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Subject: Who checks your cameras?
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Author Messages
VeronicaV
(Arizona)

Posts:24


11/10/2020 3:39 PM  
We have cameras at our pool, but the number of violations of the rules that occur is too low to justify hiring a company to monitor them 12 or 24 hours a day. We'd like to use the cameras just to "catch the bad guys" when something does happen (which is normally reported to the management company by other residents).

The management company won't look at the footage and determine who committed the violation. It requires some investigative work that they're not willing to do.

Maybe twice a week someone will complain that someone was smoking in the pool area, for instance. We just need someone to look at the cameras, figure out who it was (look back at when they entered the pool area with their electronic access) and then document all the footage so the management company can send a letter, per our policy.

Does anyone else do this or something similar? What kind of vendor should we be looking for?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/10/2020 5:18 PM  
I have heard of a smaller HOA where the board appointed a committee of 3 owners to check the monitors every so often. Don't know the details, but they rotated as I recall.
VeronicaV
(Arizona)

Posts:24


11/10/2020 5:49 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/10/2020 5:18 PM
I have heard of a smaller HOA where the board appointed a committee of 3 owners to check the monitors every so often. Don't know the details, but they rotated as I recall.




That's what our management company hinted at. Have a committee or something. It's not so much about monitoring the cameras though. It's about documenting violations that can result in fines. Isn't it awkward to have residents cause other residents to be fined? Imagine your neighbor being the one putting together the video footage that ends up costing you $150...
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3577


11/10/2020 6:22 PM  
Awkward? You have aboard of directors that makes decisions on behalf of the entire community and sometimes they do things like increase assessments. How awkward do you think that is when they run across a neighbor who's having a tough time financially and the increase won't help matters? Nonetheless, the increase is necessary to cover an increase in maintenance and things like...security cameras and monitoring services.

The footage should be time and date stamped and if it's gathered properly, it should speak for itself and it won't matter that Mary prepared the footage that showed Justin and his friends sneak into the pool after hours to skinny dip and smoke weed. If that's a violation, Justin and other residents who were there will be punished.

If you have a committee, it should be made up of people who can be fair - if you don't think you can drop the hammer on someone who deserves it, either decline to volunteer or recuse yourself if your friend is about to get busted (and no tipping him Or her off). Or present the information and let the board decide what happens next.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3411


11/10/2020 7:09 PM  
Many, many communities have Fines Committees ... the process works well.
VeronicaV
(Arizona)

Posts:24


11/11/2020 6:50 AM  
Thanks for the feedback. I feel a bit better. I've actually been doing all of this myself but was starting to think it should really be a third party that does this. If it's normal for a committee to do it, then that's great!

I just don't want to put people on the committee and then have them harassed by rule breakers (the few we have are very aggressive). Is it ok to keep the names of committee members confidential or does it have to be public?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3411


11/11/2020 8:27 AM  
Veronica,

I would always support openness.

As always the case with video many will complain about being under surveillance - so, it needs to be clear the video is used to support prosecution of those knowingly and repetitiously breaking rules.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10130


11/11/2020 8:30 AM  
Veronica

Our MC plays the heavy by sending out/signing violation notices at the request of the BOD.
VeronicaV
(Arizona)

Posts:24


11/11/2020 8:37 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 11/11/2020 8:27 AM
I would always support openness.




I'm all for openness, but my concern with that is I won't get any volunteers. We had a hard enough time finding Board members because they didn't want to deal with the drama, let alone the potential harassment. We've already had incidents of physical altercations in which police had to get involved. We have some crazies living here...

I guess my question is, in the event that I cannot get volunteers because they are concerned about harassment, is promising anonymity something I can do from a legal perspective?
VeronicaV
(Arizona)

Posts:24


11/11/2020 8:39 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 11/11/2020 8:30 AM
Veronica

Our MC plays the heavy by sending out/signing violation notices at the request of the BOD.




Ours does that as well. It's the gathering of evidence part that's left up to us.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/11/2020 8:55 AM  
Let's say you can put together a "committee." A member sees a violation and writes it up and saves the film as evidence. NOW, the PM takes over, views the footage, and sends a warning letter or hearing letter depending on what your documents allow.

Now it's the PM who's reporting the alleged violation, not the committee member. Their names doesn't need to be revealed to the alleged violator. The PM takes the heat. If the footage leads to a hearing, the Board views the footage, allows the owner to speak if they attend, and makes a decision.

I think Fining Committees that George notes are typical in FL, but not elsewhere.

VeronicaV
(Arizona)

Posts:24


11/11/2020 9:09 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/11/2020 8:55 AM
Now it's the PM who's reporting the alleged violation, not the committee member. Their names doesn't need to be revealed to the alleged violator.




I just came across this:

"Per Arizona law (A.R.S. 33- 1242 and A.R.S. 33- 1803) any complaint lodged with the Association will NOT remain anonymous. The person complaining of the alleged violation must state their first and last name and this information will be sent to the party who is accused of the violation."

Is the committee member complaining? What's the difference between me sending the PMC a video of dogs barking uncontrollably and a committee member submitting video footage of the violator? The first is definitely a complaint, according to the PMC. But what about the second? Just thinking out loud. I think I need to talk to our PMC about this...

Or maybe there's a distinction between complaining to the "Association" (i.e. the Board, right?) and the PMC?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1368


11/11/2020 10:14 AM  
I think the issue with anonymous complaints is that if push comes to shove - ie, the accused owner fights the fine all the way to court - the board has only hearsay if they didn't personally witness the infraction, and that's not evidence.

Some CC&Rs give owners the right to enforce the CC&Rs, but if your CC&Rs don't then it's the board's job to do so. In the latter case, I do have a problem with giving owners any authority to fine since they're not directors. Authority and accountability go together, and if the board will be held accountable for whatever, then they call the shots.
AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/11/2020 10:45 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 11/11/2020 10:14 AM
I think the issue with anonymous complaints is that if push comes to shove - ie, the accused owner fights the fine all the way to court - the board has only hearsay if they didn't personally witness the infraction, and that's not evidence.
I agree. I will throw in that a vindictive HOA member can fabricate claims of seeing xyz (in alleged violation of the covenants) to her or his heart's delight and potentially make a lot of trouble for her or his neighbor, wasting a lot of people's time and money.

I have seen an incompetent board accept an anonymous claim of black mold and force the Owner (who was despised by the Manager and Board) to have inspections to the tune of a few hundred dollars. No black mold was found.

I think a court would throw out a fine based on an anonymously submitted, shaky evidence.

If an Owner is not at least willing to put her or his name on a complaint, then I think she or he has no right to expect the Board to take any action.

Being able to face one's accused, via say the complainant signing the complaint, is a key principle of due process.

A number of appeals courts nationwide have spoken to the importance of HOAs/condos providing due process protections.
AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/11/2020 10:47 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/11/2020 10:45 AM
Being able to face one's accused, via say the complainant signing the complaint, is a key principle of due process.
Change "accused" to "accuser."
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1368


11/11/2020 11:40 AM  
Our attorneys recommended that the board have "reasonable evidence" before it even sending the first violation notice. This evidence could be:

* videos or photos (with date and time stamps)

OR

* a signed complaint from at least two different homeowners (to avoid getting caught in a personal vendetta).

Our complaint form asks if a homeowner is willing to testify in court about their complaint. This tends to weed out the less important things.


AugustinD


Posts:4421


11/11/2020 11:47 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 11/11/2020 11:40 AM
Our complaint form asks if a homeowner is willing to testify in court about their complaint. This tends to weed out the less important things.
I would worry a request like this, at such an early stage, would weed out the more important things.

It's rare for disputes to get to court. Court is a big, long, often torturous period of months to years, consuming people's emotions and lives.

If a dispute does get to court, there is always the additional power of affidavits and subpoenas.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/11/2020 2:27 PM  
Board shows not accept anonymous complaints. They should not from anyone including fellow board members.

There must be witnesses or dated/timed footage. Once the PM reviews this and thinks the alleged violation seems true, the PM on behalf of the Association takes over the "case." The PM writes the letter and is/on behalf of the HOA, the named complainer, not the committee member or homeowner. The committee member's name need not be anywhere.

Now even with footage or other recordings or evidence, the alleged violator is unhappy with the hearing results and decides to go to court, that very first witness might be called.

but, I must say after 14 years on our Board and several violations a year, no owners have ever rented the PM's evidence.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10130


11/11/2020 4:03 PM  
Our BOD will accept anonymous complaints in that a Member of the BOD will "investigate" and if factual, the BOD will notify the PM to send a violation. We do the same even when the complainer identifies themself. Thus the bottom line is violations originate from the BOD.

Granted, we have never been sued/challenged so we have never had to deal with what if.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7660


11/11/2020 6:45 PM  
My usual typos. We've never had an Owner who's been found guilty of a violation argue with anyone about it, let alone take it to court.
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