illness and how it plays a role in crime - believe it or not, a lot less than what you think. Start with the website of A Healthy place.com and go from there.
AugustinD


Posts:1791


07/07/2019 4:51 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 07/07/2019 10:33 AM
While on the board, I also dealt with a couple issues involving homeowners with possible mental health issues. We made sure our attorney was informed and vetted each step we took to make sure we complied with Fair Housing laws. No shortcuts, lots of bending over backwards and dotting i's and crossing t's. Lots of documentation, everything in writing, no unscripted one-on-one discussions with the persons involved.


Well said and done.

"Reasonable accommodation" does not mean letting a mentally disabled person do what he is doing in this case.

Fair Housing laws are pretty unforgiving and the penalties stiff, so I completely understand LetA's board's hesitation on this. It's not a case of them not doing their jobs. Instead it's a recognition that in this particular instance, the stakes are much higher than they would be for run of the mill enforcement cases.


I think this is overstating the situation some. E.g. if the Board has film footage of this member propping the gate open, tag him with a violation (assuming the HOA has a rule on this). Impose fines. If there is no rule and no fines, create the rule and a schedule of fines. Hit violators in the wallet hard.

LetA posted that he his being outvoted with regard to closing the pool. Two want it closed; he opposes closing it. It seems to me closing the pool is a violation of the board's duty to maintain common areas and enforce covenants for same.

I think the Board needs to switch to an electronic pass card, like what Mark suggested. It worked at my former condo. It will be expensive. Residents who lose their pass card had to pay $30 for a new one.
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