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Subject: Questionable board member behavior
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AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/21/2021 12:36 AM  
I've served on various boards, but this is my first with a single-family planned community. I'm questioning some board members' behavior. A lot owner wrote a formal complaint about another lot owner harassing her and recording her and her entire backyard, deck, and entire back of her house and distributing said images, video & audio. The complaint was emailed to all 5 of us. No one responded to the email. The owner who filed the complaint installed a temporary obstruction to block the spying camera. When the camera owner realized that, she called one of our board members raising hell about not being able to see what was going on next door. I'm not sure how or why the camera owner had any board member's phone number as we publish email addresses only. The board member spoke with the camera owner at length and recommended other ways to view the other owner's backyard. The board member told the camera owner that the other owner complained about the camera. We tell owners that we don't discuss owners with other owners, yet he did. I've recently learned that the same night, another board member went into the complaint-filer's backyard. He cut through property on another street and went directly into the owner's backyard. She found him in her yard, drinking a an alcoholic beverage, and speaking disparagingly (f-bombs & all) about her to the owner who owns the camera. The board member refused to identify himself and stood by as the camera owner hurled insults at the owner who complained. Surprisingly, he didn't try to diffuse the situation or even to appear neutral. The woman whose yard he was in asked him multiple times to leave her yard, which he eventually did. Other than that, she didn't speak or reply to any of their insults.

I've served on various boards, and I haven't seen behavior this questionable. He even gave the camera owner tips to upset the other owner. I don't know what is going on here. I was happy about joining this board and making a contribution, but I think I might be in over my head. I'm also learning that one or more board members is telling certain owners when we'll do our drive bys and what we're targeting (mailbox painting, house painting, lawn height, shrub trimming, driveway cleaning, etc). I'm on the board, but I haven't been admitted as a member of their "club," if you catch my drift.

Liability is definitely an issue, but there is significantly more about this that bothers me.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


05/21/2021 2:41 AM  
This isn't an HOA issue. It is someone USING the HOA. This falls under LEGAL or Police jurisdiction. The owner being violated needs to either sue that neighbor or call the police to press charges. The HOA's role is NOT to address the issue just provide the rules or enforce them.

People often get confused or blur the lines of what an HOA is or does. It is NOT the police or enforcer of laws. If anything, the HOA has a case of enforcement against the one doing the recording. There should be rules on placement of camera's and the expectation of privacy. A camera in a back yard is a private area. We consider that if it is fenced. If a backyard is fenced it means PRIVACY.

Time for the HOA to put this out to the police or make rules of camera placement/use.

Former HOA President
AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/21/2021 2:53 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/21/2021 2:41 AM
This isn't an HOA issue. It is someone USING the HOA. This falls under LEGAL or Police jurisdiction. The owner being violated needs to either sue that neighbor or call the police to press charges. The HOA's role is NOT to address the issue just provide the rules or enforce them.

People often get confused or blur the lines of what an HOA is or does. It is NOT the police or enforcer of laws. If anything, the HOA has a case of enforcement against the one doing the recording. There should be rules on placement of camera's and the expectation of privacy. A camera in a back yard is a private area. We consider that if it is fenced. If a backyard is fenced it means PRIVACY.

Time for the HOA to put this out to the police or make rules of camera placement/use.




The post isn't about the camera. I'm asking about the various board member's behavior: insulting the spied on neighbor & refusing to identify himself, no one responding to or communicating to the spied upon neighbor, the board member being in the person's backyard (and he brought his own alcohol), board members giving certain people the heads up to remove signs from their yard & cover over violations for the sporadic inspection the next day, etc. Board members discussing owner matters with other owners, etc. Plus I'm new on the board, but I'm excluded from a lot. Its becoming clear that I'm not a member of the "good ole boys club." I feel set up to fail.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


05/21/2021 2:57 AM  
Illegal behavior is illegal behavior. Call the police if it's harassment or illegal type of behavior. Not the HOA's issue unless choose to make it so.

Former HOA President
AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/21/2021 3:01 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/21/2021 2:57 AM
Illegal behavior is illegal behavior. Call the police if it's harassment or illegal type of behavior. Not the HOA's issue unless choose to make it so.




I would think the board members' (at least two) behavior violates codes of conduct that maybe we don't even have. Board members shouldn't trespass in owners' backyards, share confidential information, condone and participate in harassment of an owner especially in concert with another owner, refuse to communicate with certain owners, but share privileged information with others, etc.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


05/21/2021 4:58 AM  
Posted By AvaA on 05/21/2021 2:53 AM
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/21/2021 2:41 AM
This isn't an HOA issue. It is someone USING the HOA. This falls under LEGAL or Police jurisdiction. The owner being violated needs to either sue that neighbor or call the police to press charges. The HOA's role is NOT to address the issue just provide the rules or enforce them.

People often get confused or blur the lines of what an HOA is or does. It is NOT the police or enforcer of laws. If anything, the HOA has a case of enforcement against the one doing the recording. There should be rules on placement of camera's and the expectation of privacy. A camera in a back yard is a private area. We consider that if it is fenced. If a backyard is fenced it means PRIVACY.

Time for the HOA to put this out to the police or make rules of camera placement/use.




The post isn't about the camera. I'm asking about the various board member's behavior: insulting the spied on neighbor & refusing to identify himself, no one responding to or communicating to the spied upon neighbor, the board member being in the person's backyard (and he brought his own alcohol), board members giving certain people the heads up to remove signs from their yard & cover over violations for the sporadic inspection the next day, etc. Board members discussing owner matters with other owners, etc. Plus I'm new on the board, but I'm excluded from a lot. Its becoming clear that I'm not a member of the "good ole boys club." I feel set up to fail.



It doesn't really matter what the issues are: if you are the odd man out on the board, it's unlikely you'll be an effective board member unless you're skilled at politicking and can turn things around. In addition, if the board gets themselves sued because of the bad behavior of certain members, you're probably getting sued along with them. You wouldn't be the first person to walk away from such a situation.
AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/22/2021 9:36 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 05/21/2021 4:58 AM




It doesn't really matter what the issues are: if you are the odd man out on the board, it's unlikely you'll be an effective board member unless you're skilled at politicking and can turn things around. In addition, if the board gets themselves sued because of the bad behavior of certain members, you're probably getting sued along with them. You wouldn't be the first person to walk away from such a situation.




Good point. The other board members are pretty tight personally. The live in a row of consecutive homes and are often together. I know that they discuss issues amongst themselves without a quorum and come to meetings with their minds made up. It's apparent.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


05/22/2021 11:24 AM  
I think Cathy's right, Ava. You won't be effective in this situation. This is a tough spot for any directors to be. If there are some goals that you think are reachable in the context of this board, you might stick around and try to accomplish them.

If you can, at least go on record as opposed to the rogue director's behavior. The other directors, even tho' his buddy ,might need to be made aware that they could be liable for the jerk-director's disgusting behavior.

Meanwhile the spied-upon neighbor could ask the Board in writing to discipline the director for trespassing on her property. You can seek to place this on an agenda. that way at least you'll have evidence that your opposed this boorish that opposes the conduct a director of a corporation should embody.

The spyee also could have called the police when the director wouldn't leave her yard.

AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/22/2021 1:50 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 05/22/2021 11:24 AM
I think Cathy's right, Ava. You won't be effective in this situation. This is a tough spot for any directors to be. If there are some goals that you think are reachable in the context of this board, you might stick around and try to accomplish them.

If you can, at least go on record as opposed to the rogue director's behavior. The other directors, even tho' his buddy ,might need to be made aware that they could be liable for the jerk-director's disgusting behavior.

Meanwhile the spied-upon neighbor could ask the Board in writing to discipline the director for trespassing on her property. You can seek to place this on an agenda. that way at least you'll have evidence that your opposed this boorish that opposes the conduct a director of a corporation should embody.

The spyee also could have called the police when the director wouldn't leave her yard.




The spied-upon neighbor did write to all board members and the management company about the surveillance and asked that the neighbor be instructed to remove the camera. She also asked that her letter be considered a formal complaint. We have no documented complaint process. No one responded or otherwise acknowledged her email letter. However, a director did tell the spying neighbor about the complaint, but didn't tell her to remove the camera.

The other directors know they are in a powerful position. I'm confident that they are aware of their own violations. They've expressed that they don't care, and that the HOA attorney can make the spyee's life hell and bankrupt her through legal fees to enforce her rights. (YEP, I've heard that more than once.) I don't think there is anything I could accomplish that the board doesn't already want. I value professionalism and ethics. This is not a good fit for me, and I don't want to get sued. I've heard through the grapevine that the spied-upon neighbor's daughter recently died and that the woman has inflammatory breast cancer that might be terminal. She might be too overwhelmed to fight much to enforce her rights. This neighbor and HOA situation could happen to any one of us in my community. Disturbing. I know that legally people have to disclose bad neighbors when selling, but I hope there is no law to disclose a bad board & management company. I say that half-jokingly. The current board members have said they plan to remain on the board, but switch titles to maintain "reign of their domain."

AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/22/2021 2:01 PM  
I appreciate everyone's input. From your replies and time for everything to sink in, I do now see that the neighbor is using the HOA to harass another neighbor. (Thank you MelissaP1) I also see that our directors are condoning, encouraging, and participating in the behavior. A board member made disparaging remarks directly to the spied upon neighbor. The same board member made disparaging remarks about the spied up neighbor to the spying neighbor in front of the spied upon neighbor. I'm disappointed and shocked, but this is how they run "their domain" as they call it.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1108


05/22/2021 4:49 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/21/2021 2:41 AM
This isn't an HOA issue. It is someone USING the HOA. This falls under LEGAL or Police jurisdiction. The owner being violated needs to either sue that neighbor or call the police to press charges. The HOA's role is NOT to address the issue just provide the rules or enforce them.

People often get confused or blur the lines of what an HOA is or does. It is NOT the police or enforcer of laws. If anything, the HOA has a case of enforcement against the one doing the recording. There should be rules on placement of camera's and the expectation of privacy. A camera in a back yard is a private area. We consider that if it is fenced. If a backyard is fenced it means PRIVACY.

Time for the HOA to put this out to the police or make rules of camera placement/use.



Once the board members got involved they made it an HOA problem. You can't get involved and then suddenly say, "I shouldn't have been involved, therefore I can't be held liable." I agree this could potentially cause problems for the HOA

BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1108


05/22/2021 4:49 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/21/2021 2:41 AM
This isn't an HOA issue. It is someone USING the HOA. This falls under LEGAL or Police jurisdiction. The owner being violated needs to either sue that neighbor or call the police to press charges. The HOA's role is NOT to address the issue just provide the rules or enforce them.

People often get confused or blur the lines of what an HOA is or does. It is NOT the police or enforcer of laws. If anything, the HOA has a case of enforcement against the one doing the recording. There should be rules on placement of camera's and the expectation of privacy. A camera in a back yard is a private area. We consider that if it is fenced. If a backyard is fenced it means PRIVACY.

Time for the HOA to put this out to the police or make rules of camera placement/use.



Once the board members got involved they made it an HOA problem. You can't get involved and then suddenly say, "I shouldn't have been involved, therefore I can't be held liable." I agree this could potentially cause problems for the HOA

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


05/22/2021 5:34 PM  
Yep. It sounds like the HOA swallowed the pill and made it their issue. Hard to put the Genie back into the bottle once the board thinks it's their issue to resolve/or involve. It is going to be like herding cats to get the board back into their roles.

If it were me, I'd have the person report this to the police or contact a lawyer. Something OUTSIDE of the HOA directed straight to the neighbor. Keeping the HOA out of the response when they come running to "Momma". My reaction would be this is personal issue and does not involve the HOA. I recommend you resolve the issue yourself and stop coming to the board to resolve it.

Think if you change the mentality and thinking with this response it may sink in eventually that this is NOT an HOA issue amongst the board. Especially when it starts to costing them money...

Former HOA President
AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/23/2021 8:14 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/22/2021 5:34 PM
Yep. It sounds like the HOA swallowed the pill and made it their issue. Hard to put the Genie back into the bottle once the board thinks it's their issue to resolve/or involve. It is going to be like herding cats to get the board back into their roles.

If it were me, I'd have the person report this to the police or contact a lawyer. Something OUTSIDE of the HOA directed straight to the neighbor. Keeping the HOA out of the response when they come running to "Momma". My reaction would be this is personal issue and does not involve the HOA. I recommend you resolve the issue yourself and stop coming to the board to resolve it.

Think if you change the mentality and thinking with this response it may sink in eventually that this is NOT an HOA issue amongst the board. Especially when it starts to costing them money...



MelissaP1, I agree with everything you said. Your comments along with the comments from others have helped put this situation in perspective. Thank you!
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