Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Monday, December 16, 2019
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: HOA Liability for Potentially Unsafe Conditions
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/02/2019 2:01 PM  
Two past state Supreme Court Cases (one in AZ and one in CA) declared that an HOA has a duty like that of a landlord in providing safe conditions on common property.

Martinez vs Woodmar IV Condominium Association

Frances T. vs Village Green Owners Association


There is a dark area of our community that has needed a streetlight for many years. Past landscape committees have recommended a light on that street, but it never went anywhere because a vocal minority had allies on past Boards. A new Board is elected and installs a streetlight. So much improvement in illumination! When one looks at before and after pictures, you cannot deny there was a problem before and the new streetlight has solved the problem without shining light into any unit's bedrooms.

Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight, based on those two cases (I am in AZ, so the first would definitely apply to me) if a crime occurred on that dark street after the light was removed, a homeowner could definitely sue the HOA and perhaps Board members personally and win a negligence case.

If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?


MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:461


12/02/2019 2:45 PM  
NpB,
The answer is you can get sued for anything at anytime. The question is would it stand up in a Court of law and could they win. Too many what if's for this Non Lawyer to worry about.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8911


12/02/2019 3:07 PM  
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM
Two past state Supreme Court Cases (one in AZ and one in CA) declared that an HOA has a duty like that of a landlord in providing safe conditions on common property.

Martinez vs Woodmar IV Condominium Association

Frances T. vs Village Green Owners Association


There is a dark area of our community that has needed a streetlight for many years. Past landscape committees have recommended a light on that street, but it never went anywhere because a vocal minority had allies on past Boards. A new Board is elected and installs a streetlight. So much improvement in illumination! When one looks at before and after pictures, you cannot deny there was a problem before and the new streetlight has solved the problem without shining light into any unit's bedrooms.

Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight, based on those two cases (I am in AZ, so the first would definitely apply to me) if a crime occurred on that dark street after the light was removed, a homeowner could definitely sue the HOA and perhaps Board members personally and win a negligence case.

If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?






Until your scenario happens, no one knows and it could all depend on a judge/jury. Stop trying to defend the decision to put one there and you all pissing someone off.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:461


12/02/2019 3:11 PM  
One of my Favorite lines about people who are Paranoid is the Following.

Some People are not able to watch Football games on TV. The reason is when the teams Huddle Up they think they are talking about them.
AugustinD


Posts:2096


12/02/2019 3:28 PM  
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM
If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?


My thoughts, based on reading a lot of case law: "Foreseeability" is key to many tort actions. Without a crime, that happened in part because of an absence of adequate lighting, having previously occurred, the foreseeability element is absent. Consequently I believe the chances of a HOA member successfully suing the HOA, because the HOA removed the streetlight, are enormously diminished.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


12/02/2019 3:35 PM  
Were either of the two cases cited related to lighting?

I’ve been involved in two neighborhoods recently that have ongoing lighting discussions. It has always been about walking comfortably - never about safety while walking - or preventing crime.

I would think the liability of the association would be limited - unless there are other factors?
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/02/2019 4:30 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/02/2019 3:35 PM
Were either of the two cases cited related to lighting?

I’ve been involved in two neighborhoods recently that have ongoing lighting discussions. It has always been about walking comfortably - never about safety while walking - or preventing crime.

I would think the liability of the association would be limited - unless there are other factors?





Frances T was directly related to lighting. The Martinez case was not, but lighting was mentioned in the decision as an example of how an HOA is supposed to keep common areas in a safe and secure condition.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/02/2019 4:36 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/02/2019 3:07 PM
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM
Two past state Supreme Court Cases (one in AZ and one in CA) declared that an HOA has a duty like that of a landlord in providing safe conditions on common property.

Martinez vs Woodmar IV Condominium Association

Frances T. vs Village Green Owners Association


There is a dark area of our community that has needed a streetlight for many years. Past landscape committees have recommended a light on that street, but it never went anywhere because a vocal minority had allies on past Boards. A new Board is elected and installs a streetlight. So much improvement in illumination! When one looks at before and after pictures, you cannot deny there was a problem before and the new streetlight has solved the problem without shining light into any unit's bedrooms.

Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight, based on those two cases (I am in AZ, so the first would definitely apply to me) if a crime occurred on that dark street after the light was removed, a homeowner could definitely sue the HOA and perhaps Board members personally and win a negligence case.

If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?






Until your scenario happens, no one knows and it could all depend on a judge/jury. Stop trying to defend the decision to put one there and you all pissing someone off.





I never could have imagined the rancor a streetlight would cause among a minority of people. I am dealing with people who in my opinion have a "winning is everything" mentality.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/02/2019 4:38 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/02/2019 3:28 PM
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM
If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?


My thoughts, based on reading a lot of case law: "Foreseeability" is key to many tort actions. Without a crime, that happened in part because of an absence of adequate lighting, having previously occurred, the foreseeability element is absent. Consequently I believe the chances of a HOA member successfully suing the HOA, because the HOA removed the streetlight, are enormously diminished.





A police officer doing a risk assessment of the neighborhood would immediately point to the dark street as a security risk and the HOA has a responsibility to fix the security risk. I have email announcements of crimes that have occurred in the HOA.
AugustinD


Posts:2096


12/02/2019 5:03 PM  
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 4:38 PM
A police officer doing a risk assessment of the neighborhood would immediately point to the dark street as a security risk


Even if a police officer did this and put it in writing, I do not think this would be enough to pass the "foreseeability" bar required for liability.

Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 4:38 PM
and the HOA has a responsibility to fix the security risk.


One attorney's security risk is another attorney's frivolous and losing lawsuit.

Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 4:38 PM
I have email announcements of crimes that have occurred in the HOA.


I think this is too vague.

You can try to use your arguments with the board to keep this faction from taking over and removing the streetlight. But here in hoatalk land, and on this point, I feel like your arguments are weak.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/02/2019 5:25 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/02/2019 5:03 PM
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 4:38 PM
A police officer doing a risk assessment of the neighborhood would immediately point to the dark street as a security risk


Even if a police officer did this and put it in writing, I do not think this would be enough to pass the "foreseeability" bar required for liability.

Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 4:38 PM
and the HOA has a responsibility to fix the security risk.


One attorney's security risk is another attorney's frivolous and losing lawsuit.

Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 4:38 PM
I have email announcements of crimes that have occurred in the HOA.


I think this is too vague.

You can try to use your arguments with the board to keep this faction from taking over and removing the streetlight. But here in hoatalk land, and on this point, I feel like your arguments are weak.





Hopefully the HOA manager will agree with my viewpoint.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


12/02/2019 7:55 PM  
I’m betting not, but, please let us know.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3921


12/02/2019 9:22 PM  
Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight


Hmm ... I never heard of a BOD that was stupid enough to spend HOA money to remove a streetlight that was recently installed using HOA money. I don't think the membership would put up with it.

As far as the 2 cases are concerned:
- Crime wave. Lady robbed. Complained about lack of lighting. No action by Condo. Put up her own light. Condo demanded removal. Light removed. Same lady robbed, raped, and beaten. Sued Condo.
- Gangs hanging in parking lot. Condo had 2 security guards. Cut back to 1. Lack of coverage. Guest of tenant went to check vehicle. Gang members inside vehicle. Shot and killed him. Sued Condo.
The lower courts dismissed the cases without a trial. The 2 Supreme Courts reversed and sent the cases back for trial. These cases were not just about a dark area. They were about quite a bit more.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


12/03/2019 4:15 AM  
Am I the only one who is finding this a REAL stretch of the imagination? Former neighborhood watch captain here and criminology class taker here. The HOA is NOT responsible for crime or crime prevention. It's NOT in the documents is it? The HOA is responsible like EVERYONE else to REPORT crime. It isn't responsible what happens when a crime occurs. That is CRIMINAL LAW.

Now does it make one feel more "comfortable" to be in a well-lit area? Does it help prevent crime? Yes and no. This isn't a Mall parking lot. Which the reason they are well lit is to make customers feel more secure when they go shopping there. It doesn't actually prevent crime just like a video camera. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal...

The new board has to be voted in by majority of membership. If the light is determined to be an extra unnecessary expense/responsibility then so be it. It happens. My new board destroyed a bunch of things when I transitioned out. I can't protect everyone and it's NOT my responsibility to do so. Let it go.

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:304


12/03/2019 6:41 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 12/03/2019 4:15 AM
Am I the only one who is finding this a REAL stretch of the imagination? Former neighborhood watch captain here and criminology class taker here. The HOA is NOT responsible for crime or crime prevention. It's NOT in the documents is it? The HOA is responsible like EVERYONE else to REPORT crime. It isn't responsible what happens when a crime occurs. That is CRIMINAL LAW.

Now does it make one feel more "comfortable" to be in a well-lit area? Does it help prevent crime? Yes and no. This isn't a Mall parking lot. Which the reason they are well lit is to make customers feel more secure when they go shopping there. It doesn't actually prevent crime just like a video camera. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal...

The new board has to be voted in by majority of membership. If the light is determined to be an extra unnecessary expense/responsibility then so be it. It happens. My new board destroyed a bunch of things when I transitioned out. I can't protect everyone and it's NOT my responsibility to do so. Let it go.



Sorry Professor, there is case law that would hugely disagree with you!
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3921


12/03/2019 7:26 AM  
Posted By NpS on 12/02/2019 9:22 PM

As far as the 2 cases are concerned:
- Crime wave. Lady robbed. Complained about lack of lighting. No action by Condo. Put up her own light. Condo demanded removal. Light removed. Same lady robbed, raped, and beaten. Sued Condo.
- Gangs hanging in parking lot. Condo had 2 security guards. Cut back to 1. Lack of coverage. Guest of tenant went to check vehicle. Gang members inside vehicle. Shot and killed him. Sued Condo.


Melissa
These are the facts from the 2 cases decided by the AZ and CA Supreme Courts.
These courts overruled prior thinking (similar to your comments) about HOA liability.


Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3441


12/03/2019 8:23 AM  
unless the hoa is going to light up 100% of all property it owns, wouldn't a criminal avoiding lights simply walk through the area with no lights?

not sure i understand the logic of lights equals safety, unless your fighting dracula or zombies
AugustinD


Posts:2096


12/03/2019 8:33 AM  
Posted By NpS on 12/03/2019 7:26 AM
These are the facts from the 2 cases decided by the AZ and CA Supreme Courts. These courts overruled prior thinking (similar to [Melissa's] comments) about HOA liability.


For what it is worth, I agree with NpB, MarkW18 and NpS when they indicate the California and Arizona appeals court decisions established that HOAs and Condominiums do have some duty to provide safe conditions on common property. And yes, this is similar to the duty a landlord, apartment complex et cetera owe residents and their guests.

The outcome of the lawsuits after the appeals court decisions would be interesting. E.g. Were there settlements without a new trial? I bet yes. This would kind of go to what I think is one of NpB's points: Just the legitimate threat of losing in litigation would compel an insurer to settle; be costly; et cetera.

It's true I do not like a plaintiff's chances based on the facts NpB provides. But people can and do sue whenever there are deep pockets, like an insurer's. And insurance companies often put hammer clauses in contracts with the insured, leaving the decision to settle up to the insurance company exclusively. Those appeals courts decisions NpB cited undoubtedly cost the insurance companies and/or the condos/HOAs a lot of money.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:555


12/03/2019 9:05 AM  
Would the current board approve the installation of something like floodlights by homeowners in particularly dark areas? That may be a way to provide lighting if the streetlight were to be removed by a future board. I'm thinking that future boards may have discretion over the common areas but would have a much harder time overturning something on a homeowner's property that had been approved in writing.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/03/2019 9:09 AM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 12/03/2019 8:23 AM
unless the hoa is going to light up 100% of all property it owns, wouldn't a criminal avoiding lights simply walk through the area with no lights?

not sure i understand the logic of lights equals safety, unless your fighting dracula or zombies





How about the traffic safety issues involved with homeowners driving or walking the dark street at night?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3383


12/03/2019 1:55 PM  
Posted By NpB on 12/03/2019 9:09 AM
How about the traffic safety issues involved with homeowners driving or walking the dark street at night?

It's all hypothetical unless you have published statistics about your actual neighborhood.

It sounds like the guy in my HOA who's pushing for more expensive light-colored roof shingles because the lighter color will reflect more sunlight and reduce the cost of air conditioning for all homeowners. Sounds nice, but it's all hypothetical.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3441


12/03/2019 5:56 PM  

How about the traffic safety issues involved with homeowners driving or walking the dark street at night?


People driving around without headlights? In my neighborhood when its dark out, people drive with headlights on to see.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


12/03/2019 6:12 PM  
Ha - was wondering how long that would take 😀
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 2:48 AM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 12/03/2019 5:56 PM

How about the traffic safety issues involved with homeowners driving or walking the dark street at night?


People driving around without headlights? In my neighborhood when its dark out, people drive with headlights on to see.





One needs to turn-on car's bright lights to see people or animals walking at night on dark street due to no streetlight in the past.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16555


12/04/2019 3:34 AM  
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM

Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight, based on those two cases (I am in AZ, so the first would definitely apply to me) if a crime occurred on that dark street after the light was removed, a homeowner could definitely sue the HOA and perhaps Board members personally and win a negligence case.

If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?




This is a what if question.

My opinion, life is short. Deal with realities and not what ifs.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:555


12/04/2019 6:00 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 12/04/2019 3:34 AM
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM

Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight, based on those two cases (I am in AZ, so the first would definitely apply to me) if a crime occurred on that dark street after the light was removed, a homeowner could definitely sue the HOA and perhaps Board members personally and win a negligence case.

If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?




This is a what if question.

My opinion, life is short. Deal with realities and not what ifs.




I think we're dealing with philosophical differences here.

Personal opinion: If you only deal with the realities in front of you, you are going to be reactive rather than proactive.

I think managers should always consider what-ifs and consequences, and the likelihood of each scenario playing out. How else can you choose the best course of action? Do you charge full tilt around corners just because nobody has ever crashed into anyone at that particular corner? Of course not. Trying to anticipate trouble has survival value, and not just for individuals.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


12/04/2019 6:11 AM  
This is now silly.

Of course one doesn’t have to turn on brights in a car to see people or animals walking at night without streetlights.

Let’s stay on topic, please.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16555


12/04/2019 6:26 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 12/04/2019 6:00 AM

I think we're dealing with philosophical differences here.




I don't think so.

The probability of this occurring is typically very slim.
Hence, the reality of it happening is slim.

The OP, if I recall correctly, is not on the board.

However, if this is a big concern to the OP, the fix is to not allow the "vocal minority" to have control of the board. This is done by educating the membership, sharing information and encouraging participation in the HOA.

ND
(PA)

Posts:376


12/04/2019 7:15 AM  
It's hard to follow the OP and comprehend the overall situation with all of the recent postings about various things (streetlight, physical assault, neighborhood-wide email debates, nonconsent to termite inspection, parking issues, etc.) . . . but if I'm reading correctly as it pertains to the streetlight:
- The OP is on the Board, is an advocate for this streetlight and its installation, and is an advocate for strict enforcement of HOA rules (see other posts on parking concerns and 2am neighborhood inspections to catch violators).
- The OP was assaulted by the neighbor who had this streetlight installed immediately adjacent to his property (albeit on HOA common space). This neighbor does not want the streetlight, but a majority of other owners do, so the neighbor's position may not have been adequately considered (hindsight).
- The OP lives very close to where the streetlight is installed as his son was witness to the assault from his home's window.



This post and the various tangents have gotten silly in my opinion as well. The streetlight is installed and now we're what-iffing things to death.

We're researching case law to support eventually suing a future potential "vocal minority" anti-streetlight Board for removing a widely-support streetlight installation because once removed, a crime or safety issue occurred on that now dark street, which until removal of the streetlight was well-lit to ensure no crime or safety issues, which prior to installation of the new streetlight was never a crime or safety issue in all the years that no street light existed.



Driving at night requires use of headlights which don't need to be on high-beam to see things. Failure to use headlights, drive at appropriate speeds, and/or remain attentive are the fault of the driver of the vehicle.

Walking at night requires awareness of self and surroundings, appropriate use of PPE (reflective vest, brighter colors, a flashlight perhaps), and can certainly be done safely in well-lit, partially-lit, and even dark areas. Failure to be attentive/aware, be prepared with flashlight and proper clothing, and walk carefully at night are the fault of the pedestrian.

You can't mitigate 100% of risks in every situation and it's not the HOA's responsibility to do so. A lot comes down to personal responsibility/liability.
ND
(PA)

Posts:376


12/04/2019 7:34 AM  
I should add that I do strongly support risk mitigation, asking what-ifs, and to the fullest extent trying to be proactive rather than reactive . . . but things seem a bit excessive in this current posed scenario.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 11:15 AM  
Posted By ND on 12/04/2019 7:34 AM
I should add that I do strongly support risk mitigation, asking what-ifs, and to the fullest extent trying to be proactive rather than reactive . . . but things seem a bit excessive in this current posed scenario.





Hypotheticals are routine when discussing HOA and legal issues.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 12:04 PM  
Posted By ND on 12/04/2019 7:15 AM
It's hard to follow the OP and comprehend the overall situation with all of the recent postings about various things (streetlight, physical assault, neighborhood-wide email debates, nonconsent to termite inspection, parking issues, etc.) . . . but if I'm reading correctly as it pertains to the streetlight:
- The OP is on the Board, is an advocate for this streetlight and its installation, and is an advocate for strict enforcement of HOA rules (see other posts on parking concerns and 2am neighborhood inspections to catch violators).
- The OP was assaulted by the neighbor who had this streetlight installed immediately adjacent to his property (albeit on HOA common space). This neighbor does not want the streetlight, but a majority of other owners do, so the neighbor's position may not have been adequately considered (hindsight).
- The OP lives very close to where the streetlight is installed as his son was witness to the assault from his home's window.



This post and the various tangents have gotten silly in my opinion as well. The streetlight is installed and now we're what-iffing things to death.

We're researching case law to support eventually suing a future potential "vocal minority" anti-streetlight Board for removing a widely-support streetlight installation because once removed, a crime or safety issue occurred on that now dark street, which until removal of the streetlight was well-lit to ensure no crime or safety issues, which prior to installation of the new streetlight was never a crime or safety issue in all the years that no street light existed.



Driving at night requires use of headlights which don't need to be on high-beam to see things. Failure to use headlights, drive at appropriate speeds, and/or remain attentive are the fault of the driver of the vehicle.

Walking at night requires awareness of self and surroundings, appropriate use of PPE (reflective vest, brighter colors, a flashlight perhaps), and can certainly be done safely in well-lit, partially-lit, and even dark areas. Failure to be attentive/aware, be prepared with flashlight and proper clothing, and walk carefully at night are the fault of the pedestrian.

You can't mitigate 100% of risks in every situation and it's not the HOA's responsibility to do so. A lot comes down to personal responsibility/liability.





You are correct on your first 3 statements. The problem the HOA is facing are longtime owners who are used to non-professional management with a tight-knight clique running the HOA for many years now having to deal with a Board who wants to run an HOA "by the book" professionally without regard to cliques, non-selective enforcement, etc.. and there are apparently growing pains.

One can't mandate that pedestrians wear certain gear. The conditions on the street have been hazardous to motorists, pedestrians and are an attractant to crime. Too bad it's taken 15 years since I first wrote a letter about it for the Board to have taken any action.
ND
(PA)

Posts:376


12/04/2019 1:08 PM  
NpB . . . I went back a ways at some of your posts. And I’m mad at myself for spending the time doing this (and most won’t read this post because it’s too long), but I’m really trying to help you out.

You talk about a lot about (what I consider to be) rather curious, extreme, abnormal, and/or irregular sorts of circumstances. A few examples include (and I’m synopsizing and perhaps making a few assumptions):

-- Investigating HOA liability for a potential future Board to potentially remove a recently-installed streetlight, the removal of which may potentially allow for crime or safety issues.

-- Being assaulted by a neighbor over installation of a streetlight . . . claimed in one or more posts to be installed on HOA common area, and in another post to be installed within confines of a consenting owner’s property (the owner adjacent to the one who assaulted you).

-- Taking on one owner who continuously defies HOA rule on overnight parking by regularly taking pictures of vehicles at 2am. (Is this the same owner who assaulted you over the streetlight?)

-- You (a Board Member) being fined by your own HOA Management Company (which you claim is a money grab by termite co or by HOA) because you can’t make accommodations to be home during the inspection.

-- Homeowner debates via community-wide email and you, as a Board Member, wanting to go tit for tat in order to defend yourself.

-- Dredging up 10-year-old emails from a Landscape Committee in support of a swing set to be installed in community open space and asking if they can be read at a Board Meeting . . . for what purpose? . . . to once again advocate putting in a swing set?

-- Wanting to go to Department of Real Estate and file a case for selective enforcement against the same Board of Directors with which you serve.

-- Wrangling over an HOA funds being used for an HOA-held pizza party that invited all owners.

-- Initiating/signing contracts after obtaining unanimous board consent through email and then wondering if they may be undone later at in-person meetings if disgruntled neighbors cause Board Members to re-consider their decision (after there is actual discussion of an important decision that should have occurred before the email decision).


The one common denominator in all of this is you. I don’t think it’s by chance that you continue to find yourself in these situations, wrangling with what to do or not do, what’s permissible or not, etc. Through your own involvement and actions, you seem to generate much of the drama.

I’m not saying this to try and be a jerk. And maybe you find a strange enjoyment out of it all or you have other motives for doing what you do. But to me this is all quite extreme. It's creating turmoil within your HOA, among your neighbors, and on your Board. It probably isn’t adding value to the greater good of your HOA. And it's probably causing you a significant amount of angst and wasted time/effort.

Cathy had some good advice in regard to your parking concern . . . “So... how much does this annoy you? Do the benefits of pushing back outweigh any consequences (ill will, retaliation, etc.)? The answers to these questions will tell you what to do.”

I suggest the same in most of what you find yourself involved in . . . how important is it really to the greater good of your HOA? Do the benefits of what you seek to accomplish outweigh potential consequences involved in getting you there?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8911


12/04/2019 2:37 PM  
Posted By ND on 12/04/2019 1:08 PM
NpB . . . I went back a ways at some of your posts. And I’m mad at myself for spending the time doing this (and most won’t read this post because it’s too long), but I’m really trying to help you out.

You talk about a lot about (what I consider to be) rather curious, extreme, abnormal, and/or irregular sorts of circumstances. A few examples include (and I’m synopsizing and perhaps making a few assumptions):

-- Investigating HOA liability for a potential future Board to potentially remove a recently-installed streetlight, the removal of which may potentially allow for crime or safety issues.

-- Being assaulted by a neighbor over installation of a streetlight . . . claimed in one or more posts to be installed on HOA common area, and in another post to be installed within confines of a consenting owner’s property (the owner adjacent to the one who assaulted you).

-- Taking on one owner who continuously defies HOA rule on overnight parking by regularly taking pictures of vehicles at 2am. (Is this the same owner who assaulted you over the streetlight?)

-- You (a Board Member) being fined by your own HOA Management Company (which you claim is a money grab by termite co or by HOA) because you can’t make accommodations to be home during the inspection.

-- Homeowner debates via community-wide email and you, as a Board Member, wanting to go tit for tat in order to defend yourself.

-- Dredging up 10-year-old emails from a Landscape Committee in support of a swing set to be installed in community open space and asking if they can be read at a Board Meeting . . . for what purpose? . . . to once again advocate putting in a swing set?

-- Wanting to go to Department of Real Estate and file a case for selective enforcement against the same Board of Directors with which you serve.

-- Wrangling over an HOA funds being used for an HOA-held pizza party that invited all owners.

-- Initiating/signing contracts after obtaining unanimous board consent through email and then wondering if they may be undone later at in-person meetings if disgruntled neighbors cause Board Members to re-consider their decision (after there is actual discussion of an important decision that should have occurred before the email decision).


The one common denominator in all of this is you. I don’t think it’s by chance that you continue to find yourself in these situations, wrangling with what to do or not do, what’s permissible or not, etc. Through your own involvement and actions, you seem to generate much of the drama.

I’m not saying this to try and be a jerk. And maybe you find a strange enjoyment out of it all or you have other motives for doing what you do. But to me this is all quite extreme. It's creating turmoil within your HOA, among your neighbors, and on your Board. It probably isn’t adding value to the greater good of your HOA. And it's probably causing you a significant amount of angst and wasted time/effort.

Cathy had some good advice in regard to your parking concern . . . “So... how much does this annoy you? Do the benefits of pushing back outweigh any consequences (ill will, retaliation, etc.)? The answers to these questions will tell you what to do.

I suggest the same in most of what you find yourself involved in . . . how important is it really to the greater good of your HOA? Do the benefits of what you seek to accomplish outweigh potential consequences involved in getting you there?




ND. I agree they all seem to revolve around him and hypotheticals. I wonder if he lies awake at night worrying about and/or dreaming up scenarios?
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 3:03 PM  
Posted By ND on 12/04/2019 1:08 PM
NpB . . . I went back a ways at some of your posts. And I’m mad at myself for spending the time doing this (and most won’t read this post because it’s too long), but I’m really trying to help you out.

You talk about a lot about (what I consider to be) rather curious, extreme, abnormal, and/or irregular sorts of circumstances. A few examples include (and I’m synopsizing and perhaps making a few assumptions):

-- Investigating HOA liability for a potential future Board to potentially remove a recently-installed streetlight, the removal of which may potentially allow for crime or safety issues.

-- Being assaulted by a neighbor over installation of a streetlight . . . claimed in one or more posts to be installed on HOA common area, and in another post to be installed within confines of a consenting owner’s property (the owner adjacent to the one who assaulted you).

-- Taking on one owner who continuously defies HOA rule on overnight parking by regularly taking pictures of vehicles at 2am. (Is this the same owner who assaulted you over the streetlight?)

-- You (a Board Member) being fined by your own HOA Management Company (which you claim is a money grab by termite co or by HOA) because you can’t make accommodations to be home during the inspection.

-- Homeowner debates via community-wide email and you, as a Board Member, wanting to go tit for tat in order to defend yourself.

-- Dredging up 10-year-old emails from a Landscape Committee in support of a swing set to be installed in community open space and asking if they can be read at a Board Meeting . . . for what purpose? . . . to once again advocate putting in a swing set?

-- Wanting to go to Department of Real Estate and file a case for selective enforcement against the same Board of Directors with which you serve.

-- Wrangling over an HOA funds being used for an HOA-held pizza party that invited all owners.

-- Initiating/signing contracts after obtaining unanimous board consent through email and then wondering if they may be undone later at in-person meetings if disgruntled neighbors cause Board Members to re-consider their decision (after there is actual discussion of an important decision that should have occurred before the email decision).


The one common denominator in all of this is you. I don’t think it’s by chance that you continue to find yourself in these situations, wrangling with what to do or not do, what’s permissible or not, etc. Through your own involvement and actions, you seem to generate much of the drama.

I’m not saying this to try and be a jerk. And maybe you find a strange enjoyment out of it all or you have other motives for doing what you do. But to me this is all quite extreme. It's creating turmoil within your HOA, among your neighbors, and on your Board. It probably isn’t adding value to the greater good of your HOA. And it's probably causing you a significant amount of angst and wasted time/effort.

Cathy had some good advice in regard to your parking concern . . . “So... how much does this annoy you? Do the benefits of pushing back outweigh any consequences (ill will, retaliation, etc.)? The answers to these questions will tell you what to do.”

I suggest the same in most of what you find yourself involved in . . . how important is it really to the greater good of your HOA? Do the benefits of what you seek to accomplish outweigh potential consequences involved in getting you there?





I am not the one who starts email "wars" in my HOA, nor am I the one who doesn't paint his/her house on time, parks on the street overnight repeatedly, and yes I was the victim of an assault by an angry neighbor. I am not looking for pity, just best practices for what other HOA Board members do. I'm assuming that you and others think the HOA I live in is dysfunctional and yes, even I as a Board member would agree that it is, but it is largely due to homeowner's being conditioned by a a Board that nothing will happen to them if they violate rules, CC&Rs etc.. Past Board members have even touted how there should be lax enforcement and how strict enforcement would disrupt "harmony." Obviously after a change in Board that now wants to operate by the book and like a corporation with strict enforcement, and in a preventative manner regarding being sued (e.g. streetlight--safety and security) the small minority who have gotten away with rules violations (overnight parking) and NIMBYism for years are upset.

In the past, I have been tempted many times as a homeowner to purposely leave my car parked overnight, just to get a warning letter or fine and then take the case to and Administrative Law Judge for selective enforcement or if nothing happened to call out the HOA in front of an ALJ, but the ethical principles in me have held me back.

So no, then one common denominator is not me. It is homeowners who have been conditioned for years to believe they don't really live in an HOA with rules or that the rules don't apply to them.

And the termite thing involved another HOA where I am not a Board member, so don't jump to conclusions too fast.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 3:09 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/04/2019 2:37 PM
Posted By ND on 12/04/2019 1:08 PM
NpB . . . I went back a ways at some of your posts. And I’m mad at myself for spending the time doing this (and most won’t read this post because it’s too long), but I’m really trying to help you out.

You talk about a lot about (what I consider to be) rather curious, extreme, abnormal, and/or irregular sorts of circumstances. A few examples include (and I’m synopsizing and perhaps making a few assumptions):

-- Investigating HOA liability for a potential future Board to potentially remove a recently-installed streetlight, the removal of which may potentially allow for crime or safety issues.

-- Being assaulted by a neighbor over installation of a streetlight . . . claimed in one or more posts to be installed on HOA common area, and in another post to be installed within confines of a consenting owner’s property (the owner adjacent to the one who assaulted you).

-- Taking on one owner who continuously defies HOA rule on overnight parking by regularly taking pictures of vehicles at 2am. (Is this the same owner who assaulted you over the streetlight?)

-- You (a Board Member) being fined by your own HOA Management Company (which you claim is a money grab by termite co or by HOA) because you can’t make accommodations to be home during the inspection.

-- Homeowner debates via community-wide email and you, as a Board Member, wanting to go tit for tat in order to defend yourself.

-- Dredging up 10-year-old emails from a Landscape Committee in support of a swing set to be installed in community open space and asking if they can be read at a Board Meeting . . . for what purpose? . . . to once again advocate putting in a swing set?

-- Wanting to go to Department of Real Estate and file a case for selective enforcement against the same Board of Directors with which you serve.

-- Wrangling over an HOA funds being used for an HOA-held pizza party that invited all owners.

-- Initiating/signing contracts after obtaining unanimous board consent through email and then wondering if they may be undone later at in-person meetings if disgruntled neighbors cause Board Members to re-consider their decision (after there is actual discussion of an important decision that should have occurred before the email decision).


The one common denominator in all of this is you. I don’t think it’s by chance that you continue to find yourself in these situations, wrangling with what to do or not do, what’s permissible or not, etc. Through your own involvement and actions, you seem to generate much of the drama.

I’m not saying this to try and be a jerk. And maybe you find a strange enjoyment out of it all or you have other motives for doing what you do. But to me this is all quite extreme. It's creating turmoil within your HOA, among your neighbors, and on your Board. It probably isn’t adding value to the greater good of your HOA. And it's probably causing you a significant amount of angst and wasted time/effort.

Cathy had some good advice in regard to your parking concern . . . “So... how much does this annoy you? Do the benefits of pushing back outweigh any consequences (ill will, retaliation, etc.)? The answers to these questions will tell you what to do.

I suggest the same in most of what you find yourself involved in . . . how important is it really to the greater good of your HOA? Do the benefits of what you seek to accomplish outweigh potential consequences involved in getting you there?




ND. I agree they all seem to revolve around him and hypotheticals. I wonder if he lies awake at night worrying about and/or dreaming up scenarios?





HOA decisions and debates routinely involve hypotheticals and voting on actions based on them. Streetlight is just one example.


GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


12/04/2019 3:23 PM  
Meh - this goes nowhere.

I’m out.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 3:31 PM  
Continuing a reply to ND's post.

One must routinely think in hypotheticals as it relates to HOA and make decisions in a preventative manner, especially these days with a litigious society.

The streetlight was installed within the confines of a consenting owner's lot that the CCRs state is a common area. A certain part of every lot, even thought it is owned by the individual owner, is controlled by the HOA as a common area per the CC&Rs. HOA can plant, erect, remove, etc.. anything in that specific area. Interesting lack of simple sympathy for being the victim of an assault.

What would you do if an owner continuously parks overnight on the street? No, it is not the same owner who assaulted me.

How would you act to criticism via email or at an in person Board meeting? Would you appear weak, remain silent and say "thank you for your comments." How would you deal with people who have a "winning is everything" and NIMBY mindset? Would you reply, "ok, homeowner, I know you are upset, so I will take the high road, be magnanimous , let you rant boorishly and then extend a olive branch?" or would you politely, civilly but firmly defend your position with business judgement and legal opinions?

Regarding the swingset, with an "everyone for himself/herself" mentality and the ideological clashes that exist that might be personal in nature, specific people in a certain area who wanted a swingset many years ago, might not want a swingset now just because they don't like certain people on the Board. The email documentation from many years ago would expose the bias.

How would you like your dues in the past having gone to charities in the name of a deceased owner? I bring up that it is against the CCRs, since it is not a common area expense and am told I am heartless and that the donation is to promote harmony. 90% of the families of the deceased immediately move out, so obviously the harmony argument is moot. Pizza Party same premise.


Again, the one common denominator is past Boards, lead by someone who was re-elected for 20 plus years who enjoyed being the "mayor" and who overlooked violations, promoted a lax enforcement policy and let people take advantage of him by using him like a hotel clerk or manager.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/04/2019 3:34 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/04/2019 3:23 PM
Meh - this goes nowhere.

I’m out.





The thread began as an intellectual and critical discussion of two state Supreme Court cases and how they affect HOAs regarding safety/security and liability. I am sure most HOAs have streetlights and/or dark streets. Then unfortunately, like a lot of internet posts, people turn on and accuse the OP.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/05/2019 5:08 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 12/04/2019 6:00 AM
Posted By TimB4 on 12/04/2019 3:34 AM
Posted By NpB on 12/02/2019 2:01 PM

Should this vocal minority were to get elected to the Board and remove the streetlight, based on those two cases (I am in AZ, so the first would definitely apply to me) if a crime occurred on that dark street after the light was removed, a homeowner could definitely sue the HOA and perhaps Board members personally and win a negligence case.

If a crime did not occur, would a homeowner have any liability claim or any other type of legal claim (discrimination) against the HOA for removing the streetlight?




This is a what if question.

My opinion, life is short. Deal with realities and not what ifs.




I think we're dealing with philosophical differences here.

Personal opinion: If you only deal with the realities in front of you, you are going to be reactive rather than proactive.

I think managers should always consider what-ifs and consequences, and the likelihood of each scenario playing out. How else can you choose the best course of action? Do you charge full tilt around corners just because nobody has ever crashed into anyone at that particular corner? Of course not. Trying to anticipate trouble has survival value, and not just for individuals.





Completely agree! For example, better to have a bully breed dog policy before one moves in vs reacting after and the owner thinking its personal. Conditioning people with a 100 page CC&R and rule book (exaggeration to make a point) from the onset of an HOA is more preferred than reacting to a situation at hand because then it's perceived as personal and no Board wants their actions to be viewed as personal.
ND
(PA)

Posts:376


12/05/2019 5:32 AM  
NpB . . . I wish you the best in your endeavors. It sounds like you're in a difficult position and trying hard to make changes that you feel are important. My post wasn't an attempt to turn on and accuse you, so apologies if that's how you took it. My post, as a complete outsider to your HOA, was an attempt to piece together a lot of the situations you're facing, questioning, and hypothesizing to show you how diverse, extreme, and slightly abnormal they appear to be.

Past Boards have apparently created a culture in your HOA that was at least understood. A new Board is jumping in and trying to quickly turn things 180 degrees. My suggestion is to assess what the future needs to be and slowly work toward that . . . or better yet, hone in on a few really important things and try to tackle those.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


12/05/2019 2:29 PM  
Let me add the REALITY of change in a HOA. It typically takes 2 years for a new board to straighten things out and improve. It's the 3rd year that changes really show and things start working. You can't expect a new board to automatically change things. It takes time, effort, communication, understanding, and money.

Will say my first year in office was basically a "clean-up" job. I spent that year just getting things straightened out and understood. My 2nd year is when the real work got tackled. Plus able to build on the clean-up. My 3rd year is when I got to actually run things into a better operational HOA.

So for you to fear certain things are basically your PERSONAL fears. It isn't anyone else's. A new board no matter how good or bad they are, takes time to make things happen.

Former HOA President
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:83


12/10/2019 10:12 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 12/05/2019 2:29 PM
Let me add the REALITY of change in a HOA. It typically takes 2 years for a new board to straighten things out and improve. It's the 3rd year that changes really show and things start working. You can't expect a new board to automatically change things. It takes time, effort, communication, understanding, and money.

Will say my first year in office was basically a "clean-up" job. I spent that year just getting things straightened out and understood. My 2nd year is when the real work got tackled. Plus able to build on the clean-up. My 3rd year is when I got to actually run things into a better operational HOA.

So for you to fear certain things are basically your PERSONAL fears. It isn't anyone else's. A new board no matter how good or bad they are, takes time to make things happen.





You are correct that change takes a lot of time, especially if homeowners are conditioned to one ideology for years. The fact that I live in a small community complicates the social aspect.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:555


12/10/2019 10:18 AM  
Posted By NpB on 12/10/2019 10:12 AM
Posted By MelissaP1 on 12/05/2019 2:29 PM
Let me add the REALITY of change in a HOA. It typically takes 2 years for a new board to straighten things out and improve. It's the 3rd year that changes really show and things start working. You can't expect a new board to automatically change things. It takes time, effort, communication, understanding, and money.

Will say my first year in office was basically a "clean-up" job. I spent that year just getting things straightened out and understood. My 2nd year is when the real work got tackled. Plus able to build on the clean-up. My 3rd year is when I got to actually run things into a better operational HOA.

So for you to fear certain things are basically your PERSONAL fears. It isn't anyone else's. A new board no matter how good or bad they are, takes time to make things happen.





You are correct that change takes a lot of time, especially if homeowners are conditioned to one ideology for years. The fact that I live in a small community complicates the social aspect.




So you make a plan, and start small. Maybe begin with an education campaign that shows how past practices have actually harmed the community, and how doing things differently will benefit everyone. It can be a tough sell with those who have in fact benefited from lax enforcement, for example - however, if you can get the majority on your side, you've taken an important step toward doing things right.

And try not to get frustrated. Serving on the board can be frustrating even when things are being done by the book. 'Tis the nature of the beast.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > HOA Liability for Potentially Unsafe Conditions



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement