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Subject: board president private facebook group for TH owner only
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BarbaraH13
(Illinois)

Posts:5


11/04/2021 8:32 AM  
Our board president created a facebook group for townhome owners only in a community which is about 50% single family and 50% townhome - created it to get elected and will not allow Single family home owners to join. Is this acceptable? legal? etc- cant say what is being discussed - no access but doesnt feel right.
AugustinD


Posts:1901


11/04/2021 8:36 AM  
Does the facebook site claim that the HOA is sponsoring it?

The site should make clear that an individual owner administers it; the site does not represent the views of the board; and that, while the administrator is an officer (and director?) on the board, the views he/she expresses on the site are his/hers alone, with his/her owner's hat on (and not his/her director/officer's hat on).
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/04/2021 8:55 AM  
There have been cases where the name of a site was so close to the business name, they were ordered to change the name of the site. Otherwise, is is simply a chat site for certain people.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


11/04/2021 9:59 AM  
It may depend on whether or not the TH section is a sub-association (with its own CC&Rs and a separate assessment that is paid only by TH owners). This set-up is pretty common.

In such a case, or if the community is governed by a single board of directors with the requirement that a certain number of board positions must be filled by TH owners, then it could make sense for the TH owners to have their own FB page and to limit membership to TH owners.

If the board as a whole is OK with this, then I don't see anything wrong with it.

In fact, it makes good sense. What I have seen happen in communities with a mixture of single family homes and townhomes is that the TH owners are treated as second class citizens, and decisions are made that serve the interests of the SF owners at the TH owners' expense. Not saying that this is happening here, but that it's a possibility.

It's very common for people who aren't allowed to participate in a group to assume that something nefarious is going on behind their backs. That doesn't make it true, and I wouldn't assume that the TH owners are up to no good until you see evidence that this is happening.
HenryS6
(Arizona)

Posts:111


11/04/2021 10:02 AM  
Anybody can create a social media group for any reason.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


11/04/2021 1:07 PM  
Posted By BarbaraH13 on 11/04/2021 8:32 AM
Our board president created a facebook group for townhome owners only in a community which is about 50% single family and 50% townhome - created it to get elected and will not allow Single family home owners to join. Is this acceptable? legal? etc- cant say what is being discussed - no access but doesnt feel right.





Lets rephrase this.


An individual, who lives in our town home development, created a private group and doesn't allow anyone who wants to join, join. This individual then used the website to promote and gather support for their election to our board. Is this acceptable?


Answer: Of course it is.

If desired, you could do the same thing.
BarbaraH13
(Illinois)

Posts:5


11/04/2021 2:00 PM  
No problem using it as an election tool but now she is separating our community communicating differently with townhome ( via facebook) vs single family in official meetings only. Her role as president is to represent the entire community and yes she posts information on it but says it is not relevant to single family owners and none of our business.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10584


11/04/2021 4:03 PM  
Okay townhomes don't have necessarily the same issues as individual homes have. So it would make sense to treat townhomes differently than individual homes. I mean even the tax system does. A Townhome files like a condo and a home as an individual home. Does that mean the tax system is unfair too?

Just seems you want to find something wrong here. I say don't like it, then do the same to make change. Otherwise, if you don't want to be involved in your HOA why care?

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


11/04/2021 4:20 PM  
As I'd said earlier, it will likely depend on legal structure of your community and whether or not the townhomes are a separate entity.

I've lived on a small street with four townhouse buildings, each of which was its own separate association. Not sure why the developer thought that was a good idea, and the board members of the four buildings tended to work together on things like snow removal - but owners did not know what was going on with the other three buildings.

Attached homes usually require more maintenance by the association: lawn care, snow removal, possibly replacement of roofs or other exterior structures, possibly separate amenities. These items typically are supported by the additional assessment paid by the owners of these homes, *not* by the assessments charged to single family owners - unless the community was set up differently for some reason. Much of what the board president will be posting to Facebook would be info specific to those homes. Do single family owners give a hoot when the lawn service shows up to mow at the townhomes? Probably not.

In addition, if the whole community is in fact one single association and the entire board (including directors from the TH area) meets as a single entity, anything of interest going on in the TH area will be discussed and decisions summarized in the board meeting minutes. If your state is an open meeting state, then all homeowners can attend and hear what's going on. They are also entitled to see the board meeting minutes. They're entitled to inspect the community's financials. If people don't know what's going on, it's because they're ignoring the usual avenues for learning this stuff - not because the TH homes have their own Facebook page.
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:73


11/04/2021 4:28 PM  
Posted By BarbaraH13 on 11/04/2021 2:00 PM
No problem using it as an election tool but now she is separating our community communicating differently with townhome ( via facebook) vs single family in official meetings only. Her role as president is to represent the entire community and yes she posts information on it but says it is not relevant to single family owners and none of our business.




Her role as president is set by the by-laws of your community. Likely, the bylaws don't say that she is supposed to represent the entire community. Likely, the bylaws says that she is to preside over the meetings of the members and board, and perhaps may also say she is the CEO of the corporation (the homeowners association).
BarbaraH13
(Illinois)

Posts:5


11/05/2021 2:37 AM  
I am finding that there are many kinds of associations and appreciate the insights. Our community maint fee cover landscape snow removal etc for all properties and common grounds so that seems different from your description. The additional fee per month for townhomes is to cover building maint so that is the only thing not shared expense and maint wise.

BTW I am involved on a commission, do research attend meetings and read minutes follow financials etc for all commissions and actually those meeting minutes are sparse.

Food for thought on actual role of president … I will check that. I have others both th and after residents concerned about what is proper and I am looking for unbiased opinions beyond our gates and I do so appreciate all of the insights.

I also appreciate those willing to step into the role of board member because IMO it is a thankless job. I could not handle being in the crosshairs day and night. OTOH former board members are questioning what is going on so I wanted outside perspectives not so emotionally charged and I thank all who have posted.


BarbaraH13
(Illinois)

Posts:5


11/05/2021 2:42 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/04/2021 8:36 AM
Does the facebook site claim that the HOA is sponsoring it?

The site should make clear that an individual owner administers it; the site does not represent the views of the board; and that, while the administrator is an officer (and director?) on the board, the views he/she expresses on the site are his/hers alone, with his/her owner's hat on (and not his/her director/officer's hat on).



This is a good point and it intimates by not saying anything that it is official. Description says it is specially for our community th owners only to address community issues but nothing indicating what is described above. This touches on my concern that residents assume it is official . Thanks for your insight on this.
AugustinD


Posts:1901


11/05/2021 6:46 AM  
Posted By BarbaraH13 on 11/05/2021 2:42 AM
Description says it is specially for our community th owners only to address community issues but nothing indicating what is described above. This touches on my concern that residents assume it is official . Thanks for your insight on this.
Yes, this is unacceptable. The guy/gal needs to put up a clear statement that he/she is not speaking for the HOA/corporation and the site is not supported by the HOA/corporation. Else the guy/gal is taking legal risks, and the HOA corporation could face liability as well. Consider whether the HOA attorney needs to be brought in for a come-to-jesus letter with the site administrator.
SheilaJ1


Posts:0


11/05/2021 8:39 AM  
Op is just looking for something wrong with the Facebook like Melissa said.

The op is a trouble maker.

The page is totally legal regardless of if the owner says it’s not official.

You can spend a thousands to get an attorney involved. I think you can get them to change some wordings but that’s it. Let it go.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


11/05/2021 8:52 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/05/2021 6:46 AM
Posted By BarbaraH13 on 11/05/2021 2:42 AM
Description says it is specially for our community th owners only to address community issues but nothing indicating what is described above. This touches on my concern that residents assume it is official . Thanks for your insight on this.
Yes, this is unacceptable. The guy/gal needs to put up a clear statement that . Else the guy/gal is taking legal risks, and the HOA corporation could face liability as well. Consider whether the HOA attorney needs to be brought in for a come-to-jesus letter with the site administrator.



Do we know this?

Is there proof that the Facebook page was never discussed and approved in a board meeting? In other words, is there nothing in the minutes - or someone who has attended all meetings for the past year or so and who states that this Facebook page was never discussed - or state law does not allow actions in writing so it couldn't have been approved via email - or the state does allow actions in writing but the other board members say that this was never discussed - etc... ?

We are making a lot of assumptions here based on almost no solid information.

I still don't have a handle on the legal description of this community, and the legal description makes a difference. Townhomes have different issues and different maintenance needs than detached homes do. If the association handles exterior maintenance and repair of the buildings, then the townhomes will have different reserve needs and different insurance requirements (the funding of which would be handled by those owners and not the community as a whole). The accounting for the TH dollars should be separated and clearly identified so that it's clear that TH assessments are going to TH expenses. It's entirely appropriate that those owners would have things to discuss which aren't the business of the detached home owners - for the same reason that it's not the business of a detached home owner what the neighbors are paying for homeowner insurance or how often they cut their grass. They're not state secrets - they're just nobody else's concern.

I can think of a few things that could be community-wide issues - for example if the TH section is located uphill from the rest of the community, making drainage patterns an issue. But we don't know that this is happening.

In the absence of hard facts, all I'm seeing is people who are determined to view this Facebook page as a cover for misbehavior. Give me the facts, and then I'll know whether this is true or not.


JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:792


11/05/2021 9:07 AM  
"We are making a lot of assumptions here based on almost no solid information."

Agree 100%. The original question is so vague that there isn't much to say at this point. What we know is the President started a private Facebook page. So what? If proof can be obtained that it is being passed off as an official HOA page then that's a different story. Until then, spend your energy on something that matters and that you can influence.
BarbaraH13
(Illinois)

Posts:5


11/05/2021 12:16 PM  
Perspectives are interesting and I have appreciated all of your different perspectives. Details of structure were explained but you may have missed them and I realize that there are many varied HOA structures. To clarify, I was not on a "witch hunt" but was looking for perspective. I appreciate those who shared their perspective and from that I will further research and draw my own conclusion as to what is significant to our community.Oddly enough, this morning the president is suddenly no long the administrator of her facebook group. To clarify, there is no official facebook group for our community, the HOA has no interest in Facebook presence. There is a group of residents who 12 years ago created a group open to all residents in the community and has been a significant link for our community over the years sharing ideas, vendors local info but is politically neutral. Thanks again.
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