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Subject: Members threatening the board
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MichelleH15
(Oklahoma)

Posts:5


07/28/2021 10:40 AM  
I am new board member. Only been on board 3 weeks and we have members that are bullying, harassing and threatening the board. A few members want the board to sue another member over him possibly building a fence on HOA property. They are saying the road previously ran where he built his fence. The road has supposedly moved over 8 feet. He was given permission to build a fence on his own property but the few members are saying he has built it where our road use to be and the fence is on HOA property. The board is currently waiting on a survey and gathering more info before we decide to file suit to have the fence moved. However, the few members are not happy with this and they are messaging saying they will build a fence 8 feet into the road and want to know what we will do about it and they will build whatever they want to on other HOA owned properties since “he is being allowed to leave his fence on HOA property”. I explained to them that we are collecting documentation of proof to support a civil suit. I want to also point out that these members helped other members put “temporary fencing” on the back side of the fencing they want removed. They are trying to justify it by saying it is movable so it can be on the same HOA property. 🤦‍♀️ They also seem to think the issue is that he was told he couldn’t build the fence on HOA property and did it anyway so that is why the board should take action and sue him. I explained that they can sue him themselves according to our state law that allows members to enforce covenants against other members. I was threatened with the following “everyone is watching the board and if they allow this then the whole place will go to hell and the guidelines are set by the board so if you don’t follow them no one else will ever listen to you all again!” I explained there are a lot of things we have to look into before we file a suit and we are doing that now. I gave an example of waiting on the survey, and estimating the costs, making sure we don’t have other members who are unknowingly violating the same covenant or if any members have been given permission to build on HOA property in the past, and covering all our bases to make sure we can’t be accused of anything that might be brought up by the opposing attorney. I explained that we are looking at state laws as well and we found a law on adverse possession that we thought might effect us being able to file the suit because in Oklahoma it says it has to be 15 years before adverse possession can be used to claim it. I was trying to let them know there is a lot of prep work that goes into proving our case and we are working on it. The reply I got was “so you are saying that (member) who has the HOA property around our pavilion mowed because it adjoins his property can claim it after 15 years? I’m going to start claiming property that I use in 15 years”. I want to do the right thing as a board member and I am trying. In the 3 weeks I have been on the board I’ve spent several hours studying state laws on HOA and researching everything to do with HOAs. I’ve looked at court cases regarding HOAs and have gone to the Assessors office and personally paid for documents pertaining to our HOA. And I’ve been harassed and asked to do things paid for documents pertaining to our HOA. I’m really tired of being threatened for three weeks over the board not doing what we are supposed to be doing. It was recently discovered that a member is renting on ABNB and I got a message saying they are going to start renting all 6 of their lots out because that is good income since other people are doing it and being allowed to by the board. 🤦‍♀️ I explained that we just found out a week ago and are already looking into what we can and can’t do about it. The reply I got was “well if it’s going to be allowed we might as well capitalize on it as well. Just like building fences on HOA property being allowed and my plans to build a fence in the middle of our road.” Please help me. I feel like they are just taking advantage of the boards duties to serve the HOA members and using it to satisfy their need to cause drama and pick fights when they feel the need to argue. They believe the board is the sole power to enforce covenants to the point where they are threatening us if we don’t enforce the things they want enforced. What can I do to stop the harassment and threats? I’ve tried educating them on their rights as HOA members but they go right back to demanding the board do this or that. How can I have open communication and share info with these members and stop the threats and harassment? Any ideas or suggestions or sources for me?
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:794


07/28/2021 10:58 AM  
Now that's a paragraph!
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:783


07/28/2021 11:38 AM  
Michelle

Short paragraphs are your friend. Could you edit your post using the 'Joe Friday' concept (Just the fact's mam) and post it again. It is too hard to read the way it is.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/28/2021 11:50 AM  
Posted By MichelleH15 on 07/28/2021 10:40 AM
I feel like they are just taking advantage of the boards duties to serve the HOA members and using it to satisfy their need to cause drama and pick fights when they feel the need to argue. They believe the board is the sole power to enforce covenants to the point where they are threatening us if we don’t enforce the things they want enforced. What can I do to stop the harassment and threats? I’ve tried educating them on their rights as HOA members but they go right back to demanding the board do this or that. How can I have open communication and share info with these members and stop the threats and harassment? Any ideas or suggestions or sources for me?
MichelleH15, nationwide, if a HOA owner is violating the covenants, the courts tend to rule that the HOA has an obligation to enforce the covenants. If the HOA Board fails to take action, then those owners who want the covenant enforced may successfully sue both the owner who is violating the covenant and the board/HOA for failing to enforce the covenant.

If you are physically threatened you should immediately make a police report.

If the harassment is severe, then you should ask the HOA board to authorize the HOA attorney to pursue a restraining order against the offending parties.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


07/28/2021 11:50 AM  
I entirely agree with JohnT & Bill. Many of us are really busy board directors and honestly don't have the time or patience to wade though long stories.

Please stick to the facts and use paragraphs!
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


07/28/2021 11:52 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/28/2021 11:50 AM
Posted By MichelleH15 on 07/28/2021 10:40 AM
I feel like they are just taking advantage of the boards duties to serve the HOA members and using it to satisfy their need to cause drama and pick fights when they feel the need to argue. They believe the board is the sole power to enforce covenants to the point where they are threatening us if we don’t enforce the things they want enforced. What can I do to stop the harassment and threats? I’ve tried educating them on their rights as HOA members but they go right back to demanding the board do this or that. How can I have open communication and share info with these members and stop the threats and harassment? Any ideas or suggestions or sources for me?
MichelleH15, nationwide, if a HOA owner is violating the covenants, the courts tend to rule that the HOA has an obligation to enforce the covenants. If the HOA Board fails to take action, then those owners who want the covenant enforced may successfully sue both the owner who is violating the covenant and the board/HOA for failing to enforce the covenant.

If you are physically threatened you should immediately make a police report.

If the harassment is severe, then you should ask the HOA board to authorize the HOA attorney to pursue a restraining order against the offending parties.



Here we go again, courts and lawyers.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:300


07/28/2021 4:34 PM  
My eyes crossed over reading the dissertation. Topic good info way too much.
SheilaJ1


Posts:0


07/28/2021 4:48 PM  
So are you the neighbor that wants to sue? Or you got in the board so you can use the HOA to sue? Or both.

Seems like you do have a case regardless of the fence was approved since it was probably only approved to be within the property lines.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


07/28/2021 4:58 PM  
And what is your wise & seasoned advice, Max?

With Augustin and not having read it thoroughly: if actually threatened, call the police.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


07/28/2021 7:13 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/28/2021 4:58 PM
And what is your wise & seasoned advice, Max?

With Augustin and not having read it thoroughly: if actually threatened, call the police.



Is always agreeing with Augie, YOUR wise and seasoned advice?
MichelleH15
(Oklahoma)

Posts:5


07/29/2021 3:08 AM  
Sorry for long post. New board member (16 days in) got appointed.

Few members demand the board sue owner over a fence they assume is on HOA property because the road ran over that spot long ago. . Board told them we are waiting on a survey and looking for other documents that the fence is on HOA property These members sarcastically submitted a request to build a fence in the middle of the road . They ask me “what will the board do when we build fences in the middle of the road ? Because that’s what we all will do if the board doesn’t remove his fence!” I was told “everyone is watching you to see what you will do to remove that fence and if you don’t they will never listen to you again and they will never do anything the board tells them to do again and then all hell will break loose in our community!” I’m afraid at this point they think the board and use force to make members follow CCRs. And then this, member goes to owners house and tells the fence builders to stop working. Owner comes out and tells them to continue and when they do the member grabs the tools from them. He tells them they can’t build the fence because owner was not given permission to do it. Later The fence owner asks why another member was approved to put a gate onto the perimeter fence which is HOA property? Somehow those special few members heard about this and told me the board gave that member permission because “it is not really HOA property since the County has an easement off their road onto it.” They said the board told the owner to ask the County for permission. My concern is the plat map says it is HOA property and we can’t assume the County has an easement there.


Now it is not just the fence issue. They found out that someone is renting which is a violation of CCRs. The same members told the board they are going to start renting since the board is “allowing people to do it”. We just found out about it 4 days ago and immediately started looking into what we can do about it. They are already accusing us of “allowing it” because we “haven’t made her stop!”


We seem to have a lot of members in violation of a CCR in some way but have been overlooked before. These few members demand the board enforce CCRs on some but seem to have an excuse for others. How do we fairly enforce CCRs? And how do I deal with this constant childish behavior?
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:295


07/29/2021 4:20 AM  
All members concerns should be received by the Board/MC in writing. Do not engage in any verbal conversations outside the Board on the issues. Ignore the demands and threats. Don't give them any updates.

HOA boards always run at a snails pace. It's just set up that way. Research and investigation takes times. Don't let them bully you.

In North Carolina all violation issues are covered under privacy laws. The only thing a member can do is report the violation. How it's handled and the outcome of any fines and hearings can not be shared outside of the Board or MC. It's possible that a violation is never corrected. (Owner just pays the fines and doesn't remove the violation)

Set your priorities. None of these items fall under an emergency situation.

It's hard being a new Board member. Being "tight lipped" may seem rude, but it's in the best interest of the HOA.


Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


07/29/2021 5:30 AM  
Mich

The answer to reports of violations: is we are aware of the allegation and we are collecting information, including legal advice before we proceed. The worst thing we could do is start action without all the information. To do so we could be inviting costly legal action against our association and nobody wants that. Please let us do our job.
MichelleH15
(Oklahoma)

Posts:5


07/29/2021 6:57 AM  
Thank you very much for the support and your advice. Oklahoma has very few laws on owners associations and they are somewhat general. I really didn’t know what I can and cant do. Thanks again.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


07/29/2021 7:34 AM  
Mich

Do not let people bully you.
Do not take things personal.
People like to threaten but rarely does anyone follow through. If threatened by legal action
your reply should be fine, bring it on.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1806


07/29/2021 7:35 AM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 07/29/2021 4:20 AM
All members concerns should be received by the Board/MC in writing. Do not engage in any verbal conversations outside the Board on the issues. Ignore the demands and threats. Don't give them any updates.

HOA boards always run at a snails pace. It's just set up that way. Research and investigation takes times. Don't let them bully you.

In North Carolina all violation issues are covered under privacy laws. The only thing a member can do is report the violation. How it's handled and the outcome of any fines and hearings can not be shared outside of the Board or MC. It's possible that a violation is never corrected. (Owner just pays the fines and doesn't remove the violation)

Set your priorities. None of these items fall under an emergency situation.

It's hard being a new Board member. Being "tight lipped" may seem rude, but it's in the best interest of the HOA.





This IS the advice to follow.

Ignore the complaining residents once their concerns are duly acknowledged. They need not receive any status updates. They would be owed a simple answer, in my opinion, of the findings (if any) and certainly a decision - though some would say that's being too transparent given their alleged bullying tactics.

There won't be a fence built in the middle of a street. No company would be idiotic enough to get in the middle of this spat once they understood what was going on.
MichelleH15
(Oklahoma)

Posts:5


07/29/2021 7:45 AM  
Thank you PatJ1 I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the advice. I wish Oklahoma had more specific laws on HOA like NC. We are constantly asked for updates on EVERYTHING. We had a 4 hour meeting because of 2 members. 1 just lost in court and I don’t know why he thought he could restate his case to us like he obviously thought we could change it after a judge ruled on it. I was totally dumbfounded and didn’t want to question our board President on why he was allowed to discuss this again. 🤦‍♀️🤪 The other member had given us 3 pages of questions he says we have to answer.
MichelleH15
(Oklahoma)

Posts:5


07/29/2021 8:00 AM  
You guys are amazing!! I can’t tell you how much this support and your educating me means right now. Thank you thank you thank you!! This has gone so far as they are demanding the board give them the last 8 years of financial reports. We told them the end of year expense reports are on our private group page. They don’t want those they want receipts and bank statements so they can match them up. And say we have to give them to them. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ I really can never thank you all enough for advice and just confirmation that we don’t have to be a slave to every redundant nonessential demand they make. I’m serious when I tell you THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


07/29/2021 9:01 AM  
Mich

All associations have a few CCO's. Chief Complaining Officers. You will soon learn who yours are and how to fend them off. Look up Benign Neglect and practice this on them.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:295


07/29/2021 9:17 AM  
Posted By MichelleH15 on 07/29/2021 8:00 AM
You guys are amazing!! I can’t tell you how much this support and your educating me means right now. Thank you thank you thank you!! This has gone so far as they are demanding the board give them the last 8 years of financial reports. We told them the end of year expense reports are on our private group page. They don’t want those they want receipts and bank statements so they can match them up. And say we have to give them to them. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ I really can never thank you all enough for advice and just confirmation that we don’t have to be a slave to every redundant nonessential demand they make. I’m serious when I tell you THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!





If they want financial detail ask them specify what they are asking for down to the month, and vendor for each request. They've had 8 years to ask questions. Members do have a legal right to ask for specific information. Asking for 8 years of detailed financial records without specifics is insane and I'm not sure if you have to fulfill their request in your state. Many Management Companies charge for the time necessary to retrieve and supply the information requested, which can be passed on to the requester.

I once submitted a records request while NOT on the Board. Asked to review financial detail. Was asked what account. I responded water bills didn't add up. Was presented with a several line item report showing what was paid for a few months.

Fast forward and ended up (again) on the Board. It discovered during that year's audit that I was correct in my questioning. A payment of over $4000.00 wasn't posted correctly to our account. Thankfully our utility went back and made the correction on a payment that was almost 2 years old and we were credited the +$4,000.00.

Current Boards can't always correct or hold prior board members accountable unless there is fraud involved. Sounds like they are grasping at straws and have a bone to pick with someone.

Have any of the people requesting the information ever been on the Board, attended Annual Meetings, or volunteered for anything or are they just bent on stirring up trouble?



Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


07/29/2021 9:30 AM  
In Ca, HOAs only need to provide the current year's financial + the previous 2 years. You need to find our what OK requires, Michelle.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:589


07/29/2021 10:01 AM  
My method of dealing with stuff like this is not to engage. Easier said than done, but to the best of your ability, calmly tell them "the answer we gave you last time is still the answer and screaming at us won't change it" or something to that effect, and hang up, close the door, don't answer the email, whatever it takes to end the communication. You are not required to allow homeowners to berate and harass you.

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