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Subject: Residents bullying HOA Board Members
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Author Messages
CheriV
(Texas)

Posts:8


08/01/2006 6:41 AM  
I am curious how the experienced Board Members here have handled residents who use bullying type tactics with the Board instead of going through proper procedures. We have a resident who is parking a very large Recreational Vehicle on his property which clearly violates the covenants and he is refusing to pay his assessment bill. He never told me he had a problem with a neighbor's pet "doing damage to his yard". He never filled out a Report, knocked on my door, or sent me an e-mail The only reason I know about it is because he has been going around saying he put his it there until the other neighbor does something about their pet.

I have no proof it's the neighbor's pet at all, there are no photos and his house is right next to mine it is the first thing I see if I look out a window, or walk out my door.

The thing that makes me so angry is that he is setting me up and being a bully. If he just would have gone through the proper procedures, I would be more than happy to help him figure out what's going on with his property and work toward getting the matter resolved. I have gone and talked to the neighbor swears it's not their pet cat (who is neutered, vaccinated and I have never seen leave their porch area) and that he is getting the blame for feral cats in the neighborhood. Mind you this this individual has twice had the police get involved in this cat matter. Once, received an arrest warning for animal cruelty to a feral cat and once getting caught sending his dog into the neighbor's yard to chase their cat, yelling "sic" sic" and the dog instead cornered their son against the car growling.

Since his initial bullying tactics got him in trouble with the police, he has just changed his tactics. Freakin' narcisist. (Sorry about that, but it makes me so angry) Because there have been two police instances related to this matter, the police have told me that he complain about cats to me, I am not to discuss it with him, because this is now a police matter. However, if truely a neighbor's cat is doing damage to his yard, it is breaking a covenant.

Sorry this got so long. I am just wondering how some of you deal with residents who use coercive tactics to get you to do their bidding.

Thanks so much for your time, you already spent a long time just reading it :-)

Cheri
WilliamT
(Arizona)

Posts:489


08/01/2006 6:52 AM  
Send him the violation letters for the RV. Follow up as per your Bylaws and Rules with the fines.

Send him late notices and late charges as per your Bylaws and Rules. Follow your docs to the letter, and place a lien on his property at the proper time.

Do not discuss the cat issue with him. If he sents a formal complaint regarding the cat, then turn that letter over to the Police and see what they have to say.

You may wish to respond to his letter stating that this is a police matter now and you have been advised by the police to not discuss it with him. However, you may need to get that in writing from the police.

In addition, regarding the cat issue, you may wish to have the Board consult a HOA attorney for advice.

As for him having his dog chase a cat, that is a police matter for the cat owner to address. That is not a Board issue. However, an attorney may advise you that if the Police issue him a citation for his dog being agressive, then with a copy of that citation in hand, you may be able to issue him a "nuisance" violation.

Be aggressive with the bully and he will change his ways.

That is my opinion. Others will offer some additional advice.

Bill
GeraldT1


Posts:0


08/01/2006 7:39 AM  
Cheri,

Comply with the police request to not speak with the owner regarding the cat issue. However, he is late in assessment bill, the process of dunning should not be delayed.

A reminder mailing to all owners with the rules and regs. and methods for documenting/filing complaints would be a good method to difuse all bullies. Notification of pet rules and the need for owner compliance would also be a benefit.

Best of luck!!
GeraldT1
NNJ
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


08/01/2006 7:43 AM  
Cheri:
This is almost identical to the situation I had when I was on the board. The guy across the street and one house over started first with parking his vehicles (all of them) on the street all the time. The problem was that it was a bus stop for the children and he had chemicals in the back of one of his vehicles for exterminating (all the time). Then, when the president asked him not to park there, he wouldn't stop; then the school bus stop was changed to the next house (duh, why have a stop where you can't stand--and get this--his wife was a school vice principal). Well, this got her angry and she started putting all of their garbage on the curb for four days when the rules stated the night before garbage pick-up, plus the vehicles were still there---these all looked so attractive to them, I guess.

Do you really want to know what happened next? As a director, I asked the president to ask them to keep the vehicles in their driveway and not put their trash out on Sundays, and in conjunction, the management company had asked written them also. The guy got mad and verbally assaulted me in the street. Then when an attorney asked him to cease and desist, he got madder and started to defame me---see the other thread about what to do about slander (accusing me of having an affair with the patrolling officer). And there is much more and much worse.

In the end, because there was a member of the board who saw this as her opportunity to take over the association for a special interest group (the swim team) and have the total say over the swimming pool for their sake, they got the board to a lop sided 5 to 4 situation that marginalized four of us who were trying to be fair and enforce the deed restrictions as they were intended. In my opinion, this is why management companies are taking over the HOAs--homeowners don't want a neighbor/board member telling them what to do or COMPLAINING and if you do you are vulnerable, at the same time, they think they can ignore the MC and the board. Before I was on the board, I didn't believe in the saying (necessarily) that "one bad apple can spoil a whole bunch". But now I do. It took one guy, and a woman who was determined to take over the association (she became president) and ruled the MC and they ruled her because they both had a mission--the MC was desperate to keep the account.

About what to do, start with Bill's advice. Be careful. Let the rest of the board and MC do as much as is possible, but even then, I was blamed for every letter, everything, even letters dated for dates from before I ever lived here. Actually, even the current letters to them from the MC were about other clutter. The strength and direction of your board will determine the outcome. The woman who became pres. had no plans or desire to enforce our deed restrictions. Due to that, the value of our property has fallen 5% in just two years. She sold her house and got out as soon as her 3-year term was up (in fact, six months before) and remained president, so she knew what she was doing to our assn.

Unfortunately, this guy is doing this because you are bothered by the trailer, but it's still a violation. Four of my neighbors went out and got a second dog after the mail carrier asked (in our newsletter) to not walk them around where she had to stand to put the mail in the mailboxes. Now they have to deal with the confinement of their dogs, but I have to listen to the barking (I think that was the plan). There are people out there that I call obstructionists, and they say four out of one hundred is a sociopath.

I haven't offered much help here, except to let you know you aren't alone or crazy. Good luck with this one. Maybe you'll get luckier like I did---this guy finally got kicked out of his house by his wife and now they are divorced (a moral victory?)
EdR
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4896


08/01/2006 9:55 AM  
All of these problems by all parities should be handled by any good management company. If you don't have a good impartial management company consider getting one.
JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


08/01/2006 12:25 PM  
RogerB

I'm interested in your last reply. Our MC operates at the direction of the board. If the board isn't willing to direct the MC to handled situations such as this, the MC cannot do so on its own.

We have people in our community who like to complain about something, but when it comes time for them to take a stand so that the MC can pursue resolution, they back off. Then they blame the MC for not doing anything.

Are there situations where MC's handle complaints of this nature without direction from the board? I'm curious....is that a negotiable item?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4896


08/01/2006 12:49 PM  
Joyce, no the MC should not handle complaints without approval by the Board. We request the authorization for enforcement be in the management Agreement and the policies and procedures itemized in Rules and Regulations. If the Board choses not to enforce their Covenants and Rules, we chose not to work with them. Our integrity, personal responsibility to all homeowners in an HOA, and legal responsibilities take priority. Our reputation is more important than working with a Board which does not comply with the laws and rules.
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


08/01/2006 2:21 PM  
Roger: I appreciate what you are saying. Your company, having the integrity that you apparently have, would refuse to work with a board that didn't enforce CCRs, our MC does not. They are desperate for this and their few other accounts. When our board hired them, we thought since they had a few acounts, they would be more helpful and personable. Now I know why they have so few accounts. They are in cahoots with our board. It's (excuse my language) a circle jerk. No one does anything and no one is responsible for anything. Our reserves are spent to the point that the MC has provided a solely-ad-sponsored-newsletter---with nothing about our assn. except the MC's name and contact info. We've totally lost our assn. to them and our home values have decreased because no one can get anything done. It's pitiful. I have only three more years until I can move due to retirement and schooling for my children. It is a snowball affect as well, people are running amuck doing what they please, nothing is enforced, and then no one else can keep up with doing everything to have the place looking decent, so they give up too. If you call the MC with a serious problem or complaint, they tell you THEY will issue a cease and desist--although I'm not sure if they do or not, the situation doesn't change. The MC were not able, in the past, to issue a C&D without the board's approval--now apparently they do. But once they approach the board (if they do), they must not be supported by them. I don't know what to do or what will happen because of this. I've never seen anything quite like it.
EdR
JosephW
(Michigan)

Posts:882


08/01/2006 5:35 PM  
I came across a great article, just today, addresing this issue. I strongly recommend you read:

Cut That Out!
Home Owner Associations Must Define
Harassment and Find Ways to Prevent it


http://www.meeb.com/current_alert2.htm

Joe

Joseph West
Official HOATalk.com Sponsor
Community Associations Network, LLC
www.CommunityAssociations.net

*See legal notice below (end of page) or go to www.hoatalk.com/legal
MistiH
(Texas)

Posts:52


08/02/2006 7:43 AM  
Excellent article. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Loving Life in Texas!
Misti
CheriV
(Texas)

Posts:8


08/03/2006 1:58 PM  
Thanks everyone so much for their thoughts. Everyday I wish we had a MC but we don't, we are self managed. The article was great. We do in fact have a harrassment clause in our covenants though it isn'w well defined. I will put everyone's thoughts and ideas to good use.

Cheri
CarolynL
(California)

Posts:2


08/03/2006 4:19 PM  
Typically if the local police are called-out to a residence more than once, they will be your best ally. It may be best (if you can) to just keep the police coming out to handle the situation on your behalf. Ultimately the Police will grow weary of the matter and "shut the guy up" the legal way.
BeauJ
(Arizona)

Posts:12


08/06/2006 10:36 PM  
I suggest you turn this matter over to your Association Attorney..We had to do just that..having the Attorney attend a Board Meeting. as a couple of Homeowners were threatening to sue the Association,because they disagreed with Board Decisions. One sent me a certified letter, threatening to sue me personally...I handled that by telling him my Attorney's name,that I would also sue for defamation & ask for court cost. I also stated that Iwould not hold the Association responsible...that all cost would be bourne by me. Within days, he backed off..Incidentally he has asked me since, to consider running for the Board again. Needless to say the constant threats od lawsuits stopped, when the Attorney told them that if they wanted to sue..that they be prepared to win..cause otherwise it would cost them "big time"
EdR
(Texas)

Posts:170


08/07/2006 5:29 AM  
BeauJ:
That's interesting. The insurance companies pay for the board's defense and lawsuits against them. They usually have nothing to lose, by sitting back like a big punching bag and watching a homeowner fight for their rights with much less money than the board has behind them. I've been there. The insurance company provided the biggest, meanest foreclosure-specializing attorneys for the board, even though the case was not about foreclosures. As has been said by someone "it's not a matter of justice, or right from wrong, it's a matter of which attorney can outmanuever the other"! This is so true.
EdR
BeauJ
(Arizona)

Posts:12


08/07/2006 1:51 PM  
ER..There are a few Homeowners that threaten to sue, year after year, over any action that the Board takes that they just don't like...It is the Board's responsibility to act on behalf of ALL the Associations members. When I ran, I received 47% of the votes in a four man race for three seats.
Bullying does not set well with me..My fiduciary duty was to all residents..not to my "so called" friends...that is why those who did NOT vote for me, are now my biggest supporters..& are asking me to run again..(we have a two year clause)I agree with you, some Boards/Directors do not research a situation..just act on political/friendships/ emotions...A HOA ia a business..We have homes priced in the Millions & townhouses priced at much less, $200,000..but all owners deserve the same respect from the duly elected Board of Directors..To most people, their homes are their biggest "Single" asset..& my vote was always to protect that the lifesyle of all. I looked at my position as a Director/Vice President as a position to serve the neigborhood & Community I love...not as a "Power Player"..Been there..done that!
Thanks for your reply..gave me much to think about!!! Beaujo
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


08/07/2006 2:09 PM  
BeauJ,
That is an excellent response. I see you have a tremendous amount of pride in your community. I applaud you. It starts with an attitude like yours to make life the best it can be for you, your family and your community.

I would be honored to have someone like you occupying a seat on our BOD.


Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Residents bullying HOA Board Members



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