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Subject: Threats to Board Members
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Author Messages
PattyB
(Florida)

Posts:5


06/21/2006 9:43 AM  
I was a volunteer on the ARB in my community for over 2 years, and as of last week I was just voted on the board. My problem is that there are a few families that hate to listen to rules and get upset if you write their house up. Last week I was verbally attacked at the monthly meeting and have been followed by one homeowner and he has been driving by my house nightly. (I live on a deadend street) There is no reason why he would be on my street since I asked the neighbors if anyone knew him and they do not.
His kids are the worst in the neighborhood and have damaged so much property over the years. What can I do to keep him away from me?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


06/21/2006 10:44 AM  
Patty, most people react negatively to receiving a violation notice. It can get scary in a case like your's. I suggest talking to him or having another Board member talk to him if you do not feel comfortable doing it. If he continues to harass you he should be asked to cease and desist and advised that any further disturbance will require filing a complaint with the police.
GeraldT1


Posts:0


06/21/2006 12:03 PM  
PattyB - Your story is pretty much the worst of what happens btwn. neighbors, though these families don't sound like neighbors. All those that serve to better our community, even if we err by accident, are often vilified but the peanut gallery. Document everything. Another tactic I'd take in addition is for a friendly letter to be mailed to all owners, sighting that it's unneighborly to break the rules and verbally assault those that are required by HOA governing documents to enforce them, etc. You may need to call an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) meeting to resolve matters before they escalate. In this event you can not serve as judge and jury or call the ADR meeting in an official capacity. There may be claims of preferential treatment, yada, yada, yada.... Question, are the rules these families are violating in the governing docs or well published and lawfully ratified? You see where I am going with this. They could claim ignorance. So in your mailing to all owners, publishing the R&R's and sending the mailing certified may prove to be a wise expense for future enforcement. GeraldT1
MarieG
(Florida)

Posts:11


06/22/2006 5:50 AM  
I personally would be concerned for my safety. This person might just have "a screw loose" and could be a danger to you and your family. I would place a call to the police department and at least make a report. This way you would be on record if in the future you need to escalate the complaint. Good luck to you. Being on a committee and a board is usually a thankless job. Been there, done that!
LisaS
(Illinois)

Posts:341


06/22/2006 8:19 PM  
On our Board, I am the only woman. So most members of the association who get mad email me, or try to bully me at a public meeting. Afterall, a man might get even later, but a woman is 'defenseless', right?

I have had to stand up for myself a number of times, once under the threat of having a gentleman 'kick my behind' (I'm paraphrasing...) My advice is take it the threat seriously. You just never know whether something may actually come of the harassment. Someday he may just stop his car and come up to the door....If the children in this family are destructive and disrespectful, they got it from somewhere.

Call the police next time and report a 'suspicious vehicle'. Get the plate number. Get a picture. Put your concerns in writing. Your first concern should be for your safety.

Good luck,
Lisa
GlennM1
(Washington)

Posts:16


06/23/2006 1:12 AM  
Patty, call 911 and have the local law come out and make a report to them. Then, organize a Neighborhood Block Watch Program in your immediate neighborhood vicinity. Get permission from your HOA/BOD. Neighbors looking out for each other is a very strong message to thugs like this in any community. I would also suggest getting a security system installed in your home, if you do not already have one. And lastly, become a gun owner (if you are not) and get proper training and obtain a concealed carry permit. The point being, protect yourself, your family and your property.

Glenn Mounts
MercedesB
(Texas)

Posts:7


06/23/2006 11:59 AM  
I empathize with your situation. It is too bad that there is no outside entity or neutral party, such as a professional manager, to handle homeowner violations. Putting the burden on a volunteer homeowner or Board member is not a very effective enforcement procedure, in my opinion, for the very reasons your case demonstrates.

If that is not possible, it might behoove your volunteers enforcement group to review your HOA's policies and procedures, with your association counsel, to see if there are ways to make the process friendly, fair and firm.

For instance, in my HOA, the first step is to make a friendly call to the homeowner in question before sending the dreaded letter of violation notice. We are fortunate to have a paid staffer whose sole job is to handle enforcements. (Our association has 5,000 homes, with 2500 more planned.) Part of her job is to personally drive by homes and note violations or to follow up on a neighbor's complaint. Not all complaints justify a call. The homeowner who files the complaint remains anonymous.

A letter of violation follows the phone call if the homeowner does not take appropriate action to correct the problem. After that, there is a series of escalating actions that can lead to mediation or fines. It is rare that the situation gets out of hand, perhaps because we have a very deliberate and clear set of procedures.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


06/23/2006 1:10 PM  
Mercedes, I think your statement is so profound it bears repeating.

"It is rare that the situation gets out of hand, perhaps because we have a very deliberate and clear set of procedures."

A DELIBERATE AND CLEAR SET OF PROCEDURES IS KEY IMHO.
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


06/26/2006 8:48 AM  
All: ALWAYS report such incidences to the police or sheriff's department, even if you THINK common sense will prevail. I tried to brush off the assaults and attacks by thinking we could all be reasonable and get along. In the end, it was used against me that I did not make reports to the police authorities. The man who assaulted me started stalking my child to get at me (he was also stalking me). My child knew that he was trying to get at me and I did report it to the police, but the police said "you can't do anything about where someone's eyes look", and they did nothing. However, in the end, at least it was reported and recorded. It has come in very handy. I didn't even want to report the assault because I knew how emotional people become over inspections, but a person who abuses you that way is just the tip of an iceberg--believe me! In fact, I have had wireless surveillance cameras installed so that when my yard is vandalized, my election signs are stollen, etc., I have evidence of who it is. I turn it over to the police. I don't have to "figure" anymore who it was. The problems have ceased. If I were not retiring and moving in three years and could afford to move twice, I'd be long gone by now, but I've got a moral victory in that I've held out for justice. The man who assaulted me admitted in deposition that he didn't know what the word "disparagement" meant, after signing a settlement agreement not to disparage again. So, so much for trying to work with someone who has a loose screw. ALWAYS report these things to the police, no matter how minial they seem to you, and KEEP RECORDS of it all yourself also.
EdR
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


06/26/2006 8:52 AM  
PS: There is no excuse for violence. Separate the two--the homeowners issues v. personal. The assailant in my case claims he did it because I was on the board--that's no excuse! He personally is responsible, no matter what his excuse. AND, do not expect the board to support you--this is why you MUST report it as a civil matter to the police.
EdR
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