Dealing with Harassment as a Member of the HOA Board
In a perfect world, an HOA would have regular meetings where members of the community would ask the board questions, raise concerns, and receive regular updates. It would be structured, straightforward, and civilized.
Unfortunately, that’s not how most meetings with the board go. Invariably, there will be a homeowner who thinks that their opinion is more important than anyone else’s, and that the best way to get that opinion heard is voice it at the loudest volume possible. Not only does this behavior bog meetings down, it serves no purpose other than to turn meetings into shouting matches.
But what happens when this behavior escalates? What if a homeowner is verbally abusive to a member of the board, or to the entire board itself? What if someone threatens violence against the board? These are unfortunate scenarios, but they do happen. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken.
HOA Board steps to prevent further harassment
If a homeowner is verbally abusive to a member of the board, the board can draw up a letter to that individual, informing them that that type of behavior won’t be tolerated, and suggesting alternate means of getting their point across, e.g., writing up their grievances and submitting them to the board for review. This is normally sufficient, as often the homeowner simply needs it pointed out that they’re not behaving appropriately.
If that doesn’t work, the board can take it to the next level and request a restraining order against the individual. This is a difficult situation to manage, as the homeowner still technically has the right to attend HOA meetings, but not if they’re going to do nothing but disrupt and abuse.
Should a homeowner threaten physical violence against any member of the HOA board, the police should be called immediately. Under no circumstances should a member of the board fear for their safety simply for doing their duty.
Harassment is unquestionably a challenge for HOA board members, but if handled properly, shouldn’t interfere with things getting done.
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