HOA Harassment: When Homeowners Behave Badly
Sometimes the HOA doesn’t come to a decision that pleases the homeowners in a community. Usually, the outcome is disappointing, yet civil; but there is always a slim chance that a homeowner can act out of hand.
If your association has made some decisions that turned some homeowners’ heads, here are some tips from an association management company that can help manage owners when they get out of hand.
Define What’s Deemed Unacceptable Behavior
Your association’s governing documents may identify what is unacceptable behavior from the board and the constituents it serves. Aside from having these definitions within the Association documents, take some time during a community meeting to verbally review what is and isn’t acceptable in homeowner and board member behavior.
Homeowners always have a right to complain about or disagree with the decisions a Board makes. However, there is a well-defined line for when behavior gets out of hand like:
- Threats of Violence
- Actual Violence
Write a Letter to the Offender
The first step to diffusing an uncomfortable situation is to have your association management write an HOA Violations Letter to the offending party. In the letter, hit these key points:
- The harassment has interfered with your ability to effectively serve on the Board
- The offender is violating specific governing documents
- The potential for disciplinary hearings, fees, and legal action if the behavior persists
- Alternative ways the community member can get their point across with civility
Get Legal if a Letter Doesn’t Work
Usually, a letter from the board or association gets an offender’s attention and the harassment stops. However, even if after fines have been enforced and the harassment continues, it’s time to turn to your community’s legal advisors for help.
In cases where letters simply make the situation worse, your legal options include:
- Involving the police
- Getting a civil restraining order in court
What if a Board Member Starts to Misbehave?
In the instance that a board member stoops down to the level of their own harassment, there are some steps the fellow board members should take.
- Remind them of your own association documents
- Schedule time to talk it out and help them cool down
- Discipline them with fines or potentially even a temporary suspension
- If these attempts fail, your Board may have to force the member to step down as a last resort.
Help Your Association Stay Civil with Chaparral Management
Your Board Members need to run the community effectively, and this just isn’t possible when harassment is in the picture. Let Chaparral Management help keep the drama outside of your community with our experience and connections to legal entities. Contact us today to find out more about our services throughout the Houston area.