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Subject: What to make of it
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Author Messages
MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:34


11/21/2021 11:54 AM  
Has any homeowner experienced, not one time, but, ongoing harassments from the Condo Board to a point where majority of all owners turn against the harassed owner? Passive Aggressive behavior, publicly taunting, subtly instigating owners while people on board behaving as harassed victims in front of owners to gain their trust, etc? Besides moving out, is there a way to fight back successfully? Any legal remedy to stop such behaviors and to hold the Board accountable for such conducts and for them to own up to it? Can anyone share their own experience, how they fought back?
AugustinD


Posts:1901


11/21/2021 12:26 PM  
For the last nine years at least, this has been common practice at my former COA. The board uses its resources, including Minutes of meetings, newsletters, the HOA attorney and the manager, to put out lies about owners.

The COA happens to be on its fourth attorney in a five-year period. It is in the midst of HUD coming down on it for the second time since 2013, for violations of fair housing law. The most honest person on the board recently resigned. The director who was a key player in violating Fair Housing law in 2013 was appointed to replace the director who resigned. The legal costs to fight the Fair Housing complaint are mounting once again. Back in 2013, it cost the COA around $100,000.

Why does this happen? In large part because over half of owners are absentee landlords. They do not care about how the place is run as long as the rent gets paid by their tenants.

The best HOA/COA attorneys will tell you that the quickest path to change is to run a campaign to replace the board at the next election. But "quickest" is relative. It can take a few years to clean things up. Then there is no guarantee that the new directors will really be any better.

On the other hand, please keep in mind that, while directors may be uncivil and possibly not complying with the covenants, it's as common for owners to be uncivil and have no clue about their obligations under the covenants. If owners are complaining about things over which the Board has no control, and the Board is not good at communicating, feathers will be ruffled. A board that one thinks is terrible may in fact be fully complying with the covenants and state law.

When a board is truly incompetent and making one's life difficult, then fighting this legally is hard and quite expensive, with no guarantee of a good result. In my opinion, often the best option is to move.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/21/2021 12:49 PM  
Agree with Augustin's reply, especially:
"The best HOA/COA attorneys will tell you that the quickest path to change is to run a campaign to replace the board at the next election. But "quickest" is relative. It can take a few years to clean things up. Then there is no guarantee that the new directors will really be any better."

We've had to do this twice in my HOA. The 1st time, it took a year to fill the Board with decent owners. The 2nd time, change was immediate because 3 nasty incumbents were defeated and their crony resigned shortly thereafter (Board of 7). but if you have no allies among owners, this won't be possible.

Mia, with Augustine, any "legal" remedy would be paid for by you & would be very expensive. Also, I'm not so sure the board has broken any laws. You're, it seems to me, playing fast & loose with our language, for instance, what the heck does this mean? "...subtly instigating owners while people on board behaving as harassed victims in front of owners to gain their trust, etc."

How could disgusting behavior by board members toward one or more owners help the board gain the trust of other owners?? Please explain. I'm especially curious about the meaning of "subtly instigating." Please define

You also wrote, Mia, a majority of owners have turned against the "harassed owner" How do you know a "majority" turned against this owner? what does their behavior towards that own look like? Name calling? Snubbing the owners? what? Please explain. Does this owner happen to be you?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10584


11/21/2021 12:59 PM  
Described "harassment". I mean one person's "harassment" is another person trying to tell someone to pick up their trash in their yard.

We had a neighbor in my former neighborhood whom was a bit of a "hoarder". It was overflowing out of the house onto the front yard. It seemed like a non-stop yard sale. I believe she may have been a flea marketer selling her stuff somewhere. Not sure. Now we did not have a "HOA" in that neighborhood. However, every neighbor's comment if you talked to them was "That woman who has all that junk in her yard?". Would that be considered everyone "harassing and being against" that neighbor? Or would it be the honest TRUTH the woman had junk in her yard?

So before I advise have to know is this person causing their own situation or is the situation being caused onto them? One can only play heartstrings for so long before it just becomes can't you play this song on your own???

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/21/2021 1:24 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 11/21/2021 12:59 PM
Described "harassment". I mean one person's "harassment" is another person trying to tell someone to pick up their trash in their yard.

We had a neighbor in my former neighborhood whom was a bit of a "hoarder". It was overflowing out of the house onto the front yard. It seemed like a non-stop yard sale. I believe she may have been a flea marketer selling her stuff somewhere. Not sure. Now we did not have a "HOA" in that neighborhood. However, every neighbor's comment if you talked to them was "That woman who has all that junk in her yard?". Would that be considered everyone "harassing and being against" that neighbor? Or would it be the honest TRUTH the woman had junk in her yard?

So before I advise have to know is this person causing their own situation or is the situation being caused onto them? One can only play heartstrings for so long before it just becomes can't you play this song on your own???



I agree. We get a lot posters saying whoa is me. The BOD is picking on me.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


11/21/2021 1:37 PM  
Posted By MiaR1 on 11/21/2021 11:54 AM
Has any homeowner experienced, not one time, but, ongoing harassments from the Condo Board to a point where majority of all owners turn against the harassed owner? Passive Aggressive behavior, publicly taunting, subtly instigating owners while people on board behaving as harassed victims in front of owners to gain their trust, etc? Besides moving out, is there a way to fight back successfully? Any legal remedy to stop such behaviors and to hold the Board accountable for such conducts and for them to own up to it? Can anyone share their own experience, how they fought back?



Sorry, but based on the responses given, this wasn't the right venue for your questions.
MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:34


11/21/2021 6:16 PM  
Thank you AugustinD for your reply and for sharing your story. I needed that story today after having experienced as described, for over a year now
and just having experienced another rough situation by the Board. Always appreciate reading your to the point and direct advice!

MaxB4, thank you. You, AugustinD, CathyA3 are gems of Hoatalkforum for your valuable Advice without prejudice!

I do want to say that default perception by most, in just about every Association, is that Board can never be at fault, it must be the owner crying wolf, is disgruntled or exaggerating..Until advisers on this forum acknowledge that Board is consisting of humans too with personalities and some of those personalities are so toxic that with added Board power in hand, can playout as a devastating situation for outspoken owner(s).When the owner witnesses ongoing wrongdoing and speaks up about it, tries to gain support of owners, and try to show them the problems being caused by people on the Board, only to discover no owners support, instead, finds out that majority of those owners actually (1) easily get persuaded with everything five people on the Board say to them(2) Board decides to silence the outspoken owner so it spreads a wide net to owners turning them against the outspoken owner. These types of behaviors are very much unspoken part of practice in general in so many business, nonprofit settings, and COA, HOA are no exception. With each passing day, Association living is turning up as a problematic option for many people who buy into Assns thinking their cost cutting by downsizing, or buying their first home, or simply can only afford community living with comparatively low cost. I guess when one lives in COA, one should also give up on own financial security and never speak up about Board wrongdoings. One gives up more than one gains when living in COAs and HOAs because you lose all control over your own finances because of right or wrong decisions taken by people on the Board. Unless COAs and HOAs are regulated with proper laws holding these Assn accountable, there’s no hope. I am well aware that some states already have implemented some remedies for owners, but, Illinois is a joke.

I withdraw my inquiry. Thank you to all who responded.
AugustinD


Posts:1901


11/21/2021 6:30 PM  
Posted By MiaR1 on 11/21/2021 6:16 PM
[snippage] some of those personalities are so toxic that with added Board power in hand, can playout as a devastating situation for outspoken owner(s).When the owner witnesses ongoing wrongdoing and speaks up about it, tries to gain support of owners, and try to show them the problems being caused by people on the Board, only to discover no owners support, instead, finds out that majority of those owners actually (1) easily get persuaded with everything five people on the Board say to them(2) Board decides to silence the outspoken owner so it spreads a wide net to owners turning them against the outspoken owner. These types of behaviors are very much unspoken part of practice in general in so many business, nonprofit settings, and COA, HOA are no exception. With each passing day, Association living is turning up as a problematic option for many people who buy into Assns thinking their cost cutting by downsizing, or buying their first home, or simply can only afford community living with comparatively low cost. I guess when one lives in COA, one should also give up on own financial security and never speak up about Board wrongdoings. One gives up more than one gains when living in COAs and HOAs because you lose all control over your own finances because of right or wrong decisions taken by people on the Board. Unless COAs and HOAs are regulated with proper laws holding these Assn accountable, there’s no hope.
MiaR1, your post captures the emotion of being victimized by one of these COA herds so well.

I hope you keep reading here. Maybe it will help to be reminded of how common this revolting treatment is in these COAs.

Wishing you peace.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1104


11/22/2021 6:46 AM  
You are asking for advice without giving any details and using such broad terms that we have no idea what you are accusing people of. Harassing, taunting, and instigating are all subjective terms. What are they doing that you believe is wrong? It usually comes down to documents when it comes to HOAs. Are they accusing you of violating the rules?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2588


11/22/2021 6:55 AM  
In a recent thread, I'd commented that it's not productive to have an adversarial relationship with the board, no matter who's at fault. If you're the homeowner, there's a power differential that puts you at a disadvantage (and can stoke the rage and lead you to make decisions based on emotion rather than a hard-headed look at the facts).

I'm currently dealing with a board that apparently has decided that they can disregard the CC&Rs if they think they have a good-enough reason. While I'm annoyed by it, I'm also not doing anything for now other than getting them on record that this is a deliberate choice and not ignorance. Why? Because the board can make me more miserable than I can make them (by ignoring maintenance requests, for example). Because I may want to sell my place soon and active legal wrangling could impact that. Because money spent on legal help is money I can't spend on other things. Because being angry all the time is bad for my health.

Years ago, a friend of mine said that if you're in a situation and you're not sure how to proceed, choose the course of action that gives you the most options. For many people, that can mean walking away from something rather than spending money fighting it. I remember reading about someone who couldn't afford to retire because she'd spent most of her savings fighting her HOA. I'm sure she thought it was worth it at the time, but I wonder how she'll feel when she's 80 years old, in iffy health, and can't pay for medications or decent food. Future You will always pay the price for Current You's choices, so it's worth it to have a chat with Future You and get their take on things.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/22/2021 8:49 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 11/22/2021 6:55 AM
In a recent thread, I'd commented that it's not productive to have an adversarial relationship with the board, no matter who's at fault. If you're the homeowner, there's a power differential that puts you at a disadvantage (and can stoke the rage and lead you to make decisions based on emotion rather than a hard-headed look at the facts).

I'm currently dealing with a board that apparently has decided that they can disregard the CC&Rs if they think they have a good-enough reason. While I'm annoyed by it, I'm also not doing anything for now other than getting them on record that this is a deliberate choice and not ignorance. Why? Because the board can make me more miserable than I can make them (by ignoring maintenance requests, for example). Because I may want to sell my place soon and active legal wrangling could impact that. Because money spent on legal help is money I can't spend on other things. Because being angry all the time is bad for my health.

Years ago, a friend of mine said that if you're in a situation and you're not sure how to proceed, choose the course of action that gives you the most options. For many people, that can mean walking away from something rather than spending money fighting it. I remember reading about someone who couldn't afford to retire because she'd spent most of her savings fighting her HOA. I'm sure she thought it was worth it at the time, but I wonder how she'll feel when she's 80 years old, in iffy health, and can't pay for medications or decent food. Future You will always pay the price for Current You's choices, so it's worth it to have a chat with Future You and get their take on things.



Well said. Sound advice.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/22/2021 8:49 AM  
Mia

All you posted was accusations. No hard facts.
BillD16
(Texas)

Posts:73


11/23/2021 6:01 PM  
A couple of comments, if I may?

1. This forum seems to attract a lot of “Help! My HOA is being mean to me!” comments from passers-by.

2. It is extremely difficult to document and describe the kind of behavior that (I think) Mia is referring to, ie, slander, gossip, “mean girls” HS BS, character assassination, and so on and so forth.

Just sayin’.

Bill
BillD16
(Texas)

Posts:73


11/23/2021 6:01 PM  
A couple of comments, if I may?

1. This forum seems to attract a lot of “Help! My HOA is being mean to me!” comments from passers-by.

2. It is extremely difficult to document and describe the kind of behavior that (I think) Mia is referring to, ie, slander, gossip, “mean girls” HS BS, character assassination, and so on and so forth.

Just sayin’.

Bill
MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:34


12/02/2021 1:44 AM  
Thank you again to all who recently replied. In my post, I wasn’t asking for advice. I was requesting for posters to share their own experiences with harassments from the condo board. I continue to experience various forms of harassments from unit owners who are currently occupying the condo board.

From few replies, I got the understanding of a preconceived notion that a property owner is always in the wrong, and must be feeling harassed for the Board’s “rightful” actions and comes to this forum just to vent, while the HOA Board can never do any wrong. Respectfully, that’s where the problem with giving advice on this forum lies. Reading through various posts on this forum has helped me in so many ways, educating me, giving me the sense that I am not the only one, and at times, I have been able to relate to posters who posted about harassments from their HOAs, like the lady who had recently posted about her HOA Board President humiliating her in front of other owners. Or when in doubt, read SusanC20 posts. All Boards are occupied by people. Not all people are on the Board for the right reasons. But some advice givers tend to forget that and pound on the person posting. Please give the posters the benefit of the doubt that when they are on this forum seeking advice, or just seeking comfort(as I tried to do with my post), that the poster knows he/she has nothing to gain by posting a false narrative about its HOA Board. Such posters can vent and gain sympathy from their own inner circle. Furthermore, yes harassments, taunting, insults are subjective and that is why it’s highly prevalent in our society because such things are always dismissed as being subjective in nature. But in HOA setting, it’s usually clear cut to the owner when he/she is being treated differently, being singled out, not being afforded the same protocols that’s in place, when publicly shot down for voicing concern or asking a question, to name just a few things. That’s what makes things very clear to the owner about being harassed.

This forum is a blessing for all seeking help. Please just give the poster the benefit of the doubt and go with the assumption that posting is based on a genuine reason. If the poster doesn’t provide details, please let the poster open up, because, some comments, as I’ve received like “help, my HOA is being mean to me” might actually make posters shy away from opening up. Just give each other a respectful chance for exchange of thoughts, communications without the pressure of being judged.

CathyA3, very sound advice and comforting. Thank you as always!

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