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Subject: Attacking Board Members verbally, email etc.
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NicoleO5
(California)

Posts:34


12/28/2019 11:09 AM  

About a year ago there was a renter / tenant who was seen on our property for months with a large dog. The dog definitely was larger than our 35 pound weight limit. It was reported to the owner who indeed stated he had a no pets policy for his unit and dealt with it. that was it. A year ago....

Last week I was handling some insight work issues with a contractor. I was walking completely preoccupied with business. This woman who was obviously the renter mentioned was there in the elevator with another large dog. I wasn't paying attention until she verbally attacked me, called me several names and stated "don't worry the husky isn't staying here" She proceeded to use a few vulgar words that left me pretty shook up. i am 1 of 5 board members and because I am the president I am the evil one...

I know things like this happen all the time in the HOA world. I emailed the owner as I have his information. We spoke and he was not happy about the dog an of course the interaction. The tenant was being evicted for non payment of rent. I left a cease and dissist letter on this tenants door.

We have had a a huge increase of units, owners, renters do this as of late. Whether it's a personally attacking email to the board, our manager. Posting notices claiming we are doing things illegally. I was cornered a few weeks ago by an owner who went off on me for something that happened months ago.

Our management and our atty are clear with enforcing the CCRS which are clear about harassment. All th issue stem from people who can't follow the rules, don't go to meetings or engage enough be involved.

Does anyone have anything to deal with this in thier HOA? Cease and disest letters help, but at this point we are plastering the problem units with them. Please give me some betters ideas that how we ar dealing with this. Thank you
AugustinD


Posts:2411


12/28/2019 11:34 AM  
Posted By NicoleO5 on 12/28/2019 11:09 AM
We have had a a huge increase of units, owners, renters do this as of late. Whether it's a personally attacking email to the board, our manager. Posting notices claiming we are doing things illegally.


If these accusations are genuinely without foundation, and the author is known, the Board should have the HOA attorney send these individual the instruction to cease and desist.

If the accusations are made anonymously, then your HOA is out of luck.

Posted By NicoleO5 on 12/28/2019 11:09 AM
I was cornered a few weeks ago by an owner who went off on me for something that happened months ago.

Our management and our atty are clear with enforcing the CCRS which are clear about harassment. All th issue stem from people who can't follow the rules, don't go to meetings or engage enough be involved.

Does anyone have anything to deal with this in their HOA? Cease and desist letters help, but at this point we are plastering the problem units with them. Please give me some betters ideas that how we are dealing with this. Thank you


For individuals harassing you, you would have to seek a restraining order. I think sometimes the HOA should pay for this. They are not always easy to get.

Else this is pretty much the price of the board and individual directors being quasi-public figures. The public can get away with a lot of lies. So can their attorneys. So can the HOA's attorney.

I think trying to "control" people, like members of a HOA, is not time well spent. I think anyone without a thick skin should probably not be on a HOA board. It's sad but it's reality.


NicoleO5
(California)

Posts:34


12/28/2019 11:58 AM  
I understand. While there have been so many off target things happening this last few months. The hardest is the owner who has cornered me twice in the last few months while I am alone int he garage. I felt scared for my safety and while I carry s personal protection device I really don't want to threaten my neighbor with pepper spray. It stems all 100% from board items. well discussed and this person attends meetings. Doesn't say anything during them, but obviously has big been stewing for months on some fo the issues tossed at me. I have lived here for years, served more often than not and NEVER been approached like this. Its frightening being a woman. I don't like being approached when alone in the garage and cornered next to my car. It's not ok.

We did seek advice from our HOA atty as this is HOA related issues. A cease and desist was sent and what the HOA plans on doing if this person can not control himself.

I think that this is a good learning situation. The board, and our manager do not have to deal with harassing individuals and our CCR's support it. It has never had to be referenced before but it has been brought to their attention.. and with follow up legal support if needed.

T
AugustinD


Posts:2411


12/28/2019 12:08 PM  
Posted By NicoleO5 on 12/28/2019 11:58 AM
I have lived here for years, served more often than not and NEVER been approached like this. Its frightening being a woman. I don't like being approached when alone in the garage and cornered next to my car. It's not ok.

We did seek advice from our HOA atty as this is HOA related issues. A cease and desist was sent and what the HOA plans on doing if this person can not control himself.


-- I agree it is not okay.
-- You are helping others enormously by not putting up with this.
-- Since your HOA attorney has read him the riot act, the matter appears to be resolved for now.
-- I suggest having your phone with you all the time. The instant things seem to be out of hand, call the police. If anyone does not want to call the police in situations that get out of hand, god help them. Because I will not.

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:667


12/28/2019 12:40 PM  
I agree with Augustin's comments.

If there has been a sudden increase in these things as a result of increased enforcement, they will likely die down. I'd also suggest having an informational campaign before actually starting the enforcement actions. Most people will understand the value of enforcing the rules and will be on board with it. People who want to break the rules and who have gotten away with it can be expected to complain.

I second the comment about needing to have a thick skin. The folks who are hurling false or vile accusations will be the "vocational dissidents" (such accusations are one of the telltale identifiers for these folks). You should understand that they thrive on conflict and board members are favorite targets, and if they can get you to engage, you give them incentive to continue.

Here's how we deal with these folks in my community:

* We don't respond at all to uncivil or inappropriate comments. Note: this doesn't mean ignoring behavior that you think is worrisome. You should contact the police if you feel threatened, or send a cease and desist letter if you think further legal action may be needed. You want a paper trail.

* All communication about association business is in writing. No unscripted or one-on-one interactions (they quickly go off the rails, giving the person the emotional reaction they want).

* Association business is stated briefly and factually. You want this to be as dull and uninteresting as possible while still giving the person the information they are entitled to. No drama.

* The board also does not re-visit settled business unless there is a factual reason for doing so (ie. something about the situation has changed, or one of our assumptions turns out to be untrue). Otherwise you'll encourage the vocational dissident to not take no for an answer (and not taking no for an answer is also typical behavior).

* I actually went No Contact with one or two of our folks. No personal interactions at all beyond a wave and hello, wow is that the time. You want witnesses.

* You need rules of the road for board meetings if you're in an open meeting state. There should be appropriate published rules for proper conduct for all attendees, including board members. There are plenty of web sites that talk about the importance of keeping control of board meetings - I encourage reading these.

* The board should also use available resources (eg. newsletters, web site) to show the community the good things they're accomplishing. You want the complainers to discredit themselves, and this will help.

It took a year or so of behaving this way consistently before the vocational dissidents in my community settled down, but settle down they did. But don't assume that they have mended their ways. If future boards don't continue our deliberate no-drama behavior, then the problems will erupt again.


KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6817


12/28/2019 4:48 PM  
I'm very curious to know the wording in your CC&Rs, Nicole, about harassment that you've noted in both your posts. How many units are in your HOA? How many units have received the cease & desist letters?

Based on your other post, I have this feeling that the bad behavior is somehow linked with the interactive site.

We have a rule in our HOA, but to call an Owner to a hearing for harassment, intimidation, coarse language, etc., requires corroboration, i.., a witness. could be a photo though or footage from an elevator. Even if just video, hostile animated behavior would show up.

We've had two incidents over several years and both involved an Owner yelling crude harassing remarks at our then-asst. mgrs. Both were called to hearings; neither attended and each was fined $100.


KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6817


12/28/2019 4:48 PM  
I'm very curious to know the wording in your CC&Rs, Nicole, about harassment that you've noted in both your posts. How many units are in your HOA? How many units have received the cease & desist letters?

Based on your other post, I have this feeling that the bad behavior is somehow linked with the interactive site.

We have a rule in our HOA, but to call an Owner to a hearing for harassment, intimidation, coarse language, etc., requires corroboration, i.., a witness. could be a photo though or footage from an elevator. Even if just video, hostile animated behavior would show up.

We've had two incidents over several years and both involved an Owner yelling crude harassing remarks at our then-asst. mgrs. Both were called to hearings; neither attended and each was fined $100.


SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:150


12/29/2019 2:30 PM  
What Kerry stated, never seen documents that state anything about harassment. How does one get fined for stating their opinion, even if its a nasty opinion.

Nicole, please stop playing victim over a few run in's with neighbors.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1877


12/29/2019 2:46 PM  
Not sure I understand the issue.

There will always be - and it is an artifact of democracy - folks who are inappropriate, even aggressive, even dangerous wrt their opinions and beliefs.

Elected officials (Board members) must deal with it ...
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