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Subject: Can a resident disceminate his own newsletter?
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Author Messages
FredW5
(Florida)

Posts:150


05/07/2021 7:49 AM  
One of our residents, who is very actively involved in the community and City ,State and County affairs, but not on our HOA Board, has been publishing a community newsletter four times a year. (Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall),containing pertinent news, such as the name of a new management company,, new street speed signage, new traffic lights ,Covid vaccine availability, and the wearing of masks etc, with the disclaimer "this newsletter is submitted by a resident, and for residents who may be interested in community and neighborhood news ,is not endorsed or affiliated with the HOA" It seems everyone appreciates it since the HOA or management have been lax in keeping everyone informed ,with the exception of their posting bulletins on annual meetings, mowing dates, and pest control dates.

Its been going on for years with no problems. A new board has been elected and want her to stop. Is this legal?
Thanks

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2569


05/07/2021 8:25 AM  
I think that as long as he makes it clear that his newsletter is unofficial and his personal opinion only, you probably can't do anything about it other than requiring the disclaimer on each issue. Social news is fine, and as long as he stays in his lane I'd let it go.

However, it's likely that this newsletter won't stick to social news, and that's where the board may have to step in. Problems can arise if he publishes incorrect or confusing information, or is one of the Chief Complaining Officers whose goal is to stir up trouble. Doesn't sound like it's the latter - but no homeowner knows everything that's going on in a community, not even if they attend every board meeting and THINK that they know everything.

If I were on your board, I try to have an official source of news: snappy, appealing website that's kept up to date, maybe a competing newsletter, maybe an online source of communications in the form of texts or emails. That latter can be effective - many businesses use this method to stay in touch with customers and encourage repeat business - and it won't be seen to compete with Mr. Homeowner's Newz. The "constant contact" type stuff can be overdone, though, so you need to be thoughtful in how you implement it.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11638


05/07/2021 10:22 AM  
Fred

The BOD can wish all they want but as long as it is clear that the newsletter is not a publication of the HOA, it is only one persons doing, and it contains only factual information, the BOD can pound sand.

JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:790


05/07/2021 11:14 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 05/07/2021 10:22 AM
Fred

The BOD can wish all they want but as long as it is clear that the newsletter is not a publication of the HOA, it is only one persons doing, and it contains only factual information, the BOD can pound sand.





Amen on this.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:783


05/07/2021 12:17 PM  
Since there was no indication the author of the newsletter is goring someone's ox or stirring up trouble, perhaps the Board should attempt to enlist her as the Editor of an 'official' association newsletter, over which they will then have editorial control although it does not sound like what is being published should be in any way objectionable.

Otherwise, I echo the comment that the Board can go pound sand.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11638


05/07/2021 1:22 PM  
Posted By BillH10 on 05/07/2021 12:17 PM
Since there was no indication the author of the newsletter is goring someone's ox or stirring up trouble, perhaps the Board should attempt to enlist her as the Editor of an 'official' association newsletter, over which they will then have editorial control although it does not sound like what is being published should be in any way objectionable.

Otherwise, I echo the comment that the Board can go pound sand.



Great suggestions.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4280


05/07/2021 1:28 PM  
The board seems to be petty - the newsletter says it's not endorsed or affiliated with the HOA, so what's the problem?

Actually, since he seems to be doing a far better job than your board in keeping people informed, I say they need to talk to him about him overseeing the publishing of the association's newsletter if it doesn't already have one. As long as the association pays the printing and postage costs, if appropriate, this is the type of homeowner boards keep begging to volunteer to help out with association activities or perhaps serve on the board itself. Why are people so bloody shortsighted?????
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11638


05/07/2021 1:51 PM  
I did not elaborate earlier. While my HOA was still under Declarant control (appointed BOD which I was on), we had a vocal CCO who egged a neighbor (call him the "writer") into writing a monthly newsletter that was anti-Declarant. Neither the Declarant nor any of us on the BOD appreciated it. I suggested to the Declarant that he invite the person writing the newsletter (Not the CCO) to be on the advisory BOD as we had just had a resignation. He invited the "writer" to be on the BOD to see how things were done and soon the newsletter became less and less negative. I know the CCO got on the writer's ass and they no longer speak. The writer tired of doing the newsletter after a few editions and it died.

I know the reason the CCO had an issue with the Declarant. The CCO did some sort of a Reverse Mortgage initial purchase of his home from the Declarant (new construction) and the CCO wanted the Declarant to play some "number" games for him on the purchase price and the Declarant refused. The Declarant told the CCO it was not how he did business.
FredW5
(Florida)

Posts:150


05/07/2021 2:36 PM  
Thanks for your input.
The resident's newsletter is appreciated by all the residents as it is informative. In fact they have provided their email addresses in order to receive the quarterly newsletter.T he HOA Board or management have no interest in joning in, or doing their own newsletter.

Be well, everyone.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8705


05/07/2021 2:56 PM  
Oh, maybe you can tell us why in the world the board does' want her to send it out any more? I assume she hasn't ini used he Board or the Pm, etc. Are you on the Board?
FredW5
(Florida)

Posts:150


05/07/2021 3:08 PM  
The board did not like the fact that the spring newsletter included the time,place and date of the forthcoming annual meeting, which has always been in the evenings (as per by-laws) and it was decided to have the meeting and any elections in the mornings.The majority of residents were not happy that they could not attend the important meeting because they work.

Yes. I am past HOA Board and have also served on 3 boards.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:297


05/07/2021 4:33 PM  
Our Association has a Communication committee that develops a monthly newsletter. It is sent to each owner electronically and if an Owner requests a paper copy one will be provided.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1687


05/07/2021 8:22 PM  
Posted By BillH10 on 05/07/2021 12:17 PM
Since there was no indication the author of the newsletter is goring someone's ox or stirring up trouble, perhaps the Board should attempt to enlist her as the Editor of an 'official' association newsletter, over which they will then have editorial control although it does not sound like what is being published should be in any way objectionable.

Otherwise, I echo the comment that the Board can go pound sand.



Agree 100%. I don't see how the board can stop a private person from creating any kind of publication they want and distributing it by any legal means.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2569


05/08/2021 5:40 AM  
Posted By FredW5 on 05/07/2021 3:08 PM
The board did not like the fact that the spring newsletter included the time,place and date of the forthcoming annual meeting, which has always been in the evenings (as per by-laws) and it was decided to have the meeting and any elections in the mornings.The majority of residents were not happy that they could not attend the important meeting because they work.
...



Yeah, that's one of the risks I mentioned when a homeowner puts out a newsletter: they don't know as much as they think they know, and will put out bad information on occasion. On the other hand, if homeowners choose to get their information from an unofficial source, this is what can happen.

On the the third hand, this newsletter is filling a need and the board doesn't appear willing to do the work themselves. They shouldn't be surprised that someone steps in, qualified or not.

To be blunt, I think you folks are making your own problems. (And why would the board choose to hold an annual meeting/election in the morning? I can't think of any community where that is done, except maybe ones in which the entire membership is retired. If the only reason is because they think the newsletter writer stole their thunder by announcing the meeting time, shame on them.)




FredW5
(Florida)

Posts:150


05/08/2021 9:22 AM  
Thanks for the comment and input.Let me add that the gal, who creates the newsletter has done so for many years, has lived in our community for over 20 years, has been a board member several times,and besides the newsletter , managed the Community website with previous board approval before new management decided to do away with it, tells me she insures that before posting meeting dates and the like, she calls her contact at the management company who supplies her with pertinent information.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8705


05/08/2021 11:45 AM  
Since the newsletter writer seems to be of sterling character and provides timely and important info, kudos to her. Newsletter are really important for helping give residents a sense of community and binding them together. The informational also helps them in their daily lives and helps them availed mistakes.

IMO, a board that does want to have such an amenity and, moreover, wants to squash the editor's vice, is too interested in emanating vs wrong with its community. For shame!
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