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4
Posted by1 month ago

How do you deal with abusive homeowners?

We have a couple homeowners in the neighborhood who are downright abusive to the board.

They don’t just complain constantly, they yell and scream, bully, come to board member’s homes and bang on the door expecting 24/7 attention, and of course they are completely unreasonable in their demands.

I’ve just stopped taking their calls (I’ve never opened the door to anyone who wasn’t invited) and they can email or talk to the HOA management company if they have a HOA question or issue.

Is there a better way forward?

12 comments
70% Upvoted
level 1

You are handing things perfectly. It will take a period of non feedback to fully quiet things. Do not engage in any conversation at all. Say Hi if spoken to. Keep moving. Send ALL correspondence through property managers

11
level 1

Have the management company representative inform them of the correct protocol to discuss concerns with the board (usually Open Forum at properly noticed meetings).

If it’s really bad, which it sounds like it is, have the management company notify the individual homeowners that their behavior is abusive and harassing and that the board members will take legal action if it continues.

If it doesn’t stop, call the police. Obviously, document every instance of inappropriate conduct.

6
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
💼 CAM

Honestly, if they are coming onto your property, give them a notice of trespass.

Pass rules regarding decorum in HOA meetings.

Do not communicate with homeowners directly. The proper response should always be "contact management."

If you don't have a management company you should set up one email address and if they don't use that email the response should be "use the Board email address. I will ignore anything not sent there.c

6
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

Resolution or harassment rules may be required, though your HOA may already have rules against harassment that you can invoke as an association member.

Not sure about your state, but our phone numbers are private and so we're able to keep the management company in the loop, and staff will never give our board contact information out other than the general feedback mechanism and schedule for meetings.

4
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

I’d consider an HOA injunction (you can google the details) if it’s particularly bad. At the very least, it could prohibit them from coming to your homes, which seems particularly egregious to me personally. You could also limit the hours they’re allowed to phone you if you wanted, but in that case I’d just either not answer or block their number. Depending on your CCR’s, you may also be able to back charge them for the associated legal costs, though I think you would want to warn them of the possibility first to give them a chance to alter their behavior.

3
level 1

My notion is you need a code of conduct that you can enforce outside of the meeting.

We’ve been talking about getting in a professional facilitator to run the meetings.

My original notion that “if you give everyone a voice and an opportunity to work on the projects they want, everyone will act civilly” was wrong. You can nudge an adult a few degrees towards better behavior. But the people who have acted like high school bullies their whole lives are not changing.

Frankly, the whole notions of “Karens” the past few years, of people who are super entitled and get their way not with better idea but with louder and angrier appeals, helped me understand that anger is the primary tool of some people.

3
level 2
Comment deleted by user · 1 mo. ago
level 1

Ouch! My PTSD is kicking in - haha

As a volunteer director of your association you should never have to deal with abusive behaviors from members.

A firm anti-social behavior policy will help set the 'tone' in your association, or at least provide the board with options to redress bad behaviors/bulling from members.

My association recently had to take action against an abusive owner ; harassing email / refusal to follow direction from the board / threatening legal action / bullying association vendors & management company etc.

My suggestion is to work closely with your association lawyer - you need to draw up and adopt a policy for your association and then enforce it through fines. (see below for example language)

It can be very difficult/challenging to see this through however it's important to establish a minimum code of conduct between association members and directors. At all times you need to act professionally and not return insult for insult.

It's sad that we have reached such a point in our society re: basic civility, however here we are.

EXAMPLE: ASSOCIATION ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR POLICY
Residents of the ---------------- (“ASSOCIATION”) are entitled to take full advantage of the quiet enjoyment of their dwelling unit without being harassed or otherwise interfered with by others. ASSOCIATION does not tolerate patterns of conduct, or behavior capable of causing nuisance, or harassment to Association members, tenants or guests.

Should members of ASSOCIATION encounter such behaviors they should immediately report incidents to the Property Management Company or other designee of the Board of Trustees (the “Board”). Any threat of physical violence or aggressive behaviors wherein the resident reasonably believes they are being threatened with physical harm should immediately be reported to appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Members of ASSOCIATION are prohibited from conduct that may cause harm to others including, but not limited to, the following:
• sexual assault, spousal or child abuse, elder abuse, or animal cruelty
• threats of physical violence, menacing, stalking or behaviors designed to “irritate” or “cause discomfort”
• antisocial behaviors, aggression, nuisance, or actions that cause or are likely to cause alarm, or distress
• written, verbal or physical intimidation, harassment, vitriol, or aggression directed towards other owners, guests, or tenants
• written, verbal or physical intimidation, harassment, vitriol, or aggression directed towards the Property Management Company, its agents, its employees, or vendors
• written, verbal or physical intimidation, harassment, vitriol, or aggression directed towards Board members or the officers of ASSOCIATION
• disruption of ASSOCIATION meetings, or refusal to comply with directives and rules while attending meetings
• refusal to comply with ASSOCIATION governing documents, including, but not limited to, any Declaration of Restrictions, Condominium Declaration and Bylaws, and Rules & Regulations as they relate to governance of ASSOCIATION or common areas of ASSOCIATION
Failure to comply with this Policy may result in fines, loss of voting rights, suspension from attending ASSOCIATION meetings and or loss of access to common areas.

3
level 1
· 1 mo. ago · edited 1 mo. ago

Cameras around my home made a huge difference. Displaying footage also made a huge difference, when aporopriate. In the worst of the attacks, I made an audio compilation of the nonsense rants from our neighborhood's worst bully and would play that on my vehicle stereo with the windows down each time I drove through the neighborhood. The guy was so in-your-face to everyone that it was instantly recognizable. Other homeowners sold to escape but I don't back down from a fight. That bully is still here but he mostly hides in his house and only comes out to throw giant tantrums a couple times a year now.

I am open with people about why we cant have certain good things. Last year, I was, on my own time, sitting at the pool on different occasions to distribute keys to homeowners at convenient times. I was with my young child and many neighbors came by. Bully came to get his key and was angry that I hadn't memorized his address to start. It went down from there. He was screaming, wildly waving his arms, frightening other neighbors, and made my child have nightmares that Bully was going to murder one of us. Now, no one can get a key without coming to an onsite meeting where several people will be present or the homeowner can drive to the prop mgr office. Bully has ruined lots of good things here.

Edited to add: The local.police have, on different occassions, told him to leave me alone and also that it's not against the law to be an ass. I had my lawyer send a cease-&-desist letter that helped, but didn't stop it. The guy has surgical scars down his chest and neighbors have discussed that it could be unethical to perform CPR on him when he needs it next since he's so hostile that he'd likely punish everyone for helping him. Maybe I'll see if someone he's friendly with can ask him....

2
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

When COVID hit we promptly moved to Zoom meetings. That immediately had the pleasant effect of letting our manager mute anyone who was hogging the mike.

I've never had anyone bang on my door but other board members occasionally have. The solution is to simply not answer the door. Abusive homeowners can be ignored outside formal meetings.

That won't stop them from trying to stir sh*t with other owners trying to get you voted out, of course. But being reasonable and legal at all times goes a long way.

2
level 2
Op · 1 mo. ago

We haven’t gone back from Zoom meetings either. Love it!

I NEVER answer the door. But it’s really stressful.

1
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

Drown them in red tape.

1